The goal when I started the book was to try the experiment for myself as I read along.
Wrong idea. Epic Fail.
We all do this, don't we?
We see how God is moving in someones life, and it's so amazing, we want it.
It took me a while in the beginning to remember that comparison really is the thief of Joy.
Trying to emulate Jen Hatmaker's experience was exhausting and unenjoyable.
So very 7th grade.
I decided to take the better part of this past year just taking in the whole book.
I'd read a chapter and take notes all along the margins, then I'd put it down to chew on it.
I didn't want to try to live out her convictions, yet I kept finding myself trying to.
A big freedom for me in reading this book actually was the realization that our lives can't be traced or copied. I should know that right?
I think I mostly do know that, but it's too easy to read books like this one and assume we're all suppose to be doing the same thing.
What we're all called to do is Love God and Love Others as ourselves.
How that plays out in each of our lives can look radically different.
One book and ten months later, I think I finally got it.
Thank you Jesus and Jen Hatmaker.
After all these months, this book falls into my "must read" book list.
Whether you do what the Hatmaker family did with the 7 categories or not,
you'll enjoy how it challenges you to think beyond how you're currently doing life.
It'll be just the "kick in the pants" you might need to break up with some of those areas in your life that are nagging you deep down.
Now, I won't lie.
There were times when I thought the book was frustrating me, but after I finished it, I was keenly aware that it was ME who was frustrating me.
...me and my "eager beaver, copy what everyone else is doing so I can feel good about myself, recovering performance-based follower of Jesus" self.
Because I spent the first three chapters trying to do it exactly like the Hatmaker family was doing it, I will say that I wish she would have put some of what she wrote at the end of the book at the beginning. I could have used the reminder early on that...
"self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died to make us righteous. Guilt is not Jesus' medium. He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again. He finished that discussion on the cross."
Jen expresses her struggle with this in every chapter of the entire book, and it's refreshing.
She's ridiculously funny when she openly shares the hard parts for her, which made me feel a little more normal.
When reading a book like this one, our humanness vacillates between desiring to take on the challenge of a more radical life to feeling like crud for not being able to fully live it out.
This book consistently did two things....
It reminded me that apart from him I can do nothing, and it repeatedly turned my heart's attention back to the cross.
Fasting is good for our souls. It's uncomfortable and hard. It reveals the condition of our hearts. It makes us ever-aware of the greed in us. It also was a good reminder that I really am absolutely incapable of everything without his help.
Have you read it? Think you want to?
Are you making a summer reading list?
Spill it. I'm making mine and I need some suggestions.