I can admit it, whenever I go to a social gathering and I am the teeniest tiniest bit nervous to meet new people, I want to wear a new shirt. This is my coping mechanism. I want to hide myself from the new people slightly, so I hope that the new shiny shirt will distract them from the unworthy parts of me. Silly isn’t it?
But I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. It’s why we have closets full of clothes and shopping addictions. We are a people who don’t know the meaning of excess. If we did, we would stop this maddening behavior of over consumption. Jen Hatmaker calls a mutiny to the over stuffed closets in Chapter 2 of her new book, 7.
In 2000, I spent six weeks in the country of Ghana, Africa. I lived comfortably out of a duffel bag with roughly a week’s worth of clothing. In any contrast of culture, the short-term missionary returns home with a sense of unmerited blessing. We have so much and they have so little. A sharp contrast for the heart of clay to justify.
In month two, Jen fasts clothing. She reports to the reader that she has 327 articles to choose from in her closet. When I read this, it made me curious, and curious enough that I counted my own closet: 176. I would be hard pressed to fit any more than that in this space, so possibly my less than number is only a matter of space and not greed, just so we don’t get caught in the trap of comparison here girls.But what if we stopped shopping for a month? A year? What would we do to fill that time or to ease those fears of having nothing to wear? And what are we exactly afraid of? I would describe myself as a minimalist, but I think 176 articles would beg to differ. Try to take one of those away from me and I would give you a good argument to keep it. This book has allowed me to take an honest look at myself because the author was so honest with herself. 176 articles in this country may be a qualification for minimalism, but I think my Ghanaian friends would equate that number to royalty. Perspective is a funny thing.
So we clean out our closets, and we give our clothes to the nearest donation center, but I don’t believe that is enough because if the heart doesn’t change, we are only actors in a play for scene 2 and our closets will eventually be full again.The author’s heart was transformed and I pray ours will be as well.
“When we hear fast we put on the yoke of self-denial. When God said ‘fast,’ He meant to take off the yoke of oppression. The Isaiah 58 fast is not about the mechanics of abstinence; it is a fast from self-obsession, greed, apathy and elitism.” – Jen Hatmaker
And God whispers to me, Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Apathy to Americans is the gentle soothing rock of the enemy. He likes to get us comfortable in our environments and then just rock us to sleep like a baby.
About our Savior, the One I desire to be like, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow, and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53:2
Jesus, would you teach us how to live?