One of the books I read while in Germany was 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Ladies, this is a must read. I couldn’t put it down! I laughed, I cried and I’m still chewing on its truth a month and a half later.
In her hysterical & straight-up-real way Jen writes of her experience purging herself from the excess of 21st century America. She focuses on seven different topics, for seven months, to not only get rid of overindulgence, materialism and greed, but also to see Jesus through it and see how to better care for others. For instance, the first month she fasts- she chooses 7 foods that she can eat all month and that’s it. We’re not talking “pizza” as one of those foods, but more like “wheat bread”. Another month she chooses only 7 pieces of clothing to wear all month. 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, a sweater, and boots. And it’s not like she’s not going anywhere all month! She has speaking engagements, various kid activities, etc. And my favorite chapter was the last one- she chooses 7 times a day to stop, read her bible, and pray. To give thanks to the Lord, to rely on Him in the midst of stress or tiredness- to get in the practice of acknowledging Him and being near.
And so the chapters go. And as they go, Jen weaves truths about Jesus,what He’s teaching her, and about the life he’s calling us to.
Okay, if I’m honest, I’ll tell you that I picked up this book at Barnes and Noble a year ago, but put it immediately down because I didn’t want to live like that. I didn’t want to feel convicted to only eat 7 foods all month- give up coffee!? How could I survive!? (Okay, yes, I’m addicted. I admit it…as I take my last sip from my mug…) But then I started to read some of Jen’s blogs, and knew I loved her. So I picked up the book, and I can honestly say it is changing my heart, and my outlook on life. In my top 3 books of the year for sure. And here’s the thing that I so appreciated about Jen- she doesn’t write this so you feel like you have to do the same thing. She simply wants to share her experience, in hopes that it moves us to see life differently, to put off the excess we live in daily, and to live more like Jesus- however that looks to each one of us. One things I’ve come away with is thinking of others much more. For instance, we just moved, and with moving, you realize how many things you have. Ugh. So much. (You know the Bethke’s got 33 boxes of books! And we’re only in our 20’s…must.stop.buying.books.) And things you have that you don’t use. Instead of just keeping it, or throwing it away, if it’s usable- I started to put it to the side to give away to someone who needed it. Or taking the extra two seconds to recycle to take care of our earth because it’s actually important. Those are small things, but they’re a start.
My synopsis simply doesn’t do this book justice. You have to read it yourself. Be encouraged, be challenged, and let me know what you think!
Here’s a link to Jen Hatmaker’s blog– you will love her.