I'm having a blog identity crisis.
I don't know if you've noticed, but I haven't had much to talk about in months and months. Which is not like me, historically, because this blog has always been free, fun therapy for me, and when I can write a post that makes people laugh, that's always been the BEST. Oh, I churn out a post now and then just to keep my ads active, but my heart has not been here. I haven't even felt like I could even write anything funny lately even if I wanted to, and that's an even bigger crisis.
It's just that I came to a point recently where I was struck by the feeling that this is all so... DUMB.
And also... stupid.
If I had to pinpoint the moment that revelation struck, I'd say it was when my grandmother died. This is out of my comfort zone to talk about, by the way, because I'm MUCH more comfortable talking about the meaningless: you know, stuff that my kids do that makes me want to smoke cigarettes, and heck, I can even delve into some pretty deep stuff now and then when the mood strikes, but this is ME I'm talking about, and I don't do that.
Come to think of it, I really don't even want you, complete stranger, to read personal stuff about me right now, so could you please stop and go on about your business somewhere else? OKAY THANKS. And let's NEVER MENTION THIS AGAIN.
Hello.... you're still here?
OK if you must know, I've thought about my grandmother at least once a day since she died (there is a point to this), and I think - and this just occurred to me! - it was because I wrote her obituary. I think there's gotta be something really life-changing about writing another person's obituary, condensing down all the best parts of an entire lifetime into a few short paragraphs, especially someone like her who made the world a better place.
It's not the first time I've had a minor little identity crisis. The first time was in 2009, when I decided I DO NOT WANT THIS LIFE ANYMORE AND I AM NO LONGER DOING THIS and I didn't even CARE what anyone else thought about it, I packed myself and my kids up and got the heck out of that living hell and started down a gentler, less abusive road.
In 2009 all I knew was that I didn't want THAT life, but what DO I want is a home that's full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and all that. And while I've been happily enjoying my new happy, healthy home life since sometime in 2010, since the day I cried my eyes out while writing a few paragraphs about that lovely lady who served Jesus and other people every single day of her life, I've felt this discontent, unsettled feeling that I'm supposed to be doing something. I NEED (need) to DO MORE with MY OWN life and even this blog.
I want to be more like HER and I want to be more like JESUS and I want to do (and say) things that matter. I have a degree in Christian Ministry, for Pete's sake, and have attended ALL the church there is my ENTIRE LIFE, and I need to DO SOMETHING.
So all of this I've been pondering for the last few months, and when I had the opportunity to review this book, Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker, it was about the time this big conviction storm was brewing in my heart.
Inner conflict, Jen calls it.
Oh, and if you didn't know, Jen Hatmaker is my best friend, by the way. (No offense, Pioneer Woman; we can all three be best friends). And by best friend, I mean, we've only hung out once. And by 'hung out once,' it was Jen and me and hundreds of other women when she spoke at my church a couple of years ago, but seriously, if she took the time to get to know me => BFFs. That's all.
If you don't know her, oh my word. So darn funny. The first time I heard of her, I was invited by a friend to some sort of women's banquet where this supposedly 'funny' Christian author was speaking, and I went grudgingly, all scoffing and rolling my eyes, because Christian comedian? Please. No. Lame. No Christian comedians, no Christian fiction. It's one of my life principles.
But my friend bought my ticket, and there was lunch. And then I laughed until I cried and decided I will stalk her with binoculars until I can hang out with her in person. Seriously. It's on my bucket list.
So I read her book, Seven, when it came out, and it so resonated with me. YES, I thought. I want this. I want this simple life of being a good steward of everything. Seven fit with the new life I wanted for myself. Living within my means. Being content with less so we can give more. I LOVE THAT. More taking care of the earth, more thriftiness, less status symbols, greed and materialism. Just yes. She's funny AND has this heart for widows and orphans JUST LIKE JESUS WANTS US TO and you know the Social Worker in me is ALL ABOUT widows and orphans.
At least, I want to be.
At least, I know I'm not content with the lazy Christianity I've been living lately... all sitting on the pew, no doing anything for anybody. Not doing ONE THING that costs me anything, not one thing for anyone who can't repay me, not one thing that benefits me zero, ignoring all those who need.
But let's get to the point before this rambles any further. Listen, I'm just gonna tell you straight up: THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ ALL YEAR. I do not say that lightly. I'm a total geek who loves to read, and I figure I've read a book a week the past few months. And THIS one is the best, and I know that because it's the only one I texted my sister about 172 times, OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK.
Do you KNOW that that's the highest possible praise for a book? When I text my sister about it? That's the pinnacle.
(The last time we texted about a book was probably The Help, and there have been no others since then).
But my sister and I have had many conversations about the sad state of the church nowaways, where nobody is satisfied, content, or fullfilled, young families are leaving in droves because 'church hopping' is the norm, and in a church like ours that's the size of a small city we have to beg and threaten and stalk and harass to get enough people to teach Vacation Bible School. People show up to take; only an embarrassingly small percentage shows up to give.
Holy passion... WHERE IS IT?
Like Jen says,
There were other question marks. Like why wouldn't people commit to our church programs, despite the endless work poured into them? And why did the same people end up doing all that work? Why did 70 percent of the initial program enthusiasts drop out by the end? Why did so many leave, claiming they needed more, when we were all working eighty hours a week to meet their needs? Why couldn't I recall the last person I led to Christ? Why did I spend all my time blessing blessed people who should be on the giving side of the equation by now? Why did I feel so dry?I read this book with the backs of my eyeballs hot and leaky through entire chapters of conviction, interspersed with huge belly laughs through the tears, where she says something so completely absurd and hilarious that I would THINK OF IT long after I had turned the lights out at night and literally burst out laughing all over again and wake Michael up.
There is so much in this book that spoke to me. I read through it with a pen, underlining, writing in the margins as I soaked up the story of her family's journey out of comfortable but discontented 'Churchianity' into a countercultural life on mission, BEING the church rather than DOING church.
Do you FEEL IT? Do you feel the nagging sense that there must be more, that people are lost and dying and struggling in poverty and disease and hunger and we're all SITTING HERE ON OUR PADDED PEW gorging on Thanksgiving dinner Sunday after Sunday and that this world NEEDS YOU to BE MORE LIKE JESUS so we can HELP?
Do you FEEL that too? Oh my gosh, my friend, then you must read this book. THIS BOOK, Y'ALL.
And now that I've read it... what next? Where do I go from here? I still don't know. I just know it won't be the same.
Tyndale House Publishers sent me an ebook plus a free book to give away, but because I went and marked and underlined this one all up, I'll buy you a new one. This one, I have to keep.
Wanna win it for yourself? Enter below. Or you can find it on Amazon here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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