If you looked at the life of Dan and I, you might not find it very grand. We are very busy, and our home is cozy, with decor that has been acquired through wedding showers and years of being the daughter of HGTV herself. We don’t spend exhorbitant amounts of money and our technology is relatively little compared to many other americans our age (one tv, one computer, one ipod, one stereo). Our closet is probably the most extravagant, and most difficult to maintain, but that too is many things from years past that have maintained their color and their shape enough to be re-accesserized (at least my part of the closet, that is) ;). And our food consumption/waste is definitely not well balanced, but is not to the gluttony stages that I consider unhealthy, but that one is all a matter of perspective.
But here’s the thing, this is a ridiculous amount of stuff compared to the rest of the world. Period. We live in privilege and we aren’t grateful. We aren’t grateful enough. I love our life and the coziness, the beauty of the new familiar, the peace that can be found in our home when it’s clean. But I started thinking a few months ago things like: Where does all of the money go (granted, much goes to debt, but still…)? Do we really eat all of the food in the refrigerator without it going to waste? What really is a healthy and moderate and reasonable portion size? What is the balance between loving fashion and knowing there are people without any clothes? How can we just keep living, talking about loving the unlovely, talking about decluttering and simple living, and at the same time maintain the status quo of our lifestyle choices, without giving them a second thought.
So a tangible thought came to me… What would we do if our food resources were limited? How much would we save if we ate, and planned to eat, only when we were hungry? If I were a better planner, would our food budget decrease simply by more conscientious choices?
And so I created a goal… Let’s try, for an entire month, to live on 30% of our typical food budget. This figure would end up being about $100. I knew I would have to get creative, and I knew that we would have to live with a lot of self control. sigh.
After that I started reading a book that is kind’ve wrecking my world about necessity and love and giving and discipline. It challenges our habits, our motivations, our true heart’s intent, to the point where I am now looking at my life and realizing that our heart for God’s people is not demonstrated wholeheartedly within our finances, even though we’ve tried to make wise and discerning financial decisions as we go along.
I began to pray that God would move our hearts to desire Him alone in this process. That instead of it just being a budget cutting tool, it would become a sort of fast, a way that leads us to His heart and aligns us more with His will. And that is what He is doing.
I am seeing God move in my life in ways I never thought… I am starting to see so much excess and greed in my life and want to rid myself of it for good. I see that though I am grateful for my possessions, I still act like they are my possessions, rather than relying on Christ alone to provide for our every need and want. I am realizing that we are rich. For real. Even if we are just starting out, even if we are paying off a bunch of school debt, even if. Because much of the world doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from and many Christians are literally relying on God for their daily bread, and somehow I sit in my house with my refrigerator and freezer and hoard the possessions God has given me to share, and I still am willing to call myself the sister of one of those many when really I don’t even know how to begin to identify with them.
So we are cutting back. Intentionally. And we are more fulfilled. Already. There is so much more I could say as to our reasons, and how God is teaching us through this, but I literally would have to write much, much more than I have time for right now.
30% of our food budget is first (and we are only choosing 7 foods— and a few extras for work— that are allowed to be purchased at the store, full of health and goodness), maybe clothes is next, or possessions, or whatever, I don’t know.
But I sense something is happening, and I wish you could catch my fire, enthusiasm, excitement for this endeavor over the blogsphere. Because this is real and God is working and it’s awesome!
“Freely you have received. Freely give.” Matthew 10:8
*I would seriously recommend the book 7: An experimental mutiny against excess, by Jen Hatmaker, even though I am only on the second chapter. Read it folks, you won’t be sorry. Not one bit.