Dear Fellow Human Beings,
I have had the pleasure of reading Jen Hatmaker‘s new book, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” If I could sum it all up in just one word I would loudly proclaim, “BuyItReadItYou’llAbsolutelyLoveItIPromise!!!!”
7 chronicles the seven month social and spiritual experiment that Jen Hatmaker convinced her dear family to participate in. Here’s the jest of the experiment: reduce “seven areas of excess down to just seven choices in seven months.” The Hatmaker clan committed to the following for thirty consecutive days per category: eating only seven foods, wearing only seven items of clothes, giving away seven possessions (yes, daily!), cutting out seven forms of media, spending money at only seven places, engaging seven habits for a greener life, and taking seven sacred pauses (aka, praying).
Extreme? Perhaps. But when you think about how much stuff you consume, engage in, waste, and stress out about in the course of a day, it’s really just a welcome break from foolishness. At least that’s how I see it.
I consider myself a pretty frugal, level-headed, practical Christian chick. I don’t like spending money, I hate shopping for clothes (shoes are another story), I tithe regularly, I’m the wife of a church planting Pastor (aka, I’m the Minister of Making Ends Meet), I facilitate monthly women’s workshops, and I manage millions of dollars for a living. Well, woopty-freakin-doo (pardon my French dressing :-D)! 7 has thrown a necessary monkey wrench in my practical little world. When I merely think of all the stuff just hanging in my closet… wait, let me count it… *4 minutes and 24 seconds later*… I have 363 items just hanging in my closet! That doesn’t include any folded items, shoes, handbags, belts, anything in need of dry-cleaning/alterations, or the bag of stuff waiting to be given away to goodwill (mind you, I just gave away like 5 bags of stuff a few months ago). That’s a lot of stuff! Why do I need all of that? Truth is, I don’t. I can’t possibly wear all my clothes at the same time (and look sane, that is). 7 causes me to confront why I’ve been holding on to this stuff in the first place and it challenges me to become a consumer of godliness versus gluttony. Clearly, I am guilty of storing up treasures on earth. Surely, I can lighten my load while blessing someone else who really needs my stuff. Huge epiphany from just one chapter!
A few more personal revelations:
- Just because I can have it (whatever “it” is) doesn’t mean I should have it.
- Not buying things I don’t need does more good for God’s green earth than recycling. Better to be proactive than reactive!
- 25,000 people die every day of starvation while most of us Americans enjoy “extravagantly wasteful” lifestyles. I’ve been a part of this problem.
- A church that feasts on consumerism with no regard for fasting is leading its parishioners to spiritual death, and ultimately, the death of the Church. “The Gospel calls for a complete surrender” of ourselves, not a complete indulgence in more stuff. We got it twisted.
7, in all it’s splendor, is a wonderfully written and HAAA-lariously honest account of Jen’s a-ha moments and minor meltdowns during her seven month “mutiny against excess.” It is in no way self-righteous, demeaning, or a call to live like paupers wearing Jesus sandals on dirty, ash-infested feet. It’s not a how-to book for holiness or a recipe for world domination. What it is, however, is an in-depth look into the life of an everyday, thirty-something year old Christian wife, mother, and friend who provides non-stop comedic relief as she endeavors to be a better steward of her resources and ultimately become more Christlike. Regardless of your age, gender, political or religious affiliation, I promise you will want to be a better human being after indulging in 7‘s 220 pages of awesomeness. You need this book in your life. It’ll rock your world and you’ll be glad about it. It’s a powerful testimony of discovering what it really means to be a child of God. . I’m in the process of figuring out exactly where to begin my own marvelous mutiny against excess so that I can look less like me and more like Christ.
WARNING: do NOT read this book before going to bed. You won’t be able to put it down, you’ll oversleep in the morning, and then you’ll kick yourself for not taking the day off to bask in its glory. Seriously. It’s just that good. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Thank me later. You’re welcome.
Would you like your own FREE copy of 7 to have, hold, love, and cherish? Well, I’m giving a copy away to one lucky subscriber of Practically Yours! How do you enter the give-away? Just 2 steps to enter: 1) Subscribe to this blog (if you’re not already subscribed), and 2) drop me a few lines in the comment section (below) to indicate your interest in the book. That’s it!