This past summer we had some friends that were leaving to become missionaries somewhere around the world where no one has even heard the name of Jesus. We were so proud of them and supportive of them that when it came time to move we thought we would help them by taking their big screen tv off their hands. I mean how else should you support your missionaries these days, but by taking their stuff so they can go be Jesus to the world!  So, we bought their tv for just about nothing and moved our 22 inch tv into our bedroom and squeezed our new 52 inch tv into our living room.

I remember when they first brought it over and it looked gigantic in our living room. It sat on the same table where just minutes before a 22 inch tv at sat, that was practically a computer monitor, and now we have 52 inches of high-definition there. I gasped and thought to myself that this was ridiculous and we can never keep this. I felt people would think we were rich. I felt people would think we were prestigious. I felt people would think we were entitled. (Can anyone say, approval idol?!?)  I had never had a tv that big in my entire life and I am a 33-year-old woman.  I was embarrassed to show friends for what they might think of me.


Then the feelings left.  The tv became our norm and the tv in our bedroom seems abnormally small, even though we had never felt that the past 2 years.  Recently I had a moment while watching Chopped (which might be Aaron and I's favorite thing to do at night) where I thought how the tv wasn't a big deal anymore.  It didn't make me feel entitled.  It was just normal.  It didn't make me feel different, it just felt normal.  I would no longer be embarrassed showing my friends. It was just normal.


My normal had shifted.  8 months earlier I felt dirty for bringing such a huge tv into our home.  We don't like to fill our lives with stuff, and yet this was displaying the opposite.  We don't like to spend our money on excess, but yet this looked as if we did.  Now I don't even give our tv a second thought.  I don't cringe anymore when new people come over for fear of their judgement for us having such a huge tv in our living room.  I don't even think about it.

Jen Hatmaker recently wrote a book called, 7, that is an experimental mutiny against excess.  For seven months her and her family go through a self-made experiment that changed their lives and if you allow it, can change your life as well.  While reading this book I found myself evaluating my life and my excess.  Just recently Aaron and I have had a lot of unexpected expenses come up, so we've just been re-doing our budget and trying to cut back in certain areas.  Sure enough right when we find out yet another kid needs some form of medical treatment I'm reminded of Jen's fast from spending, where she spent a whole month only spending her money in seven places.  Can you even imagine?  I think I might have whipped out my check card in seven different places yesterday.


She listed these statistics in her book

Annual US spending on cosmetics:  $8 billion

Basic education for all global children:  $6 billion


Annual US and European spending on perfume:  $12 billion

Clean water for all global citizens:  $9 billion


Annual US & European spending on pet food:  $17 billion

Reproductive health for all women:  $12 billion


Y'all I read those and my heart just broke.  For my flippant spending is so against what God requires of me.  I have been challenged by her book in so many ways, and my spending is just one of them.  She does this fast of stripping away in excess in her life seven different ways; clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media & stress.  I thought the stress chapter was gonna be silly and just talk about ways to decrease your stress and such, but let me tell you it was a slap straight from the scripture about praying and resting in God every single day.


I want you to read this book so badly.  I have read 3 of Jen's other books and they are all wonderful, but this one hits a spot in your heart and soul that needs so badly to be hit.  God will use the Hatmaker's experiment to move your heart and soul to live a life more focused on Jesus and his mission than on our own selfish desires and goals.  Read it and you will see!


I'm gonna give away one of these books to a very lucky reader of mine!  To enter this contest you can do any of the items listed below!  If you do more than one, be sure and leave a separate comment for each thing you do, so that you'll get more entries. 


#1 – Find Jen on facebook and wish her a Happy Valentine's day.  Y'all I know we're about a 2 weeks away, but seriously who wouldn't want a little extra love for 3 days in February!  — Leave me a comment telling me that you did this oh so very important task!

#2 – Find DreamingBigDreams on facebook and become a fan!  — Leave me a comment telling me that you did this task!

#3 – Tell me what chapter you will look forward to the most if you win this book:

clothes – shopping – waste – food – possessions – media – stress

#4 – share this contest on fb or twitter!  If you can't think of anything to say, try this … “I want to win @jenhatmaker new book #7 that @jamie_ivey is giving away!”  Then just add the link to this page and you are good to go!

Ready … Set … Go – GOOD LUCK!  Contest ends at noon on Sunday (CST).


Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2012-02-07 16:25:34 UTC


**If you think I'm saying my big tv is wrong, you're missing my point here.  I do love watching Sister Wives on such a big screen.  😉  My point is that we live in excess and we don't even know it.  We can so easily replace our tv that works perfectly fine with one that is 20 inches bigger and after a few days we don't feel weird about it anymore.  Life goes on.  We spend more.  We stress more.  We create more waste.

Jamie Ivey