The Summer of 7: Trepidation

Trepidation.  That’s what fills me as The Summer of 7 begins. Here’s why.

I have the teeniest, tiniest tendency toward perfectionism.  For years and years and years and years, I was trapped on the gerbil wheel of Good Christian Performance.  Got a rule?  I’d keep it.  Got a list?  I’d check it off.  Got a mask?  I’d wear it.

Until 5 years ago, I was a missionary.  I have a 20-year plaque and a translated New Testament to prove it.

When it comes to The Summer of 7, I have been there, done that, and got me a whole slew of ratty old t-shirts on the minimal living thing.

Possessions?  I have spent my adult life sorting out and paring down to a luggage allowance so I could move my family on a plane somewhere.  During one particularly hellacious period, we moved internationally 5 times in 3 years.  The more we moved, the less we had.  I just got sick to death of packing and repacking all that junk.

Food?  We had to shop for our groceries 3 months at a time.  I knew exactly how many teaspoons of baking powder I used each week.  How many cups of flour and cans of tomatoes.  We used powdered milk.  We ate dried Texturized Vegetable Protein in place of meat, and my husband still hasn’t recovered.  By American standards (including our own), we were pretty deprived.  By local standards, we were incredibly rich.  We had a WHOLE CASE OF TUNA in our house!

Media?  Pfft.  I have lived for months at a time with twice-a-month snail mail and a two-way radio as the only contact with the outside world.  We missed out on the entire Clinton administration that way.

Nine years ago, in the middle of this minimalistic serving-others life, I wound up in massive burnout.  These days, after a long, slow recovery, I love the place I have come to.

And I for dang sure am not going to put myself back into crazy land again if I can help it.

I have become highly resistant to rules, requirements, and expectations.  I don’t do extreme.  Because I did it for a long, long time.

I learned that getting rid of the stuff will not, in and of itself, get rid of the crazy.  There is no magic in a lack of stuff.

Because however much stuff I’ve got (or not), I take myself with me.

My self.

The person who’s tried hard and been proud and self-righteous.

The person who’s given up, and been burned out and depressed and hopeless.

So if I have the t-shirt, and have rule phobia, why am I involved with The Summer of 7?

Because now that I live in the land of abundance, I want to be a person who can genuinely care and share, without getting all diagnosable.  I have lived with a little.  I want to think about how to live and love with a lot.

And I am totally up for bouncing this around with the other Summer of 7 bloggers.  My neighborhood Bible study shuts down for the summer, and I need to do something besides eat sno-cones for the next three months.  Maybe examine my life a bit.

So, let the Summer of 7 begin.

For the next week, I will be thinking about dealing with an excess of food, and fasting from the grocery store.  We are just eating whatever is in our house.  I think we have a lot of food and I think it will be easy.  But I could be wrong.  Because I planned this not at all.

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