That is what I am. A spoiled American. I love getting pedicures. I love having a washing machine. I love having two cars for the two drivers in our family. I love convenience. I love shopping. but I have felt convicted lately, and I truly hate that I am so materialistic and consumeristic.
I recently read the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. This book was a huge smack in my pretty little made up face. I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. I fill my schedule too full. I spend my money too easily. I spend my time unwisely. I don’t give away enough. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. (well…for the most part…I’m aiming to be gluten-free now so this isn’t entirely true. More on that later.)
But Bottom line: I live a life of EXCESS.
This all was very clear to me when our dishwasher stopped draining a couple weeks ago. We had a new garbage disposal installed (because ours wasn’t working and Lord knows we can’t empty the yucky scraps into the trash ourselves) and something was off with that that installation that caused our dishwasher to be clogged. We washed a couple loads in there, thinking it might work itself out. This did not happen. It got yucky, and we had to start washing dishes by hand. By we, I mean me, of course…since my job includes caring for the baby and the house while Kev works super hard.
I was not a happy camper about this hand washing routine. I was a brat, it’s kinda ridiculous how I acted. I know lots of Americans don’t have dishwashers (in fact our apartment didn’t have one, and I SERIOUSLY don’t know how we or our marriage survived.) I was a wreck for this 2 week period of living with a zero-functioning-dishwasher. A complete wreck. I complained that I didn’t have time for anything else besides washing dishes. (seriously, though? How many hours a day do I spend online doing useless activities?) I didn’t want to cook because I didn’t want to wash the dishes by hand. I acted like what I would call a typical, lazy American. I was terrified that our washer or dryer might also malfunction…or what we would do in the future if this happened. I started realizing how much I take these appliances for granted! There are SO SO SO many people around the world who don’t have dishwashers, toasters, Keurig Coffee makers, air-conditioners, heaters, microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, STOVES…my gosh. I need to get over missing out on ONE for 14 days of my life.
I’m so thankful now for that wake-up call! I have such a selfish heart.
I am so embarrassed to admit my freak-out-ness. I know lots of you probably function fine without a dishwasher. (in that way, I believe you deserve the title of exemplary American.) But this is just one way that I am so spoiled with my way and “standard” of living. I don’t want to be this way! I don’t want to be that suburban brat, ever. I don’t want to live an oblivious, painfully spoiled American life when our sisters and brothers around the world are walking miles just to get clean drinking water. When we have sisters and brothers HERE who hardly have enough food to eat or a place to rest their head.
I don’t want to continue buying clothes just because it’s fun when I have SO many I don’t wear and when people in our own city and country own just the clothes on their backs. I don’t want to shelter myself from reality and throw a hissy fit over something as frivolous as a dishwasher breaking.
How do I change?? I think it starts with awareness.
Since I read (more like devoured) Jen’s book, I have mostly stayed away from the mall…and clothing sections in other stores. (ehem…target) I have seriously probably reduced our clothing expenditures by over 75%.I have cooked more, which has helped us stay away from spending lots of cash on restaurants. I have been praying for the orphans and the widows…and I can feel my heart being drawn even more toward international adoption through these times of prayer and journaling. I just feel God shaping me as I let myself lean into these thoughts and convictions.
I am painfully aware of excess in my life and heart and schedule. I am afraid of who I might become if I continue down the typical American path.
I’m realizing that it’s not okay to be unaware and therefore “irresponsible.” I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t want to live the status quo American way anymore. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a book that pierced me right where I needed it the way this one did.
We did get our dishwasher fixed. We had bought the warranty from Lowes so it was free. Geez louise. Thank you, Lord, for having mercy on a sinner like me.