I am participating in a book study over here at www.marlataviano.com. The book is called 7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I love this book. I love the content and the author is super funny, relatable, and dives deep in to how to live out the Word of God.
The book study is on chapter 2 and we are looking at issue of clothing excess. Just a quick note if you haven't read it: Jen takes on 7 areas of excess--one each month. The book is sort of a diary of the process and what God teaches her and her family through it. She is writing as it is happening so it is raw and in the moment. She really dives deep in to our purpose here on this earth and how we can really Love God and Love Others...what does it look like when we are imperfect people living in a world of excess and have to have just one more...
Most of you reading know that I lived in a distorted world for most of my life. I allowed fear, shame, and guilt to dictate decisions and choices. I lived a destructive life. I lived in darkness and held most of the events and circumstances that happened in my life in a secret space in my heart. As a result I tried to hide behind my outside appearance. I engaged in an eating disorder, I spent countless hours getting dressed in just the right outfit, applying makeup over and over to make sure every part of it was just right, and constantly checking myself in the mirror. I was NEVER satisfied. This chapter really spoke to my heart.
Jen chooses 7 items of clothing to wear for the month...7...that is it. But what she really teaches us through this process is not just to wear 7 items or eat 7 foods for example, but to live our life with our eyes on Jesus and not on ourselves....fight for justice and really love people...God's people.
"Scripture describes the people who drew Jesus' eye: the poor widow, lepers, the lost and hungry, adulterers, the outcast, the sick and dying. The already dead. Finery and opulence never impressed Jesus; quite the opposite. He lambasted religious leaders for their fancy robes, strutting around as if their ceremonial dress had any bearing on the condition of their hearts.
There is something noble about an assembly of believers in simple clothes, where the lobby isn't filled with people saying, "You look pretty" to one another. Maybe looking pretty isn't the catalyst for the Spirit's movement. Perhaps an obsessive occupation with dresses and hair and shoes detracts us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus. When the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory, which seems somehow almost fitting."
How I see that is that we can try to make the focus on what we look like whether it be in clothes or our body shape, our hair or makeup instead of on what scripture says that we are to be known for our hearts and not our outward appearance. Jesus is not looking for us to look great...he's looking for us to love him and love others. We don't need to look great to do that!
It isn't bad to want to want to like clothes or a cute outfit. I think that it depends on our motives. We can be expressive without being excessive. We can express our selves with out having soooo much in our closets.
We spend money on clothes in an impulse. We spend money on clothes because we want to fit in and wear the latest trend. We spend money on clothes when we are depressed or hurt to fill a void. We buy clothes to impress.
Jen Hatmaker discusses many ways that we can get rid of the excess we have that will bless others...shelters is one example. She also talks about how our money can be spent elsewhere to help fight for justice for the poor, the orphans and the widows...(isn't that what Jesus asked us to do?). Read the book!!! We have so much excess. If Jesus came to my house right now I think I would be embarrassed at all I had. I would want to stay out on the porch so he couldn't see it all. That is not how I want my relationship with Jesus to be. I want Him to have access to all of me.
On page 67 she writes: "Listen, if my influence is linked to my wardrobe, then my ministry is falsely inflated and built on sand."
I also love (and hate) what she says on page 66: "The average human gets around twenty-five thousand days on the earth, and most of us in the United states of America will get a few more. That's it. This life is a breath. Heaven is coming fast, and we live in that thin space where faith and obedience have relevance. ....We'll stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We'll have one moment to say, "This is how I lived." ...I am determined to make the rest count."
Today I took all of my clothes out of my closet and only returned 1/2. I am sure I will cry later when I wish I had a certain shirt of pants...but really...some of the things I have because maybe someday I may wear it to some certain event that will probably never happen! How much money in clothes do I waste that could go elsewhere???
Tell me what you think about one or all of the quotes from Jen Hatmaker's book. You can visit www.jenhatmaker.com or order her book on Amazon.com.