7: a Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker was sitting on my 2 dollar yard sale find coffee table. Mr. Snail picked it up and said “why are you reading this?” He quickly followed this statement up with a “please don’t give away anything else…” What my husband was alluding to is that I am a minimalist. If we don’t need it we donate it.
So you may be wondering as was my husband why I felt inclined to read a book about minimizing excess?
Well, because I was told that this book would challenge me to go beyond. So mysterious…I had to read it.
The gist of the book: Jenn (I feel like we are on a first name basis) chooses seven areas of her life that she wants to focus on minimizing. At the start of each month she challenge herself to minimize in that area with the focus being “less of me more of God”. I will warn you this book is not for the faint hearted. She is very transparent and funny but exceptionally honest about her experiences and what she is learning through them.
I am only on chapter 4 and already I feel like I have been on this journey with Jenn for months and months now (I don’t know if we are going to be able to finish). *Spoiler: going to share some deep feelings in the next few sentences. You see although I was giving stuff to Goodwill every month my heart wasn’t necessarly thinking about the people on the other side. It was more like a “check box” on my list of spring/summer/winter/fall cleaning list. I forgot about the people. That was seriously hard for me to type.
During her chapter on clothes she writes that she prayed over several items that she gave away. She prayed for the person that would be receiving them. She prayed specif prayers. She remembered that the reason for donating the clothes wasn’t to make more room in her closet or to look “good” she was trying to focus her heart on the people by praying for them. *Note to self: Do this!*
This book made me think about why I live simply. For example, I thought couponing was about saving money for my family (which it is) but it could be so much more if I used the money saved and donated it to someone who needed it.
Donating my time and talents isn’t about me. It’s not about being appreciated or having someone tell you “you’re awesome!” its about the people. The lives that you are investing in. I was blessed with knowledge and talents in some areas and I could use them to reach the people instead of hoarding them for myself (claps on the back, praise, recognition). God is still working on my heart when it comes to the definition of success. In college I thought it was whoever got the highest scores. After college, I thought it was whoever got the best paying job after college. Now, I am starting to learn that success takes the posture of a servant. More on that later.
“We each meet unique needs in our cities and our world. If we all raised others up instead of raising ourselves up a little higher, there would be few needs left on the earth.”- Jen Hatmaker