33 Days of Spending Less

What I’m learning about simplicity and Target through my shopping fast

I worry about what others think. I don't like being inconvenienced. I may be addicted to "new" and "more."

And I learned it all while fasting . . . from spending.

This summer I read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. In the book, she shares her experiences in seven different month-long fasts to combat the tug of greed, materialism, and overindulgence on her life. She fasted from food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.

During her food fast, she stuck to seven foods: chicken, avocado, apples, whole wheat bread, eggs, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Then she chose seven articles of clothing to wear for a month, and spent money at only seven places for a month. She gave away seven items a day for a month, picked up seven green habits for a month, and observed the (seven) "hours of prayer" for a month.

As I read through her honest and funny accounts while I laid on the beach—on vacation—I teetered between full conviction, wanting to start my own fast that day (God has spoken!), to laughing at the prospect of eating only seven foods (absolutely ridiculous!).

With a clearer, post-vacation mind, I decided I definitely needed to fast. I needed a kick in the pants, more clarity in my relationship with God, and an opportunity to grow. And that's what fasting, and other spiritual disciplines, can offer.

I began weighing my options. A food fast? Maybe I could limit myself to 77 foods.

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