the one where Jen Hatmaker might be ruining my life

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Or maybe it’s not ruined at all. Maybe it’s better. The next few months will tell.

It all started with this Angie Smith post. I thought “Jen Hatmaker! I love her!” I read Interrupted a couple years ago, and it was fantastic. After the Airport is one of my favorite posts on adoption EVER. Her twitter feed is hi-larious. I might be a bit of a cyber-stalker. It’s fine.

I dutifully ordered the book (as all good blog readers should do when something is recommended). The subject matter appealed to me, but I thought that it would just be a nice how-to book about stuff I know and try to practice because I’ve been raised this way already. (shout out to the Mennonites!) It turned out to be so much more than that.

I read the whole book, but by the end of chapter 1, I knew that this book was going to radically impact my life. I don’t typically do everything books say to do. In fact, 7 didn’t really SAY to do anything. It just hit me in the gut at this place where God was already working. These are things I’d been struggling with for months, without the words to express.

Let’s back up. We’re not really all that wealthy, by American standards. We have debt. Too much of it. We buy too much stuff. Way too much stuff. We manufacture too much much trash. Unbelievable amounts of trash leave our home every week. I have too many clothes. And simultaneously, I feel like I don’t have enough. I spend too much time on frivolous pursuits, and I tended to prioritize everything over time spent with God. Often my days ran from morning to night, and I couldn’t remember when I paused for anything of significance. There are people dying in this world. Dying in my very own neighborhood, and I’m so concerned over what I’m wearing to this wedding next month.

So this year is about me eliminating the excess in my life. There’s more of it than I want to admit. I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others. I have less stuff than this person. We have a smaller house than everyone else we know. We live on less money than these other people. Confession? Even while reading this book, I was thinking, “There’s no way we would ever be described as upper middle class. We clearly have less stuff than the Hatmakers.” On and on and on. Forgetting that my call is not based on what ANYONE else is doing. My allegiance to one person and one person only. What is God calling me to do? I know the answer already. It’s to be obedient. This book happened to call me a bit deeper into that obedience.

I’m in the middle of month 1. My challenges will look a bit different than Jen’s. We’re not the same person. We don’t have the same specific calling. (I also don’t have the possibility of a book contract, so the motivation is possibly slightly less.) This is just about me and God. What I can tell you so far is that I am being changed. It’s been good. Hard. So very, very hard. But good.

More on month 1 later….

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