We have started new Experimental Collectives at Vintage. Right now, we are focusing on simplicity, realizing that Jesus invites us to find a whole new way to think about our money, our stuff, our clothes, our time, our anxiety, and our stress. Jesus invites us to a more simple life in which we find our security in God.
We decided to focus on simplicity in November and December very intentionally. If there is any season in which we need to experiment with less, it is the holiday season. And so, we've gone at our cultural pressures head-on.
The Experimental Collective that I am in is using Jen Hatmaker's book 7 as its jumping off point. 7 tells Jen's story of radically addressing seven areas of excess in her life. It's a really interesting read. In our collective, we decided to each pick an area of excess and try to simplify it. We took two weeks to prepare - one to pick an area and one to make a plan. Now, we are spending a month living out our plan and experimenting with simplicity.
Here's what I'm learning so far:
I'm beginning to think that because simplicity is related to peace and beauty, its opposites are actually clutter and chaos. Things in my life are least simple when they are out of control.
I chose food as my area to simplify because food is out of control in my life. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad. I eat too much. I eat too much of the wrong stuff. I feel better when I eat. I feel worse about myself when I eat. Food has become chaotic in my life. It is out of control. There are no boundaries. I feel like it has been mastering me instead of the other way around.
And so, for the next month, I am experimenting with radically simplifying my diet in hopes of bringing food under control.
Here's how I'm going to do it. I've decided on twelve foods that I am going to eat and three drinks that I'm going to drink. (I know that Jen Hatmaker only ate seven foods for a month. This is my experiment, not hers.) For the next month, my diet will consist of:
Whole Wheat Bread
My hope is that during this experiment, I will learn that food doesn't have to be the master of me. I can make good and consistent choices. It doesn't have to feel chaotic and out of control. I'm also hoping to lose a little bit of weight - I've never been fatter than I am right now.
This experiment in food simplicity won't make my life easier or less complicated. This morning when I was fixing oatmeal for Vanessa and the kids, it would have been easier to just fix a fifth bowl instead of frying up an egg for myself. This simple diet will make grocery shopping and menu planning for the family more complex. I've read Jen Hatmaker's story and the stories of some of my friends who did the 7 food experiment. I know it's not going to be easy.
But I think it will bring me some peace and beauty. And that's why I'm doing it. That makes it worth it.
Here we go.