I'll be the first to admit--I'm materialistic. Very much so, actually. I love a good Tory Burch shoe, my Louis Vuitton bag is my baby, and I love to shop. My closet is full of clothes I don't wear and even clothes with tags still on them. My pantry has more food than I want to admit, yet I still say with dramatics "there's nothing to eat in this house!" And let's not even get to how much I use social media. So when I heard other friends mentioning Jen Hatmaker's book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I was hesitant to ever read it. Because I knew it would strike an uncomfortable cord in me, and I wasn't sure I wanted to go there.
I heard a few friends mention it casually and then talked in depth with a friend who had just finished the book, and I kept feeling the tug to pick it up myself. So, to Amazon.com I went, and bought the book, and then it sat on my coffee table for 2 months, staring me in the face.
We live in a world where we think we don't have enough when reality, we have more than anyone ever should have. It's about keeping up with the Joneses and I know I've fallen into that trap, and that trap is hard to get out of once you've fallen in it. I overindulge in every way possible, and I've really been struggling with the Lord calling me to simplify.
First reason you should read this? Jen Hatmaker is quite possibly the funniest Christian ever. I love her humor and her dry wit--she seems sarcastic and still kind, just the type of person I love to be around. She's real and genuine and shows that imperfections are a part of life. She's so easy to read.
The premise of 7 is this: Jen and her family decided to, in 7 months, tackle 7 areas of their life that she felt were in excess: food, clothing, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. Each month focused on a different topic, narrowing it down to the number 7: only eat seven foods for the month, wear seven items of clothing, spend money in seven places, eliminate the use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for a month, adopt seven green habits, and observe seven ways to reduce stress.
Sounds great in theory, right? Seems like that could solve all the world's problems.
But the catch? It takes serious commitment. I think the world we live in is a world full of fads. It's always about the latest trend or hip diet. And I think the whole "simplify" theme has become quite popular recently. Being green, eating clean, and minimalism shows up everywhere. But the thing that is so different about Jen and her story is the reason behind her whole project--she wanted to simplify her life all for God's glory. What a beautiful idea, right?
One of my favorite verses (and really, life motto) is from John 3:30..."He must become greater, I must become less." I so want a life that is empty of the things that don't matter--social media, the latest shopping trend, wastefulness with food, etc--and full of the things that do--family, true friends, Jesus Christ.
This book is definitely not a "how to" by any means; it really reads like a diary and takes you day by day through her journey, the ups and the downs. It didn't make me want to jump up and only wear 7 items of clothing or stop buying food. But it did teach me small ways to reduce the overindulgence, cut back on the waste, let go of the greed and materialism. Disconnect. Get rid of stress. And I think that even small changes make way for more of Him.
Sometimes, you just need a reminder to step back and bask in all of the riches we really have, and this book did just that. It made me realize just how blessed we really are.
Less of me, and more of Him. That's what it's about. Xoxo