Goodbye, 7 - Elisabeth Klein
So my monthly 7 updates sort of felt to the wayside a while back.  And I must admit, I did not finish strong.  This month was about giving up stresses and replacing them with seven intentional stopping points throughout the day for prayer.  I did three times a day for about four days.  And I’ve got no excuses.

However, I wanted to share what I learned during this seven month experiment (and in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s this: http://www.amazon.com/7-Experimental-Mutiny-Against-Excess/dp/1433672960/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346003619&sr=1-1&keywords=seven+hatmaker).

The past several months consisted of a group of my friends giving up a handful of vices.  We limited our food intake, our clothing wearing, our technology use.  We learned to be more green, more intentional, more intelligent in our shopping.  

But I think what I really learned was this:
First, it turns out, I can give stuff up if I really want to.  I tend to look at myself as pretty spoiled (which I am) and as someone who has a hard time delaying my gratification.  If I want something, I tend to just get it.  Not a great life habit, I’m afraid.  So, disciplining myself to not eat out or wear only seven things out of my closet was huge for me, and now I know I can do it.
Secondly, it reminded me that my spoiled condition is the absolute minority.  Around the world, people are hurting and poor and hungry and thirsty and without a home and without a family and without clean water.  And that there are really simple things I can do to help.*
And, lastly, though this is pretty basic, it was a great reminder.  I never, ever would’ve lasted as long as I did had I not done this in community.  We started with a kick-off party, we’re ending with a celebration party tonight, we had a Facebook page just for us 7’ers to spur each other on, and we texted each other our complaints and whining and victories along the way.  So pretty much, life is way more fun with others.  As Sara Groves sings, “life with you is half as hard and twice as good”.

Though I wouldn’t have admitted this if you had asked me mid-shop-at-only-seven places month or mid-I-can’t-eat-Chipotle month, but looking back, I am super glad I did this and would recommend it to anyone.  Total eye-opener, total mind-changer, total heart-convicter.  Goodbye, and thank you, 7.

 

*Some things you can do to help others, no matter how busy or strapped you are:
Read
The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World, Wallis, Haseltine, Beckmann, Smit
The AIDS Crisis: What We Can Do, Dortzback, Long
The Hope Factor: Engaging the Church in the HIV/AIDS Crisis, Yamamori, Dageforde, Bruner
Pray
Pray for organizations fighting the battle against AIDS.
Pray for your church’s role.
Pray for your role as an individual and family.
Pray as a family.

Give
Donate your old cell phones.  CARE and Collective Good International are working together on a major mobile phone recycling initiative..
Donate clothing to a local shelter, cleaning your closet out at the beginning of a season so your donations get the most use.
Research a cause that really hits home for you, then make a monthly commitment to them and yourself to give back.
Carry fast food coupons or grocery store certificates to give out when you encounter a homeless person.
Give financially to a family in the process of adoption. See www.shaohannahshope.com and www.lifeintl.org for more information about financial assistance for adoptive families.
Drink only water for two weeks.  Save all your change for a month.  Rent a video instead of going to the movies.  Donate that money.
Donate local meals online at www.donatefood.org.  Just $5 will sponsor 15 breakfasts.

Do
Visit the original “click-to-give” Internet site (http://www.thehungersite.com) started in 1999 to combat hunger one click at a time. Each daily click is free to the visitor, and provides the value of 1.1 cups of staple food. 100% of site advertising is used to feed the hungry through partners Mercy Corps and America’s Second Harvest.
Use the search engine www.goodsearch.com.  Organizations like Compassion International, Blood:Water Mission, World Relief, World Vision, & Oxfam America, among many others, benefit from each search done on their behalf.
Volunteer with Feed My Starving Children packing meals.  Their approach is simple: volunteers pack nutritious meals made up of rice, soy, vitamins and dehydrated vegetables, and we partner with relief organizations worldwide to distribute these meals to starving children.  You can spend donate 2 hours of your time individually, as a family or with your Community Group, and help put together meals that will feed children all over the world.  Organize a drive to collect school supplies or shoes in your church or community group. To learn more visit www.gainusa.org (click on “Projects”) or www.shoesfororphansouls.org.
Go to www.compassion.com or www.worldvision.com and choose to sponsor a child (you can even plug in your children’s birthdates and find children who were born on the same day).  Then involve them in saving every month for their support (which is only $32 and $35 respectively), and then have them write these children and become pen pals.
Teach English as a second language (ESL) classes.
Make regular visits to a senior citizens’ home, which can be done with little kids in tow.
Head to www.tenthousandvillages.com.  Here you’ll find a website filled with beautiful things, everything from jewelry to stationery to toys & games, created by artisans all over the world who will benefit greatly from your business.
Visit www.samaritanspurse.org and click on their Gift Catalog.  You can donate to this organization in amounts as small as just $4 to provide a needy child with healthy milk for a week or $9 to purchase a packet of seeds for a family in another country to start their own vegetable garden.
Compose a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to your favorite magazine telling them about an issue that is important to you or highlighting an organization that is doing well in your community or on the other side of the world.
Go to http://www.house.gov/, type in your zip code, and you’ll be given your representatives’ names.  You can sometimes even email them right then and there.  Don’t be intimidated, just tell them what’s on your mind.
Join the AIDS Walk for Orphans.  Walk 6,000 steps for the 6,000 children orphaned daily on World AIDS Day, December 1.
Give blood.
You can give a child a home through international adoption.  To learn more about adoption, download Welcome Home: Eight Steps to Adoption, or to explore other information and identify key adoption agencies at www.HopeForOrphans.com; or contact the Adoption Resource Connection at http://www.arc-adopt.org for more information.

If my work has encouraged you and you’d like to partner with me as I reach out to help hurting women, click here  for more information.