Monday, 4 November 2013
I’ve never read a book like this before
I read a book that changed me.
I found out about 7 from Instagram. At least 4 people I follow posted a photo of it and wrote brief somethings about how amazing it was. I reserved it from the Library. Twice actually. The first time I missed the “your item is on hold” call and only got the “your item is no longer on hold” message. The next time I waited for 15 others to take their turn before I got my hands on it.
And it was perfect timing for me.
I’d already read Crazy Love and Love Does a few months back and I’d just finished up The Circle Maker last week. I’ve been sorting through all kinds of crazy dreams and plans for the future and just started purging unnecessary toys and items from my house and then this book shows up.
It’s written by a pastor’s wife, Jen Hatmaker. Apparently she’s written quite a few books, one being Interrupted which I hope to read soon. She says that particular book talks about her radical life change from working their way up the Christian ladder of success to starting a church that focuses more on serving the poor and needy.
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess follows her crazy experiment to rid her life of excess. She focuses on 7 areas in her life and fasts from each of these areas for a month. The 7 areas: clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media, stress. She writes entries almost daily similar to how she might blog – straightforward, funny, honest and sometimes heart wrenching. It was hard to put the book down – I was fascinated, moved and entertained – I finished in 4 days which is fast for me considering I have small children to raise and all.
She helped to “fuel my purging fire” as I told a friend on Facebook the other day. I was already in the mood to let go, and this kicked me in the pants. She never told me to do anything in the book (she’s not bossy nor does she give you a guilt trip), I was just moved and agreed with so much of what she was saying. We just don’t need all this excess. And there are so many hurting people who do truly need my clothes and extra items.
I finished the book and then cleaned out my closet again. I’d just gone through it two weeks ago. I pulled out a HUGE pile. This time I let go of the clothes from my “I hope I can fit into this one day” box and sweaters I haven’t worn in years, but hold onto them because….well….who knows why. Then I went through two boxes of toys I’ve had in the garage since Lana was born – I only kept one item from my childhood. We haven’t touched the in 2 years, clearly we didn’t need the rest.
And this time my things didn’t make the Goodwill drop off. Nope. This time they went to Union Gospel Mission’s women’s shelter. Along with the 7 boxes of baby clothes since we’re done with the babies around here. The drop off center is ridiculously close to my house, I’m almost embarrassed I didn’t think about taking clothes there before. The man who helped us unload was surprised by how much we had. He probably didn’t believe me when I told him I’d be back next week with more (toys, towels and books).
There was something beautiful about giving my clothes to those women and children who many times walk away from abusive homes with maybe just an overnight bag or small suitcase. I can’t really explain it. I prayed over the women who’d wear the sweaters as I folded them into a box. I prayed for those babies who’d wear the teeny clothes my girls grew up in. Mariah learned a little about the lives of these kids and women because she came along. It just changed me. It moved me. Again.
That’s the thing, I’ve “been moved” a lot lately. It’s a stirring in my heart. It’s this longing for something I don’t experience right now as I live in my little selfish bubble. I’m feeling and aching for strangers, for the people on the news, the orphans, the mamas, my neighbors at the gym…..And it’s all new for me. My husband is the one who cries at missionary videos, HE’S the one with the bleeding heart. And now I’ve joined him. I hope my heart doesn’t get hard again. I’m pretty sure this way of seeing the world is how God intended his followers to see it.
But now I’m in this messy place of trying to sort through all of the feelings and desires to help. I’m working to figure out where my place is in helping others. What people group should I focus on? Where should my time and money go? How do I pray for all these needs? What talents and gifts can I use to meet needs?
In no way am I trying to say Hey! Look at me and the wonderful heart I have! I give to the needy! I’m the world’s best Christian! Because I’m not – not at all. And for years I lived as if my needs were most important. But as I sort through all of this I hope there’s someone else out there who might be sorting through the desires of their heart too. Maybe someone else feels a tug in their heart but doesn’t know what to do with it. Or maybe you’d just pray for me….because some days I try too hard to figure it all out on my own instead of trusting God will help me know where and how to serve in his time. Because he will. And until then I’m finding little ways to explore some possibilities.