I may never be in the top 1% of wealth in America… I drive by super nice homes in Beverly Hills, which is only 10 minutes away from where I live, and think “I will never experience their house or lifestyle… I will never drive those luxury cars… I will never carry purses they have (I love purses)…” And then I snap out of it…
I’ve been to Bolivia, the poorest South American country, and talked with a woman who chewed on coca leaves to lessen her hunger pains while feeding her three young children. I’ve been to townships in South Africa, and witnessed people burning tires for warmth and children who lined up outside the gates of a local community center for their one and only daily meal. I’ve interacted with 800 children in slums of Dominican Republic who came to see the Americans who would give them candy and juice. I’ve seen, touched, and hugged over thousand children who live in poverty. Every time, I feel incredibly blessed for what I have… and somewhat helpless in terms of what I can do to help eradicate extreme poverty around the world. I try to do my part–I’ve donated money, I’ve tried to raise awareness, I wear and gift TOMS shoes, I support kids through Compassion… but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough…
and yet… when I’m in the comforts of my Los Angeles life, I want more and more and more… I want a specific purse that I saw online so bad that I can’t think about other things until I have it (I do have a sin-purse story, which I shall share in a later blog). I want mouth-watering, melts-in-your-mouth sushi that mounts to more than what I make in a day. I want to try every new restaurant that opens up in this cool, hip, foodie city of LA. I want a bunch of new apps for my iPhone and iPad. I want more and more and more… and I’m convinced that I’m super poor because I don’t live in a nice condo, townhouse, or a house in a rich neighborhood.
I’ve been following Live58 for close to a year now… I read “The Hole in our Gospel” by Richard Stern this year… and just 3 weeks ago, I met a woman from Wisconsin (I think) who was on her first month of “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” I was intrigued… and I couldn’t stop thinking about the concept of the book. So I finally bought the book and started reading it this week… and just as I was reading the intro, I just started crying. The tears were streaming down not because of all the poor kids around the world… but because I realized that my heart was filled with so much greed and envy… and I always saw myself as poor–not rich. I remember taking a survey on how rich I was compared to the world few years back, and when it told me that I was in top 2% of world’s wealth, I dismissed it–telling myself that I was still poor in the US. But the truth is, I’m still rich in the US. I have never experienced extreme hunger. I have never experienced lack of shelter or clothes. I may still live in debt (that’s another story), but I am still richly blessed with everything I need and some things I want.
Because I have an obsessive-compulsive personality at times, on a spur of the moment, I decided to take the 7 challenge! Jen talks about having a Council in her book… but I personally felt compelled to not think about it too much… but just to do it, and invite people along the way as I go through my journey. I’m not personally super legalistic on what I can do and can’t do, so I’m not 100% sure how this will play out… For instance, I get invited to people’s houses for dinner every now and then for ministry purposes–I wouldn’t impose my 7 things to eat on them, nor would I reject the food they serve me. However, I plan to do my best to stick to the 7 foods as much as I can.
So, if some of you are following along, and want to taste a little bit of what I’m doing… here it is:
For the month of June, I will pick seven foods to eat. This is a huge challenge as I LOVE food… okay, that’s an understatement… MY LOVE LANGUAGE IS FOOD!!! So I’m probably starting out with the hardest one… but here it goes! And just to put it out there for those who are willing to keep me accountable, here are my seven foods:
and just as the author was allowed to use salt, pepper, & olive oil… I will allow similar cooking oils, condiments, and herbs.
So here it goes… and I will document every now and then about how it’s going!