"Done. In less than 2 days. 220 pages. Bam! Now, for some of you, that may be the easiest thing in the world. But I have 3 small children, homeschool, a TV addiction, and an inability to read more than 20 pages a day if the book isn't absolutely captivating. But, thanks to @jenhatmaker that's what this book was! Captivating. But this book also made me harbor some hate for Jen. She has a way of making you laugh until you wet yourself and then convicting you until you're on your knees. Darn it Jen Hatmaker!"That was my post on Instagram this morning. (You can follow me @theproverbs31mama. You can follow Jen @jenhatmaker .) Seriously, I never finish a book that quickly. I just don't have the time, the energy, the mental faculty, the drive. I have friends that read 6 books a week. I look at them like they've got an alien growing out of their head. I. Can't. Do. It. Oh crap! I can't use that excuse anymore! Once again, thanks Jen Hatmaker! *#@!!(*
I can't tell you how much I loved this book. I can't put that love into words. Its indescribable. (And that's quite a statement coming from someone who talks ALL THE TIME. For real. If no one is there, I'll just talk to myself. No prob. So you can see why my calling this book indescribable is pretty amazing.) Jen Hatmaker was honest, sincere, and funny - REALLY FUNNY. That's part of what made this book so "unputdownable." (If you're a blogger, you're allowed to make up your own words. Its in the handbook.)
So let me tell you a little about what she did and why it has affected me so much. Jen (I call her by her first name now. I feel like we're best friends.) took 7 areas of life that she felt were just "too much" - 7 areas that she could stand to "fast" in. (Jen talks a lot about the biblical concept of fasting. Her take on it, and her description of it, are outstanding.) The 7 areas Jen chose were: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. Then, for one month each, she fasted in one of those areas. In month one, she ate only 7 foods - all month long, in month two she wore the same 7 items of clothing all month long. In month three, she gave away 7 of her family's possessions - EVERY DAY. You see where this is going. It was shocking. It was CRAZY. It was a phenomenal read! By the end I wanted to change the way I eat, change the way I spend money, recycle, plant a garden, feed the homeless, start celebrating Shabbat, begin practicing the Seven Sacred Pauses, take my shoes off and leave them at the altar. (If you are unsure what any of those phrases refer to, you'll just have to read the book!!!)
What makes this such a great read is Jen's honesty and humor. She didn't approach this experience like some "holier than thou, professional Christian" on a mission to make everyone "conform to her image of Christianity. She was humble. She said repeatedly, this is crazy. I know its crazy. And I'm gonna mess up. And she was honesty about her mess-ups. - The time she ate chicken salad sandwiches at a church retreat (a food fast no-no with their mayo and other ingredients) and enjoyed every bite. The time she and her husband used 2 cars - even though they'd vowed to only use one during their month on waste. The time she almost bought coffee at the airport (even though it wasn't an approved food) and she had to call her friends to talk her down off the ledge. As Jen would say, she let her "freak flag fly!" And she was willing to let the whole world see it!
This is a great book! Whether you feel like you have too much - too much stuff, too much food, too much stress - or you just want to read a great book that will challenge you in your Christian walk AND challenge you to control your bladder, this is the book for you! I'd like to leave you with a couple of quotes from the book (both from the month of the food fast). First, a thought provoking quote:
"Admittedly, the spiritual waters were stagnant today. I was distracted by the mechanics, the launching. I struggled to find a spiritual rhythm. Ingredients and headaches sidetracked me. Perhaps this is the philosophy behind the biblical fasts of three days, seven days, and forty days in the Word. Maybe we need more than one day to push through the inauguration onto the business of communion. After the shine wears off, the real spiritual work begins."And now a little of Jen's brutal honesty - brutal and hilarious:
"I should tell you that every time I'm in Sprouts, I've put my nose directly on the glass of bulk coffee beans and inhaled like a deranged weirdo. I mean, deeply inhaled. For at least ten seconds. Nose to the glass. The only possible way I could act more disturbing is if I ground up some beans, made a line with a razor blade, and snorted it in the middle of aisle 9."
You can purchase your copy of 7, by Jen Hatmaker, HERE.
I received a copy of this book, free of charge, from B&H Publishing, in exchange for my honest review.