Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Impressed series. Be sure to follow the rest of the series HERE.
I was so impressed by Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess that I immediately started reading her prequel Interrupted on a trendy train trip to visit my sister in San Diego. During which, some girl projectile vomits at the 4 person table I’m sitting at, 30 minutes in. My choices? Sit in disgust like the girl across from me, or use my teacher skills of bus surfing to the front to get the “vomit kit.” I chose to stop reading about Jesus on my iPad and tried living like Jesus with my hands. In case you were wondering, there was no magic vomit kitty litter, only a ziplock of wet wipes and half used roll of paper towels. “Disgusted girl” and I individually opened about 400 of them. I was already so interrupted by Hatmaker’s heart for Jesus that the only reason I didn’t give this girl the shirt off my back was because it was the only shirt I had on. Fast forward some insane season of life and I end up moving to the Austin, Texas. 7 is considered to be a love letter to this city kept weird by its own motto.
Full disclosure…at this point I did have folks legitimately concerned I had become a “Stalkermaker.” That is one part, “Jen, will you be my Obi Wan Kenobi?” + one part, “I promise I don’t get paid to promote her work. The proof is in my bank account.” I remember taking a deep breath when I visited her “hippie granola church” and chanting to myself, “You are not a stalker if she knows your name.” I walked right up and surprisingly did not blubber my fandom all over her. What came out of my mouth was that women in my book club were not asking older women to be their mentors, but instead asking, “Will you be my hippie?” I told her of how we were all gutting our closets and homes to give our clutter as treasure to low income school sales. I told her of how her writing was the catalyst that softened husbands’ hearts toward adoption.
I was desperately looking for those who shared my heart and passion for doing the faith in a real, raw way. I wanted to feel part of a movement that was pure and simple again.
For you who have not experienced 7, Hatmaker radically simplifies 7 areas of her life by documenting the tangible things she has done to fast in the categories of food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. I’m not going to tell you how radical she gets, but you will absolutely revel in the anecdotes. The reason 7 “impressed me” was that I read it when I was throwing my hands up in the air in regards to The Church. It had become too big, too impersonal, too programmed. I longed for the days of rusted chairs and impromptu missions trips. I was desperately looking for those who shared my heart and passion for doing their faith in a real, raw way.
I wanted to feel part of a movement that was pure and simple again. I was rescued by 7 right when I needed it because of the pure and simple message of JESUS. Though hilarity ensues throughout the book, your tears are of joy and for injustice. Her message catalogues the doing (for us box checkers), but actually speaks more of the abiding. The doing comes as an overflow of that abiding.
A major tendency when you have “gone to church as a fetus” (my absolute favorite Hatmakerism) is becoming apathetic at some point. This results in us preacher’s kids who sign up to run slides and lyric transparencies because we don’t want to perform worship for the congregation anymore. We become servants without servant’s hearts. All my tension, sackcloth rending, and swirling theorizing found its solace in making a to do list out of this book. I opted not to just read it, but do it as well.
The ripple effect is in every tangible closet cleaning, garden growing, unplugging, simplifying act when you are truly humbly submitted to Christ.
Again, Jesus is the glue that holds all this together and truly why 7 spoke to my heart. Suddenly, things were sparking spiritually for me and not just because of my love of checking boxes and acting out Jesus with more than my words. Her anecdotes, which are birthed from scriptural directives (so key), gave me back that pure, simple, raw faith without having to go to a foggy, laser-lighted youth camp (AND I don’t have to do those improv nights I so regret now)! My central gauge for spiritual growth (because I overanalyze EVERYTHING) is in the question, “Am I humbly submitted to Christ?” Hatmaker asks this question with war paint on in 7. The ripple effect is in every tangible closet cleaning, garden growing, unplugging, simplifying act when you are truly humbly submitted to Christ. Don’t just read 7, but let it impress upon you the fact that our hearts matter, and how we live out our faith in transparency to the world around us speaks volumes to not only the least, but the unchurched and overchurched. Just make sure to read every single book and article she references in 7 with a tissue for those tears of holy discontent and joy.
Interested in reading 7? Check it out HERE!
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