The past seven weeks have been transformative and I am so thankful that I won this book from a giveaway. God clearly had intended this for me. I had someone comment that I must really love this book in order to review it chapter by chapter, and that an all inclusive once over broad review would probably be sufficient. To that I say, why?
I read books in order to learn, absorb and change.
If I were reading for quantity or for entertainment, then I would agree, but I do books differently. I want to apply them to my life. I hope that the lessons I’ve learned through 7 will continue to impact my family’s life. God knows what He wants me to absorb and I pray that it sticks.
Fasting food for me was the ultimate challenge. All of the other weeks were hard and took energy but the reduction of food was by far the hardest week. The author states that when we take things out of our lives, we learn what is most important to us. Yep, she’s right. In second place to food was media week. Whoa nelly! I certainly had an eye opener about my dependence on entertainment. Whether I’m bored, sick, emotionally in turmoil or just not psyched about my daily chores, media is my outlet for stress. I think God has used this time of reduction to hold a mirror in front of my face. I’ve learned He desires us so badly and wants to be our outlet.
The reduction of clothing choices and waste were the most manageable. I believe both areas would have become more difficult if I had given myself a longer time frame. Unexpectedly, I found a lot of encouragement during the week of waste because I tallied up all of my efforts to recycle, reuse and re-purpose. I was able to stop beating myself up about trashing the Earth and take a step back. I looked at all of the changes my family has integrated into our daily lives and it was a beautiful thing.
If I were to give someone a heads up before starting this unique challenge, I would encourage them to find a community who will be supportive and possibly reduce alongside of them. The author had a group of friends, “the council” who rallied around her during the seven months and I often found myself a wee bit jealous of their texting SOS’s. (Is SOS’s even a word? No.) But in reality it really did drive home the value of community and the need for my family and I to reintegrate back into one. This is the year for restoration right! I did this alone, and it was hard. I mischievously engaged my family during certain weeks, ie: spending week because it’s honestly impossible not to spend money when your kids are pleading to go out to eat. Oh we are so spoiled aren’t we 1%?
There was a little jewel of joy that occurred by doing this thing alone and that was that it was free from all religiosity. I didn’t have anyone I had to be accountable to and therefore it was strictly between me and my Savior. I often found myself praying, “Jesus, I know no one else will see this, or ask me if I ate that unsanctioned chocolate bar, but you will know, and I’m doing this to draw close to your heart. Help!”
I would encourage anyone with even the slightest inkling to try this to just do it. Whether it’s for a week or a month it doesn’t matter. I am so thankful that I did and God has used this experience to mold my family and I. Praise the Lord because He moves us from precept to precept, out of love.