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Seven…a slow digestion.

Seven is the book that I started reading ten months ago. What in the world?

The goal when I started the book was to try the experiment for myself as I read along.
Wrong idea.  Epic Fail.
We all do this, don’t we?
We see how God is moving in someones life, and it’s so amazing, we want it.
It took me a while in the beginning to remember that comparison really is the thief of Joy.
Trying to emulate Jen Hatmaker’s experience was exhausting and unenjoyable. 
So very 7th grade.

I decided to take the better part of this past year just taking in the whole book.
I’d read a chapter and take notes all along the margins, then I’d put it down to chew on it.
I didn’t want to try to live out her convictions, yet I kept finding myself trying to.
A big freedom for me in reading this book actually was the realization that our lives can’t be traced or copied.  I should know that right?  
I think I mostly do know that, but it’s too easy to read books like this one and assume we’re all suppose to be doing the same thing.
What we’re all called to do is Love God and Love Others as ourselves.
How that plays out in each of our lives can look radically different.
One book and ten months later, I think I finally got it.  
Thank you Jesus and Jen Hatmaker.

After all these months, this book falls into my “must read” book list. 

Here’s why…
Whether you do what the Hatmaker family did with the 7 categories or not, 
you’ll enjoy how it challenges you to think beyond how you’re currently doing life.

It’ll be just the “kick in the pants” you might need to break up with some of those areas in your life that are nagging you deep down.  

Now, I won’t lie.
There were times when I thought the book was frustrating me, but after I finished it, I was keenly aware that it was ME who was frustrating me.  
…me and my “eager beaver, copy what everyone else is doing so I can feel good about myself,  recovering performance-based follower of Jesus” self.

Because I spent the first three chapters trying to do it exactly like the Hatmaker family was doing it, I will say that I wish she would have put some of what she wrote at the end of the book at the beginning.   I could have used the reminder early on that… 

self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died to make us righteous.  Guilt is not Jesus’ medium.  He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again.  He finished that discussion on the cross.”

Jen expresses her struggle with this in every chapter of the entire book, and it’s refreshing.
She’s ridiculously funny when she openly shares the hard parts for her, which made me feel a little more normal. 

When reading a book like this one, our humanness vacillates between desiring to take on the challenge of a more radical life to feeling like crud for not being able to fully live it out.

This book consistently did two things….
It reminded me that apart from him I can do nothing, and it repeatedly turned my heart’s attention back to the cross.

Fasting is good for our souls.  It’s uncomfortable and hard.  It reveals the condition of our hearts.  It makes us ever-aware of the greed in us.  It also was a good reminder that I really am absolutely incapable of everything without his help.

Have you read it?  Think you want to?
Are you making a summer reading list?
Spill it.  I’m making mine and I need some suggestions.

slip4 - I took a long time to read 7. Like you said, read a chapter and chew on it for a while. I ended up simultaneously defeated and inspired. I couldn’t even tell you which area of sacrifice I would be worst at (ahem, all of them). I could read Jen’s writing all day – I am a sucker for humor that has a purpose.

Jackie at Roots and Wings - Loved this book. I think I read it too fast (on vacation last summer–how ironic is that?); I should reread it, because I know there’s so much good stuff in there. I’ll need to get some good book recs from you for this summer, now that I will actually have some time to read! :)

carissa @ lowercase letters - i haven’t read it. so often i put on fig leaves and subconciously think of all my efforts as a means of achieving holiness rather than relying on Christ’s finished work on the cross. i kind of feel like you did at first about it. one day, though, i’m going to chew on it. i love what you learned through it.

Sheila Earhart - I’m slow, I hadn’t heard of it! It sounds good, and your honesty and bravery in telling your reactions to it has me wanting to read it. That same “thief” has been stealing my joy lately too, and I’m fed up!

Thank you. I love your blog.


Farmgirl Paints - I haven’t finished it yet. I found it wonderful and yet so convicting that I loved/hated it. Does that make sense? You explained it really well. You’ll got a knack for book review girl.

Kelly - Great take on it! I have to say I thoroughly loved it, but only after I accepted that this was her journey, and it was going to inspire me and not be something I would be convicted to do personally. For me I had to let go of my self imposed (or maybe I felt that she was kinda sorta implying?) idea that this was what we all need to be doing.

I love your articulation of this book- you really nailed it:-)

The Mrs. - I LOVED this book–so thought provoking. I’ve got so many books on my list this summer: The Storyteller, And The Mountains Echoed, Look Me In The Eye, Quiet and Waiting To Be Heard to name a few. I prefer non-fiction.

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