If you don't have a Nicole Roberts in your life, you should get one. But not her, she's mine. (haha!) Nicole is my treasure-hunting friend. She's great at the biblical call to uncover hidden treasure in people, but she's also super good at scouting out the best deals, sales, recipes, books, and she'll even preview movies for me and gauge whether I'm mature enough to handle them or not. See? Shes great! A true friend. She often makes my life easier. Anyway, she's the one who told me about, (insisted that I read), 7 by Jen Hatmaker. And it's awesome.
You can read the publishers press release about the book and sort of shrug like I did, thinking it's just another self-help book, or you could obey your friend, and buy the book. I did both. Shrug, and then obey. And then I cried. And laughed, like, A LOT. This book is hilarious! And then I did a lot of thinking, reflecting, examining, and eventually, inevitably, I found myself fighting off the urge to vomit over how far off course I was. I am. We are. It's deep, you guys. Deep.
Here are some of the takeaways for our family.
* We are rich compared to most of the world. Like, loaded. And selfish. (Enter gut-wrenching sad face.) We are shifting our thinking in this area, determined to feed our greedy hearts less, and our impoverished neighbors more. Starting here at home. And just so we're clear, we plan to brainwash our children accordingly.
One small goal for us will be to spend $105-/mos. like this.
$20- for a child's pair of tennis shoes, donated to our daughters' elementary school.
$25- for a pair of adult tennis shoes for a homeless woman or man.
$25- loan to help fund a small business through kiva.org.
$35- to sponsor a child abroad and/or to stop child trafficking.
Small amount of money...big potential.
* We will waste less and care for the earth more. No more romping around like we own this place, leaving a huge trail of trash in our wake. We country folk will recycle. We will use what we have. We will attempt to shop more responsibly, and from fair-trade companies when we can.
* We will serve where we can, when we can, not veering away from opportunities to meet the less fortunate face-to-face. Speaking of face-to-face. We hope to love our neighbors a little better.
* We will give our kids room to be passionate about what they're interested in. For Claire, it's helping the deaf (her idea, pre-book). And Avery will continue to address the human flight crisis. Meaning, she's 6 and wants more than anything to fly like a bird.
I wonder what the littlest ones will pursue.
* We will do church the way church was meant to be done. (Read the book...meaning, the Bible.) No offense intended.
* We will simplify, pare down and live within our means, and maybe even below our means. (Wouldn't that be something!!)
* We will continue to try not to waste food. "No, you may not be done! Finish your food!" Just like the book...just because you know there's more food in the pantry doesn't mean you get to throw dinner in the trashcan because it's not your favorite. No ma'am, no sir.
* We will try to pray differently. More focused, vast, yet precise prayers.
* We will try to fast Isaiah 58 style. "Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them and do not hide from relatives who need your help."
* We will tattoo Matthew 25:40 onto our hearts. “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’"
This list is incomplete. We will probably fail in many of these areas, but we will try. And we will not give up. Lord, let us never give up.
The author said something that ruined me. She talked about how there is more slavery today than any other time in history. And then she said something like, "When my grandchildren ask me what I did to end slavery I want to have something to say."
And so do I. So do we.
I know this all seems ultra noble and maybe even pretentious, but it's the result of an awakening that's occurred in my soul. I honestly feel like I just woke up after a long winter's nap. Like I'm stretching, squinting, blinking, and processing where I've been and what's in store. I'm happy for this new day. I'm ready for it. I'm ready to live closer to the heart of God than I ever have before. And I'll do it in the simplest, most plain way possible.
Good morning world. My name is Jenny.