So I did something yesterday that I really, really should not have done. After being told to read the book about a year ago, I finally was in the same 10 foot radius as the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker.
Jen is married, has kids, lives in Texas, is Christian, etc. etc. She probably doesn’t live life all that differently from us, sans the February flip-flop wearing. A few years ago she started feeling convicted about several idols in her life: acceptance, approval, materialism, consumerism, and more. Based off the experiment of a friend, Seven was born. The following is a description taken from her website:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
I read a lot of books, okay, but it’s more of an escape. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I read. If there’s a problem I can’t figure out, I read. If I can’t sleep, I read. I devour them with little thought to what the implications are of having read the book.
Seven, though, is absolutely wrecking me.
With a kitchen full of straight-from-the-registry dishes and a household full of more stuff than we will ever need or use (ALREADY. WE JUST STARTED LIFE HERE!), I am enthralled by and engrossed in the day to day purging Jen does of everything that is not Jesus. If you could boil Seven down to a sentence, it would be: Having less of everything that is not Jesus so that He has more room to work. And, honestly, do I really need five boxes of hamburger helper? (Where did those even come from? I’m still not sure).
Food, clothes, possessions, waste, media, stress, and shopping. A month devoted to each category. Yes, I’ll admit, it’s one of those reads where you think, Yes! I love it when people do insane things and then write a book so I can read how weird they are. But this? This is just so weird I’m thinking of trying it myself. I’m down with eccentricity as long as the end game is less me and more Him. Stay tuned.
In the mean time, get yourself a copy of this book. Check the library first. If they don’t have it, ask your friends if they have it. If they don’t, buy it, but then give it to a friend afterwards. Some of the biggest themes of the book so far are sharing and not spending unnecessarily. Have a prom dress? Recycle it to someone who could wear it again! Those jeans you never wear in the back of your closet? There’s probably a women’s shelter nearby that could use some free clothes. The clothes on your back, the things in your home, heck, the rooms in your home–it can all be shared. So let’s start experimenting!
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’—when you already have it with you.”
— Proverbs 3:27-28