Coming Out of the Closet

A few friends and I decided to embark on something we are calling The Sacred Adventure of 7.  They are brave women who want to look at life a little differently.  They want to eliminate excess and strip away some of the distractions in their lives so that they might more clearly see and hear from Jesus.  They want to live like Him and they know that in America (and the Western World) there is a spiritual depravity that begins in our closets.
So that is where we begin.  I spent over an hour in my closet on Saturday.  I tripped over several pairs of shoes as I muscled my way through my clothing to decide what 7 items  I would wear for the next 21 days…straight.   I did not just stand there for an hour, I purged old sports bras that didn’t fit, and pulled out clothing that had pit stains and others that clearly were worn back when I had babies.  (Why do I hang on to these items…FOREVER?) 
In that “closet time” I was struck by several things.  Most who know me, know that I am not “fancy” when it comes to clothes.  When first beginning this challenge most people would say that this month should be a “snap” for me because ½ the time I wear the same clothes over and over again.  I am a minimalist who dresses for comfort not style.  Anything “cute” or “trendy” that you have seen me in has been a gift or hand-me down from a fashionable friend.  (You know who you are—and I am very thankful for you—you clothe me and my children and we are snazzy because of you!)  But overall, I am a lazy dresser who is stuck having worked with high school students for one too many years and then has not transitioned in to “mom” clothes whatever that means? 
In this “stuck” place I live with WAY too many clothes.  No matter how “not cute” or “trendy” I am…I still own 7 identical white camis from old navy.  I own 5 cardigans and 8 black hoodie/jacket/pull-over type thingys.  EIGHT!  Whenever I go to a sporting goods store and leave with a clothing item Chris asks… “is it another black hoodie?”  I am obsessed.   I clothe myself for comfort.  The What Not to Wear folks would be knocking down my door if they actually saw what was in my closet!  Until recently I owned 2 pairs of velvety/velour OVERALLS…one in maroon and one in green corduroy.  Do you know how comfortable those were??  I still refuse to get rid of my jean overalls that were SO cute and in style in college with the prayer that they might come back in style…eventually?!  I love a good pair of sweat pants…but own 6!    You see the pattern…in choosing comfort…I choose a LOT of comfort. 
The items in my closet total 227.  (Not including sock, bras, and underwear.)   After reading this, for some, you are disgusted because yours is double that number.  For others you are disgusted because yours is ½ that number!  Either way I am disgusted because it is so far above and beyond my needs…and I purged before counting!
So why 7?  Jen Hatmaker wrote a book called, 7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  In it she outlines her journey through 7 months of purging her home and life of areas of excess.  I sensed that this was the very type of shake up I needed to get a better handle on the rat wheel or rat race that we run daily trying to keep up with the Jones’ or even just “better our lives and the lives of our children” for the sake of financial philanthropy.   After reading her book, I was struck by the fact that you can be very generous with what you have and still be living a life of excess.   This was something that was starting to gnaw at me.  I sensed that I was unintentionally going through the motions in this life and realized I was getting sucked in to something I had not signed up for:  entitlement and greed.  Because I was American and worked hard wasn’t I entitled to a great house, car, clothing, vacations, etc?  I was living a life of excess.  And worse, there were people within a few miles from my home who were living with far less.   I am not stupid—I knew this—but my actions seemed to indicate that I didn’t really care.  I wanted to figure out what that meant and it seemed that living with less might actually shift my perspective. 

So I am coming out of the closet.  I am ready for truth…healthy doses of humility and perspective.  I have no idea what this next 7 months will bring but I am hoping it will bring me closer to my Maker and closer to the way I was designed to live. 

I wasn’t sure when the best time was to actually post this blog…but I recently read another book…an ebook…and it has similar themes and practical suggestions for living simply.   (   Her book is different from 7…and I love Jen’s real, humble, and hilarious humor…but Lorilee’s book is great, practical, and a very helpful read as one examines living more simply.  So I figured today was as good a day as any to post about this adventure and share my headaches and hardships as I plunge and purge through the excess in my life.   Hope you enjoy the blog and the book! 

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed! 


7 thoughts on “Coming Out of the Closet

  1. Hey Jenni
    Kudos – 7 is an awesome book. And the author lives in Austin (sigh) I was so jealous reading all her encounters with local food down there that we miss so much.


  2. While not directly related to the topic of this post, I'm curious if the double entendre of your title crossed your mind. And if you believe your quote “So I am coming out of the closet. I am ready for truth…healthy doses of humility and perspective,” renders true for the more traditional usages of this clause..


  3. Anonymous,

    I can see how that paragraph might be read with double meaning…although it's intention was to speak about my adventure of stripping away some of my material excess to deal with inner heart matters surrounding the ways that I simply cling too tightly to “stuff.”


  4. Loved the title, loved the entire blog, love our new adventure, love all these strong and healthy women participating! We are bettering ourselves for our savior, and that is healing to say! Love you J- keep the blog posts coming! This is the last thing I’m reading as I lie my head down to sleep! Such good stuff to ponder as I drift off into dreamland.


  5. I unintentionally have a very small wardrobe. Since my son was born 5 yrs ago, I have struggled with my weight, and I have not wanted to invest in “nice” clothes while my weight has been up and down. So I typically have in my closet, 3 shirts, 3 tank tops, 2 pr of jeans and a pr of Tennis shoes. I also have a couple pair of boots for when I feel like “dressing up” my jeans and a pair of flip flops. Right now I am pregnant, so those clothes are in my closet, but not being worn. My maternity wardrobe is equally small. My plan is to change (but not necessarily increase) my wardrobe after the baby is born. I have a desire to be more stylish, even if I am not at my “perfect” weight.


  6. Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer and I love that you are leaning toward keeping it minimal…it seems to keep me less distracted. It begs the question how much do we really need?


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