Good Reads: 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess By Jen Hatmaker
Some of you may remember that I gave myself a book challenge this year to read 26 books I’ve never read before. Since I just turned 26, it seemed like a good number. It also gave me a good two week cushion to read each book. Well folks, given the fact that I procrastinate like it’s my job, I just finished book numero uno. What can I say? I watch a lot of HGTV and the Property Brothers are foxy and distracting.
First up on Kim’s 2014 literary journey through the weird and wonderful (I just made that up) (I have no idea if that pertains to anything regarding my challenge) (Fun fact: I write some things just because they sound cool regardless of pertinence) (What was I saying? Oh yea…)
The first book I’ve completed so far is 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.
Let me just say that I particularly enjoyed this read because Jen Hatmaker and myself seem to have similar thought processes on life, faith, and family. I love when a woman is not afraid to express bold opinions that sometimes go against the grain, with humor and grace to boot. It’s simply refreshing to be invited into the world of someone who is not afraid to be themselves.
Jen Hatmaker wrote 7 as she journeyed through 7 different types of fasts (all pertaining to the number 7) over a period of 7(ish) months with her family and a few faithful friends. They offered up food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress on a proverbial altar in order to become free of the luxurious entanglements of the western world and more like Christ.
Jen said this of her conviction to remove excess from their lives: “Enough with the obscene excess while the rest of the world is burning down outside our windows. Enough with the waste as 25,000 people die today of hunger, while I throw away another pound of food we didn’t get around to eating. Enough with the debt, the spending, the amassing, the irresponsibility, the indulgence, the fake discipleship, the rat race, the hamster wheel, the power and positioning and posturing with a hunger still for more, more, more, all the while pretending to follow a Jesus who didn’t even have a place to lay his head.”
I’ve long felt a need to remove the excess from my life in multiple areas in order to be free from wanting more and spending more while their are people in our own towns who don’t even have hope for more. I don’t believe that God has allowed me to have a job that pays well just so I can “invest” in beautiful things from Home Goods. Yet, that’s what my actions preach when I spend money. Frankly, I’m ashamed of myself.
In dealing with finances, I watch people spend money they don’t have and go broke trying to keep up with Jones’s. I see people who don’t have two nickels to rub together simply because they choose to live above their means. And for what? Respect? Honor? They will lose everything due to irresponsibility or pride when restraint or humility could save them from that fate. It’s heartbreaking to watch yet if I’m not careful, I can fall prey to that mentality as well.
In order to rid my life of excess and irresponsible consumerism, I am going to take the 7 challenge. I don’t know if it was a challenge but I’m making it one. My thoughts on a few of these areas are as follows:
Food: Oh dear, God. This one will be hard. I love food. It’s so good and fun to cook and fun to eat (except for that Ezekiel bread I just ate. My jaw needs a nap). In the food month, Jen’s friends fasted in a really neat way that I won’t tell you about here because you need to read the book. Yea, I’m that friend. Anyway, it was eye-opening and something I’ll try in the future.
Waste: This challenge will be about recycling better, cooking only what I can eat, buying only what I can consume in a timely manner, and being more mindful of reducing my carbon footprint. I already recycle but I need to be more conscientious of who accepts what and where. For instance, the recycling bin close to my house only accepts 1 & 2 plastics while the recycling center across town accepts all plastics. I’m also going to try to recycle more cardboard and paper and by more I mean more than the none I’m recycling right now. This will only add to the consensus of my family and friends that I am in fact a hippie. I think there is a requirement to wear patchouli so that other hippies will be able to recognize their people and I cannot give up my Jessica Simpson Fancy Love for that so I am not nor will I ever be a true hippie. However, I did just dig through the trash to find recyclable items so I could be wrong about that.
Spending: I will be honest and say that I have not been a responsible spender as of late. I cannot keep living paycheck to paycheck if I want to secure a safety net for myself and be generous to others. I’ve formed a lot of bad habits with this one so it will be quite the challenge.
By default, I am not a gentle and sweet person who approaches faith challenges (or anything for that matter) gracefully. This challenge will be interesting, no doubt. I hope you read Jen’s book and see what changes you can make to your life in order to serve God better.
I encourage you to purchase this book from a locally owned bookstore but if that’s not an option you can always Buy 7 on Amazon.