I have had a few people ask me specifics about what is or is not included in the Material Fast, so I thought this post might be a good idea to help better explain the "rules" of the fast.
Rule 1 -- My first rule would have to be that I do not expect my fast, which is a personal choice to me, to apply to anyone else in my life. Jason (my husband) has made it clear that he has no desire to participate, and not because he has an obsession with buying things, but more because he does not seem to have an identity issue the way I apparently do! I say if you see no reason to fast, then you must not have a reason to do it. I, on the other hand, felt like God was calling me to do this, and so here we go.
That being said, Amy and I have both had people tell us they want to join us on this year-long fast. We have a very dear friend, who would admit to you that she wants for nothing, who immediately told us she wanted to fast too in an effort to simplify her life. Which leads me to Rule 2...
Rule 2 -- If you are wanting to participate in this material fast, your reasons or motivations for doing so do not have to be the same as Amy's or mine. I think this is a personal decision, even though we are choosing to publicly discuss it. Which leads to Rule 3...
Rule 3 -- Your rules might not be the same as mine. I had one person tell me that he wanted to fast from buying hunting and fishing equipment, and another suggest she might need to fast from books. Whatever "stuff" you see in your life that might be separating you from God, and from the genuine you, those are the things I would suggest you consider giving up. It could be something different for all of us.
Rule 4 -- My "stuff"! For Amy and me, we decided we had a pretty defined list of things we would forego for 2012. The following items will be off limits: any form of clothing, from underpants and socks to pants and tops, shoes, jewelry, hair brushes, watches, sun glasses, hats, anything that will go on our bodies. Our only exception will be running shoes, which I just had to purchase (thanks to my bad knees) and will likely need to replace once or twice this year depending on the amount of running I do. We will also give up buying any other personal items for ourselves. I had honestly not thought about this until questioned about it, but for me, that will include books or music (even digital). We will allow ourselves to purchase basic care and hygiene items such as shampoo and soap, medicine, and replace the minimum essential makeup (though arguably makeup is not essential).
Rule 5 -- Gifts are allowed. I fully intend to continue purchasing gifts for others, and have already accepted a gift from a friend. However, I do not intend to ask for a specific item as a gift. In other words, if I decide I want something in particular, I will not ask Jason or anyone else to buy it for me. I need to learn to live without the stuff I think I need or want.
There may be more rules -- but that's all I can think of for now!
Though not necessarily a "Rule", we will also strive to reflect on the "why"...why we wanted to do this...why we are so consumed with stuff...why we beat ourselves up...why we let the outside world and material possessions define who we are...why we are not always happy with the reflection in the mirror...and what we can do to change that...to get to the real "me". To answer the question of "who am i" when we look in the mirror. The rules are pretty simple, and though the stated objective is pretty simple too, I have a feeling this journey will be anything but simple...
maybe easy...but not simple.