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The Sin of Sodom, or of Me?


“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
– Ezekiel 16:49

I have two huge pantries and they are both stuffed with food. I have a huge refrigerator and I’m always frustrated because I can’t fit everything in it. I’m always scraping the food my kids left on their plates into the trashcan after meals. Why do they waste so much food? Because they know there is more in our two pantries and huge refrigerator.

I just counted and I have almost a hundred shirts and sweaters hanging in my closet. That doesn’t include dress pants, shorts, jeans, dresses, or undergarments. I have over twenty-five pairs of shoes. I am embarrassed by these facts.

Can you tell I’ve been reading Jen Hatmaker’s book “7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess?”

The book is basically about reducing all the excess in our lives. Jen takes 7 months, each month choosing a different area to focus on. The seven areas are: food, clothes, spending, waste, stress, possessions, and media. The point of the book is to practice emptying ourselves out and getting ourselves out of the way so that Jesus can fill us up.

The first month she only allowed herself to eat seven foods. The second month she only wore seven items of clothing the entire month. I stopped reading for a little bit after the first two months because I was so disturbed by it.

The fact that we have so much here in America, that I have so much, should keep me up at night, but it rarely does. Why is that?

A quote from Jen’s book: “Would Jesus overindulge on garbage food while climbing out of a debt hole from buying things He couldn’t afford to keep up with neighbors He couldn’t impress? In so many ways I am the opposite of Jesus’ lifestyle. This keeps me up at night. I can’t have authentic communion with Him while mired in the trappings He begged me to avoid. I am pierced by Gandhi’s astute observation: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” 1*

Jesus doesn’t overindulge.

I overindulge on everything while millions of people all over this world are starving and suffering. Arrogant, overfed and unconcerned…? Sounds like America, and myself at times, much to my dismay (and disgust). Lord, I’m so sorry. Forgive me, and change my heart.

Sometimes it just feels too big. Where would I start? Sometimes it feels too hard to change and go against the flow of crazy consumerism in our culture. I sensed God speaking to me and saying, “But that doesn’t make it okay, Tammy.”

We have so much.

We will have so much to answer for someday.

I have decided to start small. But I must start. My family doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to have us try the food and clothing reduction that Jen did, or at least some form of it. I don’t know the details of our plan yet, but I will know by next week when I write my next post, and I will let you know.

I have been thinking about all of the excess I have experienced in my lifetime. And then specifically, all the things I have wasted in my lifetime.

Yes, I have wasted plenty of food, clothing, water, and “stuff.” But I have also wasted my time, talents, money, relationships, and opportunities to show people Jesus. So many missed opportunities…

I was feeling pretty discouraged and wondering how I could ever get all those years of so much waste back…and then God, in His mercy and love for me, gave me His answer:

Only God can cover and redeem our waste. It is not too late. But we must start somewhere. I pray God will show each of us how we can start today.

“As I reduce, He is enough. As I simplify, He is enough. He is my portion where food and clothes and comfort fall woefully short. He can heal me from greed and excess, materialism and pride, selfishness and envy. While my earthly treasures and creature comforts will fail me, Jesus is more than enough. In my privileged world where “need” and “want” have become indistinguishable, my only true requirement is the sweet presence of Jesus.” 2*

Please feel free to leave a comment, or idea on how to reduce excess, below. I always love to hear from you.

 

*1. 7 - An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, pg. 28-29
*2. 7 - An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, pg. 18-19

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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