Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jen Hatmaker

I started reading Jen Hatmaker's latest book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" yesterday.

I love Jen Hatmaker. So much in fact that I Facebook stalked her and can now say we are friends (on Facebook only, but who really cares when today she said on my status update I was, and I quote, "hilarious.")

I only really discovered her and her books at the end of last year. It all started when I picked up her first book "A Modern Girls Guide to Bible Study." Let me tell you, if you need some help boosting your Bible study time, this is your book. So good.

I then devoured "Interrupted," and then "Ms Understood," while in Queensland, and then had a very anxious wait for a whole week before "7" arrived on my doorstep.

Then, as I said, I dove headfirst into it yesterday. So far I have gotten throught the first 4 months of the experiment and let me tell you, wow.

If you haven't heard anything about "7" (are you living under a rock?!) let me enlighten you.

"7" is Jen's seven month journey of how she identified seven areas of excess in her, and her family's, life and made (you guessed it) seven choices to fight back against them. The book is really written as Jen's daily journal throughout the process and is broken down into seven chapters, one for each of the areas of excess she identified - food, clothing, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress.

Month one was hilarious to read as Jen shared about her 30 days of eating only seven foods: chicken, eggs, whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados and apples. She was hating on the poor, innocent chicken breasts.

Month two was an interesting read. Only seven clothing items (underwear not included) was she allowed to choose from. For 30 days. Jen stated at one point that she quite enjoyed having such a limited selection of clothing to choose from, that it was slightly freeing. I totally get this. I loved living out of a suitcase for the 7 weeks we were in America. I nearly flipped my brain when I stood in front of my closet trying to choose an outfit for my first day back at work from the more than adequate supply of options.

No clothing options - no problem. At least not for me. Or Jen Hatmaker apparently.

Month three is where I really started to get into this book. Possessions. Oh man. I have been thinking about cleaning out all the closets in our house for months. I just cannot get over how much stuff (read, junk) we have accumulated in only three years of marriage. Ridiculous. So in month three Jen aimed to purge 7 items every day from her home. According to her maths that was 210 items. She did it easily. "Giving away is somehow sacred, connecting to the sacrificial heartbeat of Jesus. It's as transformative for the giver as a blessing for the receiver when God told us to give, I suspect He had spiritual formation in mind as much as meeting needs."

Month four was all about reducing the amount of time the Hatmaker family (three kids included) spent utilisng media. TV, computers, game consoles, the internet, Facebook etc. Her kids really, really loved this. So did her husband. Actually I think that they did by the end of it. They spent more time doing things together as a family, taking walks, playing games and cooking together. "The dangerous part of our social media and technologically saturated world is not it's existance but what it distracts us from." So true.

I have only just made a start on month five, so I will be back with more later in the week!

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