I have this thing where I cannot stand being told what to do, nor do I like having constraints placed upon me, even if it’s a good idea, even if it’s for my own good.

So to say that I’ve balked at the notion of spending the next seven months doing less of what I normally do simply because some hilarious Jesus-loving Kingdom-building pastor’s wife from Texas* is telling me to would be an understatement. I have dragged my figurative feet to this my first day of seven months. But I don’t think I’m dragging anymore.

You see, I need this. I feel like I came flying out of a cage that I’d been imprisoned in for years and proceeded to go on a bender in Vegas. Well, in tiny, non-illegal, not really sinful ways. Like, buying twenty-seven dollars worth of dark chocolate once, to celebrate something. Or getting a few things off my Amazon wishlist just because. Or, because I had been previously told I couldn’t, giving money to my church’s year-end campaign. You know, crazy stuff like that.

My pendulum was on one end…no, no, no.  Then it swung to the other side…yes, yes, yes. And now I need these seven months to bring me into a grown-up, Jesus-y, others-centered, non-instant-gratification balance.

I have no idea what God is going to teach me in the next seven months as I lay down food and clothing and media, among other things, and I don’t need to know. That will be part of the journey, part of the adventure…watching it unfold a little bit at a time.

All I know right now is that God is the one calling me to this self-denial, and when God does the calling, it’s gentle and full of love.

(*I’m referring to Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess.)