Friday, September 01, 2006

30 Days of Nothing

It's September 1--the first day of Tonia's 30 Days of Nothing challenge. I've been trying to decide how we can participate.

It's a challenge to fast from our mindset of affluence, from our addictions to consumerism. Like a fast from a favorite food, the purpose isn't to change the world but to change us as individuals:

The goal of this month-long fast is to break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds. We want to live in gratitude, not discontent; and we want to live with awareness of the great responsibility our affluence has laid on our shoulders.

Actually, our family has already taken this challenge. When Papa Rooster very suddenly lost his job about a year ago, we lived this way for six months--buying nothing but absolute necessities. To be very honest, I'm not eager to do it again.

It's not that it was so hard on me. I have to confess that I am frugal by nature (or by nurture--my parents were the same way). It was almost a relief to me to have our circumstances put a lid on spending for our family, to have my husband as motivated as I was not to spend money, to have my kids not asking for things because they just knew: we didn't have any money (coming in). I guess I'm just afraid that our stint of deprivation is still too fresh in their minds for the kids--or my husband--to be willing participants in this as an exercise.

[Tangential update on our activites: In addition, we're already directing our energies into so many new things this month. We've started school this week (which is going more smoothly than I expected: Thank you, Lord! How often does that happen?) Next week I begin teaching a writing class to our newly-formed homeschool co-op and carpool. At church, where my husband and I are both leaders, we are planning and adding a second service in two weeks. Rehearsals for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe begin tonight for Bantam 11 and Blondechick 13, and the Makeup Committee, which I'm chairing, has to figure out how six or seven of us are going to get 89 kids made up into Narnian animals and cruelies--gotta design all that, too--in the mere hour before each show and dress rehearsal. Papa Rooster has new projects at work and he's gone next week for his company's fall conference where it will be his sad job to wine and dine their cutting back on the joys of an affluent culture for him! (Though I know how much he'd rather be home with us.) And we're going camping this weekend!]

So instead of experiencing this month, I think I'll focus on educating. So many of our societal problems with excessive consumption and debt begin with attitudes of the heart, like confusing needs with wants, seeking security and fulfillment in material things, elevating self-fulfillment to the place of an idol (vs. living a life of joyful sacrificial submission to the circumstances in which God has placed us) and the good old-fashioned vices of avarice (greed) and indulgence.

Doesn't that sound like a good curriculum for our morning devotions?

When I introduced the topic this morning, Blondechick 13 got it right away. "Oh, yeah, when I go shopping I always want to buy things I don't really need."

Attagirl. This month we're going to pay attention to what we're paying for, if nothing else.


Kari Z. Murphy said...

Yes, yes, yes! What a perfect curriculum, and a great tie-in to the 30 Days of Nothing.

As an adult who struggles with what borders on, if it isn't a true, addiction to buying and stuff, I can't express how important it is to educate the children.

I'm praying the Lord will help me get my act together so I can begin teaching mine by example as well as in word!

Great post. :)

In Christ alone,

Anonymous said...

Great post!

What parts did the kids get in the next show?

Jen in Seattle

tonia said...

Love it! I really like how everyone is personalizing this for what works for their families.

Can't wait to hear about it.

owlhaven said...

Interesting twist. We're doing this too...

Mary, mom to many

At A Hen's Pace said...


Thanks for asking about the kids! The answer was in Monday's post, but kinda buried. Bantam 11 is an Evil Narnian, either a Wolf, a Dwarf or an Ogre, which suits him fine because it's a stage-fighting part; Blondechick 13 is a Cruelie, one of the White Witch's cohort--she is in three sinister dance numbers with the Witch.

Jennifer said...

your post was really thoughtful- and you went to such an interesting direction with educating in place of experiencing. Thanks for sharing, you've given me something to think about.
you all sound very busy this month!
blessings this week,
Jenny in Ca

Susan said...

I like the idea about paying attention to how money is spent. I am doing that as well and focusing on gratitude for what I do have.