I’m starting something new. It will take about two months, and I’m honestly not sure how it will go. I’m excited, but also nervous. So what am I doing?
Over the next seven weeks, I’ll be reading 7: an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker. I plan to read one chapter at a time and cut back on each area of excess for one week (the author did it for a month each, but I’ll be doing a short experiment because of time and student lifestyle restrictions).
So why am I doing this?
Ever since reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, I’ve experimented with different aspects of my life in order to lead a more “wholehearted” life. I’ve gone vegan, planned daily Bible studies, and focused on what makes me happy, all in the pursuit of a God-focused, joy-filled, purpose-driven life. This “Excess Experiment” is similar to “My Happiness Project” in which I am focusing on one area of my life that I think needs a change. I liked how she described this as a fast or “an intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God’s movement in my life”. As I am currently living in one of the richest cities in the world (technically it’s right outside of DC, and I reside in my family home) and have also visited and worked in a developing country (read more about my trips to Haiti here), I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. God has blessed me with so much,
When I first think about the word ‘excess’, it sounds like a nice word. “More than I need” and “an extra bonus” come to mind. It reminds me of the time my dad asked how much ice cream my sister wanted, and she replied “too much!”. As humans, having extra sounds great. But in reality, it’s not nice at all. Coming from an economics point of view, having a surplus (too much of something), isn’t good. A surplus in demand means there’s not enough to go around, and a surplus in supply means some products (which cost money to make) are sitting unused in a warehouse. In financial terms, you don’t want to have extra money sitting around when you’re making a budget. Every dollar should go towards something, even if it’s a savings account for the future. What happens when you eat an excessive amount of ice cream? It may have tasted absolutely delicious at the time, but in a few hours your stomach will be begging you never to eat that much ice cream again (especially if you’re lactose intolerant!). People always wish for more time in the day (as a student, I’m always wishing for a few more hours), but when I find myself with a bunch of extra hours, I usually don’t spend them well. The thing with excess is that when we have more than enough, we have to devote time, energy, and brainpower figuring out what to do with all that excess. And that time, energy, brainpower, etc. could’ve been spent talking with God or building a relationship or keeping yourself healthy or changing the world. I’m hoping that in the next few weeks, I’ll cut out excess until I’m living with just enough. If you think about it, enough means to be sufficient and adequate for us to survive, and God gives us just enough that we not only survive, but thrive through Him. I’m really looking forward to this Excess Experiment, and I hope you enjoy following along my journey!