I heard about this book from someone I did childcare with at church. She said something about getting rid of lots of stuff and only wearing 7 items of clothing for a month and I was all, “Yeah have fun with that,” all the while telling myself that I would never read that book and I don’t have that much stuff so it’s no big deal and there’s no need for such radical and uncomfortable conversations about excess. But even back then I felt like maybe God was telling me I probably needed to have a heart change on that book.
Fast forward a few years and I see the book at my friend’s house and say something about wanting to read it sometime. She hands it to me and says, “Here, read it.” I promptly took it home and added it to the stack of several other books she’s letting me borrow. And there it sat, until my ever helpful two year-old niece decided she needed to pull books off of my bookshelf and read them in my bed. Fifteen minutes and fifteen books left in my bed later, I was waiting for Hulu to load (niece-free) when I decided to pick up the nearest book and start reading while I waited. Enter Seven.
An hour later I hadn’t noticed yet that Hulu never loaded. I’m not quite sure how Jen Hatmaker manages to make her writing feel funny and easy to read while still opening doors through which the Holy Spirit can convict me and challenge some of my most basic habits and views on living. She does it though. She brought to light some things that had been creeping in the back of my mind, asking for attention but being shoved down again and again.
Here’s the basic premise of the book. She takes one month to fast in a particular area for seven months in a row. She fasts from:
After having finished it, I really want to do something similar, something drastic, something to shake up the patterns in my life. I’ve been really convicted about how selfish I am. I spend about 90% of my time, money, and decisions on myself, and that’s not how Jesus told us to live. The idea of purposefully and systematically fasting in a bunch of different areas of my life, in ways that would make it really hurt, is oddly appealing to me. I want to have my own seven month fast against excess.
This book is challenging and convicting and inspiring to me. But I also need to be careful that I don’t lean into the legalism that would be tempting for me to slide into. The purpose of a fast or a challenge like this is not so that you can prove how spiritual you are, or earn yourself a closer place at Jesus’ side. Serving the poor and giving away money is not so that you can look better and feel better about yourself. The purpose is to position your soul in such a way that you realize how much you need Him, how much better His ways are, how good He is. The purpose is to sit at His feet to learn from Him and be with Him the way Mary did. It would defeat the point if we turned a fast into a busy Martha type activity. Jesus is always the end goal, not anything else.
I basically want to quote the whole book right here, but that would be plagiarism so you should just buy yourself a copy and go read it.
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