It’s Month 2 of my 7 Challenge. I crafted this 7 Challenge along the lines of Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. You can read my review of the book and what my modified 7 challenge includes here.
Food Month Is Done…Sort Of
Month 1 was all about reconstructing my thoughts about food. Jen Hatmaker picked 7 foods to eat for four weeks. I picked 7 poverty stricken countries and ate like the people in those countries for one day each. Except…I only finished five of the countries. But I’m making up the rules in this challenge, and I see no reason why I can’t overlap and do two more countries while I’m in the midst of the second month. Here’s to ultimate control.
It was hard look at reality as I pried open my half shut eyes to really see how little so many people have. The realization has intensely affected my thinking. For example, the only TV show I follow (unless Downton Abbey is on) is The Biggest Loser. I used to love watching those contestants defeat their food addictions and other demons and move toward a healthy lifestyle. Last week, I watched the Season 16 premier and could hardly stand it. How do we as Americans and people from other wealthy countries allow ourselves to stay so blind? To not share our vast food supply? I know, I’ve rolled my eyes when “do-gooders” have talked about “those starving Africans,” too. And I’m ashamed of that. Because the difference between what we have and what the poor in other countries have is ridiculous. Yes, we have our food hardships in America, even if they are the polar opposite of many countries’ food challenges. I don’t want to belittle North American health struggles, because I struggle to eat healthfully as much as the next American. I simply don’t think our struggles would be so hard if we realized how little others have. And it’s not like now that I’m aware of the suffering, I’m all of a sudden cutting our grocery bill in half and giving all kinds of money away. It’s not that easy. But I wish it could be.
Uganda is Calling
The country I ache for most right now is Uganda. I learned more about this country through reading Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis. Davis went to Uganda on a short term missions trip and found it impossible to leave. She couldn’t say ‘no’ to the orphans she knew needed her. I know all of us can’t leave everything and adopt 14 children at age 19, but I am inspired by her do something attitude and her love for her Lord and His people. I find myself asking, “what am I doing that matters in my culture? In this world?” I hope to figure this out sooner rather than later. I don’t have answers yet, but a desire to do more is stirring inside of me.
It’s clear something is stirring because we were about $50 under budget for groceries last month. People, that is no small feat. Part of that is because we were out of town for a few days, and part of it was from my eating way less 5 days out of the month. So I will be able to give a donation to Hunger Relief International, which makes those faint-feeling days totally worth it.
And while I can’t snap my fingers and adopt all the orphans of the world, I can support orphans and impoverished families in Uganda very easily. You can, too! Check out the shop that Katie Davis’s ministry, Amazima, runs. They provide training and materials to a very poor group of Ugandans who are refugees from the northern part of the country. These people are often in abject poverty. With the help of Amazima, women are able to feed and clothe their children honestly by creating necklaces and other jewelry. And it’s beautiful!
If you don’t find something you like at the Amazima shop, try Kanzi, a division of Pearl Ministries. My husband’s cousin worked with this ministry and I can tell you that I’ve seen the jewelry in person and it’s gorgeous. There are also many little handmade items like this adorable wooden giraffe that would make great gifts for the holidays.
Moving On: Month 2
Month 2 is a challenge focused on clothes. This is a two-part challenge. Part 1 is sorting through my clothes and giving away as much as possible. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this part of my 7 challenge starts at the same time the weather is turning cold here. It’s time for me to switch out my summer clothes for winter, and it’s a perfect time to help those in need prepare for the cold season. My extra clothes will go to an organization just down the street from us called Sharing God’s Love that provides needy families with food and clothing. (I wanted to contribute my extra clothes to refugees or women’s shelters, but the organizations here don’t take clothing).
Part 2 of the clothes challenge is to not buy any clothing for myself for three months. I began the no shopping part of this challenge on September 19th, so I’m already a month into it. For someone who thinks she doesn’t like to shop, this challenge is proving a lot harder than expected. I promised myself at the end of winter last year that this would be the year I would buy some good boots, really dark jeans, colored corduroys..I was reckless with my promises to myself. While I’m still wishing I had bought boots in August before starting this challenge, I’m learning a lot as I wait. One of the things I’m reminded of is that (a) I don’t need as much as I think I do and (2) once I determine what I really do need, I should go for quality. I am a sucker for rock bottom prices. Anyone got good recommendations for quality boots at a decent price? I’ll be in the market for some on December 19th. =)
So I’ll be cleaning out my closet this week and may even post some pictures of the process. Brace yourself. I encourage you to think about what you need and don’t need in your closet. How could you bless people who really do need what you have but don’t use? There’s a balance between beauty and just too much stuff, and I’m looking for it right now. Won’t you join me?