Tag Archives: Jubilee year

SPACIOUS has launched

JUBILEE YEAR readers, I’m excited to share a new site with you.  I’ll be blogging there from now on.

And the site is the place to go to explore and imagine a bigger life, with more recess and fun, more adventure, and relationships of depth where you are known for who you are and celebrated.  It’s even a forum for asking life’s “What if?” questions.

We plan events; we consult on making your events and workplace more spacious; we write and speak.

SPACIOUS emerged out of a blogpost written on this site a year and a half ago. Read that story in Joey Katona’s biography on our site.

Check us out at: http://spacious.me, and send your friends too!

Everything Has an Impact; I am what I Eat

This is a vulnerable post to write.  And I’m not a big fan of super-intimate, public confession.  Yet for the sake of accountability, which is a big part of what my Jubilee Year project is about, I need to talk about this.

It’s really not right to say that my consumption is a private matter.  I’m talking about food.  I’ve certainly been paying more attention lately to what I eat, where it comes from, the cost of producing it, the cost of transporting it, the ethical side of the purveyors thereof.  I’m making some small changes as a result.

Yet I also need to think more about how much I eat.  Today I am looking over our family budget, paying some attention to where we spend excessively (probably almost everywhere, truth be told), where we downright throw money away (usually because I’ve used my time poorly and use money to get out of a mess I’ve created   (“Oops, no time to make dinner; grab takeout” being the most common version of this tendency).

And as I look at the budget I see two things.  First, I spend more money than anyone else in my family on clothes.  And this is convicting in that I consider myself really “low maintenance” and often brag (to my family’s consternation) over my thrift store finds.  I have a bit (okay a lot) of (apparently falsely placed) pride over being low maintenance, not falling prey to trends, not needing to waste a bunch of money on excessive clothing.  Only I’m the one spending the money on clothes. And the only reason for that is that my weight fluctuates a lot, and I therefore regularly buy clothes — inexpensive ones, mind you, but frequent purchases that add up.

I struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, and yet the extra money spent on my clothes is a pretty big chunk.  And that’s money that could be spent on something better, on someone else, on some of the problems of the world that I regularly bemoan.

And the second thing I discovered is that I spend a lot of money on restaurants.  I knew that.  But I didn’t know quite how much, and you’re not going to find out either (someone would have to lock me up or lecture me).  But the bottom line is that as fun as it is to eat out, as much of a bonding experience as it is to meet a friend or go out with my family, the bonding could happen just as easily at a cheap joint or at a coffee shop or on a hiking trail even (imagine an outing without food!). And yet I spend money in restaurants, even as I try each day to adhere to a limited calorie diet.  I’m shooting myself in the foot — or in the gut.

Ah inconsistency.  You are my constant companion.

Weight problem + restaurant meals = excessive consumption (food and money) that is then exacerbated by the need to spend more money on doctors + medicine + new clothes.

I am what I eat.  I am a product of where I eat it and how much it costs and of the chain reaction set off by the choices I make.  My choices have an impact on others and on the world.  More resources for me = less resources for someone else.

I’m not a math whiz but I do see some opportunities for “new math” (< for me = > for someone else; < less directed to my girth = > for my brain and heart to direct elsewhere).

Accountability is hard.

Guilty Pleasures

I read an interesting article today in The Washington Post called “Grappling with a wealth of guilt: Young heirs seek moral balance between inherited windfalls, social responsibilities.”   Here’s the Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/19/AR2009111902137.html

It resonated with me because it raised a topic that I’ve written about here.  Here’s the line that got me: “Burke Stansbury, 33, a nonprofit administrator who inherited $1 million in stock three years ago, opened up about how his newborn’s breathing problems were forcing him to reconsider how much of his fortune he should use for his family and how much to give away.”

OF COURSE he is thinking about this.  And any parent would.  And no one would fault him (or should, in my opinion).

I wrote two posts about this; here’s a link to help you find one, which can lead you to the other: https://jubileeyear.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/children-are-the-exception/

I was taking exception with my own inclination to use money to spoil my children (who do not want to be spoiled, thank you very much), money that could otherwise truly solve problems or address needs for others.  This is a totally different thing than using our own money to meet the serious needs of our own children.  Like Stansbury would naturally be inclined to do.

So wouldn’t it be cool if we would use our big bucks to help other people’s kids with their breathing problems? Stansbury sounds like the sort of guy who would.

This sure relates to the notion that we don’t have adequate healthcare in America until everyone has adequate healthcare.  I want my government to use the wealth it has to take care of everybody’s newborns, and toddlers, and teenagers, and parents and grandparents.

We’ll probably all need to give twice to see such things happen.  And we should.

Children are the Exception

The Economist had an interesting section in its April 4th to 10th, 2009 issue on “the rise and fall of the wealthy.”  In one of the articles, “Bling on a budget, Designer belts are being tightened,” I was interested in this:  “…the wealthy are spending 30% less than before, the sole exception being items for their children.” 

This bears out in my life.  It’s the last thing to go.  Or theoretically it is because I’ve never gotten to that point.  I always “make it work” for my kids.

Which doesn’t necessarily (or likely) “work” for them long-term.

I wrote about this in a post on vomitoriums: https://jubileeyear.wordpress.com/page/2/

And I’m more convicted than ever.  And practically paralyzed in moving into new patterns.  Is it “fear of man?”  Is it apathy, avoidance of conflict, control? 

Hmmm….

Where the Rubber Meets the Road — or Idolatry

Conviction is a powerful thing.  I’ve heard it said that condemnation causes us to feel bad about ourselves and to feel hopeless whereas conviction is a cleansing feeling, invoking a sense that “yes, something needs changing, and changing now, but it’ll all be ok” in the end.  It’s a sense that the Holy Spirit is nudging us to change but for our own good — and we’ll be glad.

So I have a love/hate relationship with conviction.  And yet this whole jubilee project is based on conviction — the conviction that I have a lot of “mean to’s” and “will somedays” in my life and that I’d rather have a general inclination towards obeying, quickly, where I feel Scripture leads me.

Yet 15 days into Jubilee Year,  I can see what my idols are.  Surprise!  The same thing they’ve long been — my children. Because I realize that as much as I want to act on what I learn this year and take seriously the opportunities to change, I’ve got an imaginary line in my head when it comes to forcing my changes on my children.  I want to spoil them, say yes to them, not inflict hardship on them.  I want to do the same for my husband — protect him from my choices and conviction.  “It’s not their fault that my thinking is changing.  They didn’t sign up for this,” I reason.  And there may be some truth to that… but not enough that I shouldn’t at least raise the questions and see how they do feel about joining me in effecting changes.

If I believe this project is important for me (perhaps no one else in the world would be called to the same, exact things), then it’s only because I believe God would have me live differently.  And if He cares about how I live, and I’m not in sync with His concerns yet, then it does matter how I respond.  And if it matters how I respond, then it matters in all cases how I respond. And if I hold back when it comes to my children having to be affected, then it’s because I am putting them before God.

And that’s an idol.  The rubber has met the road.  Whatever that means, technically.  We’re there.  

Convicted.

Jubilee Year

January dawns and I’ve been waiting for the Jubilee Year.  Turning 49 in August but am using the calendar year for my project of exploration of how I could move from good intentions to real sabbath, in terms of giving a rest to many things that are me and not God, striving and not resting, sowing without reaping.  Sometimes my life is a chasing after the wind, as Ecclesiastes says.  And I am ready to lie fallow, to have the ultimate sabbath.  But as the calendar page flips over, I don’t really know what my Jubilee will include.  

I’d wanted to sort it out and I’d even made a little notebook with twelve tidy tabs for twelve different emphases of the Jubilee year.  Only I don’t know what they should be.  Or even where to start.  But it seems like a good sign that I have a houseguest who plays the trumpet, the symbol of Jubilee.  My only trumpet-playing friend shows up on January 1 of the Jubilee Year. I’m delirious.

Prayer… that’s it.  More prayer.  Prayer with greater expectation.