Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{UPDATED} 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess. My Review/Takeaway

Well... I've already updated my thoughts.  After sitting on it for more than 6 hours, I made more sense of my thoughts :)  So.  I feel two overwhelming feelings after reading 7 (by Jen Hatmaker):  Challenged & Peaceful.  We'll get to that.

I'm totally privileged.  I realize this.  I'm thankful for this.  I understand that it places a responsibility on me to use such material blessing for HIS Kingdom.  The problem lies in the fact that I have just felt lost when it comes to actually doing so  I mean, sure, we use the blessing of our home to invite our friends to congregate and spend quality time together.  We are raising little humans and trying to teach them God's love and Jesus' salvation so that THEY will be His hands & feet.  We give to our church.  Blah blah blah... but I haven't been able to shake my dissatisfaction with it all.  Jen's book, "7", confronts this thought process big time!  It's literally the exact words/thoughts/actions God has been needing for me to see.  He's been nudging my heart forEVER, but I just haven't quite gotten it.  You see... I'm a big time thinker.  I'm constantly creating ideas in my head of how to love on my neighbors, how to POUR out my heart & my possessions to those who with less.  Orphans.  Widows.  Homeless.  Poor.  Captives to all things (material, emotional, physical...).  These thoughts are AWESOME.  Seriously... AWESOME.  The problem is that they never come to fruition.  I've realized that I am NOT a doer.  I'm actually super embarassed to admit it, but I follow through on about 1.7% of the ideas that I create in my mind.  The whole idea of "7" is DOING.  Instead of thinking and wishing and praying and asking and hoping, Jen Hatmaker DOES.  She identifies God's voice in her soul, calling her to SO much more than this "normal" life she and her family live.  There is unrest in her soul and instead of just asking God for perfect clarity or for an exactly laid out path to follow, she ACTS on that call from The Holy Spirit.  OH MY GOODNESS.  What an amazing idea right?  She shares her journey in 7 "chapters" of super entertaining, incredibly convicting, and totally REAL commentary on the experience.  She shares her thoughts when times are great...when the Lord is just giving her all kinds of awesome wisdom...annnnd she totally shares her heart/mind when times are NOT so awesome.  When the burden of being ANYTHING but "normal" gets a little bit more uncomfortable.   It's so REAL, which makes it SO perfect :)

Jen's hilarrrrious writing is seriously entertaining.  She's got you feeling like you're listening to your best friend relay an amazingly dramatic story, and before you know it, she's laid this massive chunk of wisdom on you.  But her humility is just like...seeping out from every little word.  I'm not sure how that works, but she allows God to just share His awesome truths without getting what many people call "preachy" and "arrogant".  SO super cool.

As someone who forgets about 90% of the details of movies/books/stories the second I've completed them, I am left with some intense takeaway from this book.
  1. When I hear God speak or feel The Holy Spirit move, the time for action is RIGHT at that moment.  No more worrying about the logistics (within reason, of course.  I DO have 2 toddlers & a hubs to consider) or about making someone feel badly. I trust that God will continue with His feedback through my actions.  I mean... Duh.  {#challenged}
  2. Feeling sad for, praying for, sharing information about people who are placed on my heart (i.e. the poor, trafficking victims, friends who are being beaten DOWN by satan's paralyzing lies, etc...) is NOT enough.  Thinking about writing an encouraging note doesn't count when I don't actually write it.  Talking about orphans may not benefit them one bit if I don't actually GIVE some of the massive amounts of what I have to offer TO them.  Thinking how cool it would be to take a bunch of sandwiches to some homeless people doesn't make sandwiches magically appear in their laps.  Weird.  {#challenged}
  3. I realize that I am who I am.  I was created exactly as God meant to create me.  My heart is moved by certain things for a reason.  When I feel a certain stirring or nudging or calling... it's okay if a million other people I know are doing it and it's okay if NO ONE I know is doing it.  When I'm in tune with The Holy Spirit there is no wrong move.  Discernment is SUPER important, but waiting for and obsessing over discernment can just be a distraction.  {#peaceful}
  4. I want Jen Hatmaker to be my friend.  Although I can tell that I would be willingly letting a convicting force into my life, I want it nonetheless.  I want it for the laughs.  And I want it for the un-sugar-coated truths she has to share.  
  5. I will tell everyone about this book.  It's my God-given duty :)  God's word if obviously the ultimate and absolute source of truth, but Jen offers what wisdom He has given her in a ridiculously relevant way.  Just what I've been needing!
A few of my fave quotes from the book.  They probably don't say a lot standing alone, but in the context of Jen's book, they were basically a dagger in my heart or an intensely illuminated lightbulb!
  • "May my privileges continue to drive me downward to my brothers and sisters without."
  • "When jars of clay remember they're jars of clay...the treasure within gets all the glory."
  • "What if we changed our label from 'consumer' to 'steward'?  Would it change the way we shop?  Think?"
As a girl who knows and is EXCITED about the fact that this world is SO not my home, I still feel this pressure to fit in, to be relatable, to be careful about alienating people.  A question I often ask myself is, "How can a "normal" person live RADICALLY for God?" Um... I am realizing more and more how off-point this question is.  There was a verse that changed my life when I was 14 years old.  "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. " {Gal 1:10}  As I sat in the gorrrgeous Rocky Mountains, God totally called me out on this one.  My thought process changed a bit after that. But, obviously, I need to be called out again.  My concerns with maintaining normalcy are proof of that.  Through "7" God showed me that we are called to act.  When He nudges our hearts, we don't just change our mindset.  We change our ACTIONS.  Our thoughts matter, but they don't change the world.  Thinking about love doesn't increase The Kingdom.  Acting on love does.

Really cool book.  Seriously.  Read it.  God will do some major conversing with you.


    BrittneyNicole said...

    wow... loving this. loving what you learned. loving the concept of the book. i am for sure going to grab myself a copy. thanks, rox. love your heart.

    Tori said...

    God is doing something amazing in your heart. And your gift is definitely to share how you're being convicted. I love to read your thoughts, so real, true and raw. Thanks for sharing. You totally have me sold on this book. #3 above is TOTALLY me.... as is a lot of what you said. Can't wait to get a copy and ask God to change me just as He is doing for you.