Here is some background about me before I divulge the primary purpose behind the book. I grew up in a middle class family. There was a TV in every room, and we were always in separate rooms in the evenings watching our own shows. On occasion I would go downstairs and join my parents while we watched a TV show, but for the most part, I was on my own each night. I grew up in a small house that we lived in for 12 years, and my dad had a used ski boat that we would ride on during the summers. My dad was a handy man and my mom a receptionist. We didn't have everything we wanted, but I never went without. We always had food, electricity, water, and cable. We always had a shelter over our head, and I never worried about my basic needs being met. When I was a teenager, cell phones were just becoming more popular and landlines were becoming less and less common. Facebook hadn't been invented yet, but we had a desktop computer and dial-up internet. It was very rare that a TV wouldn't be on or the stereo blaring when I was a kid. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but we took yearly vacations to different places, and at one point, we were taking three vacations per year. I don't know any different. As I have gotten older, credit cards have become more common for me, and I have almost every gadget I could want. I have an iPhone, Macbook, TV, DVD player, and for the most part, I am content. I also have several pairs of boots, shoes, flats, and more clothes than I need, although I did purge a good bit after I moved. I am in no shortage of anything, but yet, for some reason I still desire more. I still want more even though all of my basic needs and bills are paid for. I have student loan debt (who doesn't) and a car note that I will pay off in a reasonable time.
So, when I decided to read the book, that I'll call 7 for short, I was a little skeptical about Jen Hatmaker's intentions. This isn't her first book by the way, she has been around quite a while. I wasn't sure if I was going to be reading a book I could relate to, or if I was going to read the rantings of some weirdo who decided to "go off the grid". The book 7 isn't about going off of the grid, or preparing for a technological apocalypse, it's about reducing the 7 excesses in the author's life. She deems these as, "clothes, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress". The significance of 7 goes beyond the 7 excessive items, it is also the number of items she limits herself to in each category. So, for one month Jen only consumes 7 foods. For one month Jen only wears 7 items of clothing. Currently, in a chapter 4 she is reducing media to complete radio silence except for texting for emergencies and using the internet for important things like work and life. So, you kind of get the picture.
I have not yet completed the book, but thus far, I am feeling very convicted in several areas of my life. I know I love to spend. I admit this and I think I am not the only raising their hand right now about having a spending issue. I spend when I am happy, sad, angry, lonely, etc. I also impulse buy WAY too often. I know this about myself, and while I have gone years rationalizing it, I no longer can. I see the significance in fasting certain things in my life, but I want to be called by the Lord to fast these things and not just throw myself into a fast without praying or seeking beforehand. Jen was strategic in her fasts, and she had a counsel of women who were there to support her and help clear the muddy waters. It's not always easy to completely turn your life upside down without any help with the navigation.
Overall, the book is hilarious, thought-provoking, and eye-opening. To think she did this all in 7 months, it just blows my mind. Not only was she fasting certain things in her life, but her husband and kids were joining in too, which I love! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to just lessen and reduce in their life. If you want to purchase the book, head on over to Amazon for a good price! Also, email me and let me know what you think if you decide to read!
Happy Reading, xx.