Can I just admit to you that as I was sitting in Panera reading this chapter alone in my booth I was literally laughing out loud. In public, by myself, and yes it was that funny that I just couldn't help it. Jen Hatmaker is not only going after this with her whole heart, she's hilarious in the process being honest to the core.
This month the author fasted clothing. She reported to the reader that she has 327 articles to choose from in her closet. When I read this, it made me curious, and curious enough that I counted my own closet: 176. (Give or take a few because I was counting quickly.) I've posted this picture before for a bedroom makeover. I would be hard pressed to fit any more than that in this space, so possibly my less than number is only a matter of space and not greed, just so we don't get caught in the trap of comparison here. Her 7 articles of clothing for the month were:
jeans, long sleeve tee, 2 short sleeve tees, knit capri pants, dress shirt, shoes
My choices for next week's fast will be similar because it's very practical and Valentine's Day is coming up so I need that fancy dress shirt for my date. (Insert irony) Overall, the author walked away with the realization that we as a culture justify every purchase with a micro explanation of why we need the item. No one really cares what we are wearing and we over obsess and overspend. We could wear a
fraction of the clothes in our closets and our charmed lives would still. be. the. same.
Favorite Thoughts From The Author
"To discover what matters to you, take it away and see where the chips actually fall." I would describe myself as a minimalist, but I think 176 articles would beg to differ. Try to take one of those away and I would give a good argument to keep it. This book has allowed me to take an honest look at myself, because the author was so honest with herself and the reader.
"When we hear fast we put on the yoke of self-denial. When God said 'fast,' He meant to take off the yoke of oppression. The Isaiah 58 fast is not about the mechanics of abstinence; it is a fast from self-obsession, greed, apathy and elitism." My husband likes to say that the biggest thing we need to guard our hearts from as Americans is the gentle soothing rock of apathy. The enemy likes to get us comfortable in our environments and then just rock us to sleep like a baby. We love it because our lives are so plush and comfy and it's hard to continually die to ourselves.
"Perhaps an obsessive occupation with dresses and hair and shoes detracts us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus." The author is speaking about the meaning behind church and worship gatherings, but it struck me that she has an amazing community of friends doing life with her. I honestly think if I could Facebook her now, I would ask her if her council members had a secret ploy to bail their friend out of her fast at least once during each month just to give her some relief. During chapter 1, they invite her to an Ethiopian restaurant to eat, clearly breaking her 7 foods fast and during chapter 2, her husband and her friend both gift her with meaningful necklaces which she adorned for the duration of the month. I think it's awesome that she has a community of friends around her who care about her enough to come alongside her and give her some relief. It makes me yearn to be in community again. I'm doing this all alone, (husband excluded) and this is the second time God has highlighted this in my heart this week.
Word(s) that Last
Speaking about Jesus, the scriptures say, "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow, and familiar with suffering."
"Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" Isaiah 58: 6-7
As we go on to fast other areas in our lives during the next 5 weeks, I pray this scripture becomes more alive and rich in our hearts.