For the Cheaters, Shirkers, and Cherry-Pickers
by Jen Hatmaker on February 9th, 2012

When I take personality tests, I always bust the matrix. Just when they almost have me all figured out, I answer “strongly disagree” and the whole trajectory falls apart. On question #9, “I do a thorough job, valuing completion,” and on #10, “I am easily overwhelmed and often abandon projects.” I love people, sometimes, just certain ones. I am creative, except when I get stuck in a rut. I am kind, except when I’m mean. I am comfortable socially, but I’m a 75% introvert. I was always a super straight square, but I chose friends (and boyfriends) (and a husband) who were naughty.

And my whole life, I’ve been a total rule follower. Except when I’m so not.

You may not be shocked to hear that my teachers never really liked me, and they were often surprised I was smart. (My college professor examining my resume my senior year: “Really? Magna Cum Laude? Seriously?”) Perhaps this was because I would lay my head down and fall dead asleep in the middle of their lectures, or sail a note across the room to my friend while they were watching. Maybe they didn’t like the sullen girl who rolled her eyes and SIGHED VERY LOUDLY at the question-asker who lobbed her burning inquiry up with twelve seconds left in class.

Which is all very weird because I love to learn. (Certain things.)

And I’m a people pleaser. (But only sometimes.)

So it has delighted and amused me to receive a deluge of emails from 7 readers, professing their consent while confessing their shortcomings as they’ve launched into their own little mutinies against excess. It appears you are selective rule-followers too, cherry-pickers if you will. You like the ideas, but not the ones that make you give up coffee. You are all for spending less, except for restaurants and stores. For instance, from Twitter and Facebook friends just in the last few days:

Re: 7 month 3: If I buy I Coach purse, I won't have a problem giving away the rest of mine. #failingalready

First day of #7 and I have a Superbowl-gluttony-food-hangover. Oh, this is gonna take a lot of Jesus and spiritual caffeine.

Halfway through the book, and my wife already gave away half our clothes. WHATEVER. #classichusbandquote

Is this a book a nerdish football fanatic/Popsicle enthusiast such as myself would enjoy? Otherwise, I’m out.

Reading Food ch. of #7 & had to put it down. Had to finish Skittles before I could read in good conscience. #ohtheirony #repent

I bought the boots I had my eye on and felt a twinge of conviction at the checkout. It was probably the Holy Spirit, but I blamed your book instead, and may or may not have cursed your name under my breath. I'm going to hurry up and wear them a few times before I start your book, so I won't be able to return them.

These make me laugh every single day. People, I said 100 times that 7 wasn’t a template, wasn’t a prescription, wasn’t a challenge, wasn’t a program. I find it hilarious that most readers have jumped in, excited to emulate the experiment…sort of. You’re busting the matrix. You are so my people.

So I’m coming to your rescue today with seven mini-7-projects (See what I just did? That’s called synergy, y’all), giving you a pass from the Seven-Month Full Monty Version For Crazy People, and offering some simple, easily implemented ideas you can choose from without being labeled a “hippie granola” or “Commie Socialist.” If your mind is spinning and you need a focal point other than simply grabbing trash bags and throwing in everything you own, try just one of these on for size:

1. Pick one item you buy regularly, and go without it for a month. Reallocate the savings. (One reader went without soda, calculated the savings at $34 a month, which turned out to be the exact amount needed to sponsor a Compassion child. AWESOME SAUCE.)

2. Help a family in need. Call the counselor at the poorest school in your city and ask if he/she has a student or family with specific needs you might be able to meet. I am getting the coolest emails about folks doing this, taken from a tiny paragraph on page 92 in 7, ironically, the year I graduated from high school. Ninety-two! Ninety-two! Ninety ninety ninety ninety ninety-two!
These Prom queens now have 19 kids. Tomorrow came.

3. Put a "cell phone bowl" near your front door with this sign: "Be with the ones who are here." Ask family members and guests to leave their phones there as they enter. Maybe include a shelf for laptops if that is your poison.

4. Commit to eating the food you already have as well as all leftovers for two weeks. This throws a wrench in the waste machine. We often have a freezer, fridge, and pantry full of food and exclaim, “We don’t have anything to eat!” Bull butter. (I am currently doing this too. Last night, we had shrimp gumbo I had in the freezer, but we were out of rice and bread. So we ate it over pasta. With tortillas. It was Cajun Mextalian. Solidarity, people.)

5. Declare "screen free days" for your family: Pick two days with no TV, gaming, computers, phone apps, and games. Intentionally fill that space with time together. If you aren’t scared of a revolt, pick three days.

6. Freeze spending—do not buy anything you don’t need for a month (clothes, shoes, whatever). This stops the hemorrhaging so you can breathe and think. Just press pause and see what happens.

I’m super excited about Tip #7, so it is getting its own section. The most frequent response from 7 readers is that they just started purging the stacks, piles, drawers, and closets full of stuff until they knew what to do next. And I started thinking…

What if we harnessed this response for great good?

Because here is the deal: all those clothes and sheets and pots and mattresses and bicycles and jewelry represent a bunch of potential cash. We’ve already spent money on it once. What if we found a way to redeem those expenditures for something good and noble? Rather than simply gnashing our teeth and wailing over the indulgence of it all, what if we rolled up our sleeves and converted it to mission?

Enter my friends at Help End Local Poverty (H.E.L.P.), whose mission is this: “To be a global tribe dedicated to ending extreme poverty by helping to rescue orphans, restore their hope, and renew their communities.” They are pioneering innovative, sustainable initiatives in Haiti, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. They are bad to the bone and I want to be exactly like them when I grow up.

As you might remember, I’m into orphans.
I'm particularly fond of these two FO's (former orphans).

And this Zimbabwe punkin’ we sponsor through H.E.L.P.:
Caleb: "Mom? Let's pick the oldest kid to sponsor. No one wants the big kids." Oh my heart.

And these two Indian doll babies we sponsor through The Miracle Foundation:
I could put them on a plate, pour syrup on them, and eat them with a fork.

H.E.L.P. has this smart idea: Use our excess to serve the poor. Clever, right? And this is how: Garage Sale for Orphans. Sell what we’ve already bought and give the money to support the most vulnerable kids on earth.

There is a paper-thin line between orphans and human trafficking. Kids on the streets or those just aged-out of the system, children with no options and no advocates, are targeted almost immediately for sex and labor trafficking. They are exploited and abused relentlessly, low-hanging fruit for predators.

H.E.L.P. is stepping in, building safe homes in Haiti for the whopping price of $6000 each, out the door. This is how Chris Marlow, founder of H.E.L.P., explains it:

One of the best and most effective ways to fight trafficking is to prevent trafficking in the first place. Traffickers TARGET orphaned children.

We will build these homes within 20 minutes of the Dominican border. Kids are being sold at this border right now, into the Dominican Republic, where they will become sex and labor slaves. H.E.L.P., in partnership with Austin New Church and, is going to build 12 preventative safe homes in 2012.

We will rescue "the worst case scenarios" orphans - kids that are homeless, doubled-orphaned, abandoned, etc. And we will rescue girls that age out of their current orphanage. Which means: 12- and 13-year-old girls kicked out of the orphanage because they're too old. These girls usually become prostitutes locally in Haiti or sold into the DR.

Each home will have an overseer, or house mom/dad, potentially a widow. We hope to create a family style orphan care. Our local leader in Haiti will oversee the entire project. The kids will be sponsored, so they will get food, water, clothing, and will also be able to attend school. Once we rescue a child, we will raise that child until they graduate college or trade school, so they can then take care of their own families.


Good reader, let’s knock out one of those homes together, yes? Two? Five? And by the revolutionary idea of selling what we’ve already bought. Redemption! What if we took trash bags and dollies through our homes and purged, purged, purged, converting our indulgences into bricks and mortar and safety and a future for these precious, beloved-by-Jesus Haitian girls? Plain old garage sales, reimagined. (Our little church does this once a year as a community and raised 12K in four hours. From our excess, yall. &!%$#.)
At our last ANC GS4O: Those are nearly ALL my books. I'm sorry. I need a moment.

You could do this with your little family. Or your community group. Or your neighbors. Or your soccer team. Or your Bible study group. Or your book club. Or your sisters. Gather the troops, price everything to sell, and turn your shoes and books and couches into cinder blocks and plaster and a roof.

H.E.L.P. set up a project page just for us, 7 Readers and Doers. The goal is 6K…one house. We could blow right past that if we all got crazy. Maybe you make $200 on your sale. Or perhaps you are a freak of nature like my friend Jenny who has never made less than a grand on any garage sale ever. Add it all together – your stuff, my stuff, their stuff – and we could do something amazing, literally changing girls’ lives who are headed into the sex trade as seventh graders otherwise.

Sell your stuff.

Go here and donate the proceeds. Or just donate period. For real, man. (Snag the button for your blog and trick your readers into joining us.)

Together, we’ll watch the little orange line move to “100% funded.”

And maybe we’ll need to start a new page for a second house.

So, the 7th tip (synergy again) (which is a word I keep including for 7 readers who are familiar with my horrid confession on page 204):

7. Turn your excess into justice. Help build a safe house for the most vulnerable Haitian girls through the Garage Sale for Orphans initiative at H.E.L.P.

Isn’t this fun? We have the potential to be the answer to so many problems. What we can pull off together is so powerful. I believe this is the gospel Jesus has called us to, the one burgeoning with teaching, proclaiming, feeding, housing, loving, sharing, studying, and worshipping. This gospel combines learning with loving, studying with serving; it emulates a Savior who fed and healed and touched and restored…AND taught and proclaimed and challenged and led. It is born in our hearts, expanded in our minds, declared with our mouths, and transferred to our hands.

It’s such an exciting, stirring time to follow Jesus, isn’t it?

See anything you might try? Or mind sharing what you’ve already done? How about sharing this blog with your people so we can KNOCK OUT THAT SAFE HOUSE IN HAITI?

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with no tags


Jennifer - February 10th, 2012 at 8:41 AM
Especially love #7, but I would alter it to fund your own adoption. What better way to help the fatherless than to jump right into the whole mess and call one "mine"? That's what we're hoping to do at least. We don't have much to our name, but we have a great God who can supply all our needs, even a crazy amount of money to bring an orphan to our little home.
Anna - February 10th, 2012 at 10:18 AM
God can and will do it friend. We live modestly, Ive always been the at-home home school mom. So really never extra. When we did our taxes we were just amazed at what GOD did financially 2010. His a mountain moving God that owns it all anyway! JUST DO IT!
Rachel - February 10th, 2012 at 11:37 AM
This is what we have done twice now - purged and sold anything we could think of to bring our girls home from China.
Vicky - February 11th, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I turned my sewing room into the nursery, held a yard sale for the now orphaned crafts stuff and made enough to decorate the nursery, make a donation to a local runaway safe house, and pay the retainer for our adoption lawyer.
Candice - February 11th, 2012 at 1:39 AM
A garage sale was the first fundraiser I did when I started the process to adopt from Russia. A bunch of my friends pitched in their old junk as well. It was AWESOME!!

Jennifer Main - February 10th, 2012 at 8:43 AM
Awesome Jen! Love it!
RuthAnn - February 10th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
Jen Hatmaker, Jesus is changing me from the inside out and using you as the messenger, my friend! Between Radical and Seven, God is revealing to my family "LOOK, I AM DOING A NEW THING IN YOU" (from Is 43) Between four kids and a husband, I covet sleep worse than anything, and yet I'm up half the night praying for "Jeremiah" from yesterday's blog posting. #seriouslyHolySpirit?!
Humble Servant - February 10th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
Could we just put all of our crap that would never sell in a garage sale into a couple of suitcases and mail them halfway around the world and back to your church? Where they might possibly sit in the rain at some point and once we discover the packages and unzip them they are all moldy and even more worthless than they were when they were zipped in? That way, you would be forced to throw away my treasures in your already overfilled trashcans (see 7 member family trashcan).
Laurel Greer - February 10th, 2012 at 8:52 AM
Sharing. Posting. Implementing. Thank you.
Marla Taviano - February 10th, 2012 at 8:52 AM
Holy freaking cow. Turn your excess into justice. Yes, ma'am, I am.

p.s. I once told a professor that my daily 50-minute nap on my desk in her class was worth more than what I would've learned if I'd have listened to her. (or maybe I just told that to my friends)
Karen - February 10th, 2012 at 8:57 AM
Wow wow wow...all of this is SO motivating. I feel exactly the same about using garage sale money to help others. Once I used the $$ to buy ten winter coats for children in need in my town. Last summer the $$ was used to buy lots of food for our local food pantry. You get rid of your stuff and help others...WIN WIN.
Amy - February 10th, 2012 at 9:04 AM
I love this so much! I feel a yard sale coming on!
Carrie Beth - February 10th, 2012 at 9:05 AM
LOVE this idea!!! We have gone together to do yard sales before to help a friend trying to adopt and sponsor each other for mission trips. Why not fund a home in Haiti? I am on this. I have a pile going in the basement already of things I have gone through while/since reading 7.
Tessy Fuller - February 10th, 2012 at 9:09 AM
Girl - I so want to have coffee with you - but your blogs are the next best thing. You are so where I am at right now -- The first place I investigated adopting from was Haiti as I have a gi-huge-ic heart for Haiti. I have never been, but plan to. I have a close friend from college who has a great mission there called Living Water. --- anyhoo back on track -- I am in the middle of 7, 3 wks home from Africa, and I am dying of post adoption guilt. Yesterday I begged God to give me a new project -- and then I read this. Awesome!! I hate yard sales, though. My adoption yard sale was a mess - it rained and I was bailing water out of the garage with a dust pan when my first and almost only people arrived. I am going to stew on this and bring it up to my small group - who will be my council. I am starting my 7 experiment against excess next month. I am still praying about what I need to focus and give up.
Karen - February 10th, 2012 at 9:10 AM
Wow!!!!! Now I know what to do with the FOUR large moving boxes full of clothes and toys that I purged a few weeks ago under the influence of 7. I LOVE the idea of building these homes. I will be putting this post on my blog and FB to spread the word.

I do love these idea but they just aren't enough. hehe!!! I have to do the whole thing to prove that I can indeed do 7. Call me stubborn. But you've given me great ideas for what to do with my older children with this list.
Lynnea - February 10th, 2012 at 9:32 AM
Jen, Jesus and your book are wrecking me. My new hubby and I are just starting out, and we are the 7 rule breakers, some of those who are doing it a little differently, but it still is rocking our world. We are using your 7 foods as a guideline, eating what we already have in the house, and only spending $100 total for the month. It is awesome! We don't have much compared to most American's standards, but we have ridiculous amounts compared to the rest of the world! So, thank you for sharing and I can't wait for the "turning excess into justice"... Love it!
Joseph Louthan - February 10th, 2012 at 9:41 AM
You know what is a great feeling? Looking inside your nearly bare fridge and pantry and knowing you have steward the embarrassing wealth of food very well.

For us, we had to stretch the money out before my new paychecks started rolling in and our fridge never looked so cleaned out. Yet, we were still getting food into our kiddos' stomach.

Now, I am addicted to that feeling.

Thanks Jen.
Nicole - February 10th, 2012 at 9:47 AM
you go girl. My seven-week take on your challenge starts tomorrow. I'll point them over here for some other ideas!
Jeanie - February 10th, 2012 at 9:54 AM
I'm in Jen Hatmaker! I must comment, however, on the woman on the right hand side of the garage sale table. Her mouth is hanging open with either intense pleasure at the treasure trove of books or just complete confusion. I LOVE THAT! We just donated a lot of food we were never going to eat to the FoodBank courtesy of 7. I'm ready to hit the closets and start giving it to whomever needs it. We sure don't!! :)
Tammy Kingston - February 10th, 2012 at 9:56 AM
I love all of these ideas, and had seriously thought about doing #7 already, but did not know exactly who to give the money to, since I am already donating 7 items of clothing each day for 30 days to our local organizations. Now, however, I can add this project as a recipient for the garage sale earnings. God is changing me through your book and although I am quickly approaching 50, I say it is never too late for change. How do I know I am being changed? Not only am I purging my closet(s) of clothing I never even knew I had, but I experienced something yesterday that probably would not have caused me but a blip of regret a month ago. I work for a non profit and we have adults who come to our center for assistance with job placement. We feed them a lunch, and occasionally we have food leftover when the order has been too much or one of our clients has gone home early. Yesterday, I thought that was the case and I ate one of the leftover lunches. To my dismay, the lunch belonged to a client who was there and was late to lunch because he was doing the honorable thing by finishing his work. I felt horrible and even more so because he was so gracious about the entire matter. At first, I told him that we would just give him extra the next day, but then I realized that he might not have anything to eat at home, and that might have been the ONE meal he would have eaten ALL DAY!! Prior to "7" I would have felt bad but done nothing about it. Yesterday, I got in my car, drove to the restaurant who had provided the food, bought him a meal and drove 12 miles one way to take it to him. I am not telling this to pat myself on the back because I am ashamed of how the "old me" would have handled it. I am telling this because this book is having a profound effect on me and my selfishness. Thank you Jen for allowing God to use you as His instrument.
Joani - February 10th, 2012 at 9:57 AM
Love it! We are looking into doing one for the 7 missions we support through our non-profit Giving Squared. So fun to have new ideas!
Mary Erickson - February 10th, 2012 at 10:03 AM
My husband is certainly not liking the influence you are having on me! I just peppered him with all kinds of talk of the poverty stricken kids in other countries and how they are kept 2 per crib in a room full of cribs....and how if all the people in churches would just sponsor one child, there wouldn't be anymore children needing sponsors....and then I noticed his eyes were glazed over and he was starting to froth! Boy oh boy! Fifteen years of marriage and I've never changed as much as in the past week reading "7". Thank you for starting that change!!! Keep it up!
Mz. Practicality - February 10th, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Such great ideas! Can't wait to implement #3... truly, the world would be a better place if there were more cell phone bowls! #5 may be a bit of a struggle, but I can do all things through Christ, right?! And I definitely think our church should try #'s 2 and 7... Fabulous! I usually donate a lifetime supply of "stuff" to the Salvation Army each year, but I like #2 and #7 even better because they are more specific endeavors. I have also done #'s 1, 4, and 6 and lived to tell about it. :-D

RE: #1- while tracking my spending as a sophomore in college (hey, I was a bit of a geek when it came to ma money. Lol), I noticed I was spending over $100/month on sodas. SODAS!!! Needless to say, I don't drink soda anymore... well, except for when I treat myself to an occasional root beer float. ;-)

Anywho, thanks so much for posting these seven mini-7 projects. Loved the book (7) and love this list. You constantly challenge me to go to the next level. Jen, you're the greatest thing since sliced bread (and root beer floats)!
EJ Phillips - February 10th, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Love love love. For my month of food fasting, our family gave up fast food (hard when you have preschoolers and a traveling hubby), eating "new food" when there were leftovers, and HFCS. I also halted ALL purchasing of new items save for groceries and a kids' birthday present. (The bday party was at Chuck E Cheese and I almost threw up from the commercialization...) Ummm...we were able to add $700 to our adoption fund. $700!!! And now we've begun even more purging and selling on Craigslist. It's a bit like we've found our treasure in an orphanage in China so we are selling off all our goods to go buy it. Such freedom!! But seriously, I cannot parent an almost 5 yr old and 2 year old without television. So we are just giving that up on Sundays.
Chasity - February 10th, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Love. Love. Love.
Laura Fry - February 10th, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Love the ideas Jen. My husband and I (25 yrs old) have served with YWAM (youth with a mission) for the last two years. Went to India and fell in love with the orphans. God shook our lives up and turned our American dream all upside down. We are wrecked for the ordinary and we love it. We are choosing to adopt from India...applied for a boy...our agency put in for a girl...should be getting the referral any day....kinda fun how God can surprise us, just like a pregnancy. My husband and I have committed to stop buying groceries...we did this last month to help save money for one of our biggest adoption payments. We got crazy creative...tried to clean out the freezer...but there's still tons in there....yeah so we are on month 2 of no groceries! (ok we did allow ourselves milk and eggs...we spent $15 on groceries) I love that there are wrecked people out there! Not just my husband and I!
Jen Hurst - February 10th, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I totally love this! I am good friends of the Stones. I've heard lots of great things about you. Cant wait to read the book.
Angie - February 10th, 2012 at 11:52 AM
The last thing I want to do is have a garage sale. Call me lazy, I don't care, but they are TOO MUCH WORK! I will give my stuff to Goodwill and just make a donation instead. I still get to clean out AND help build a house! My own version of WIN WIN!!!
Kay Smith - February 10th, 2012 at 12:02 PM
May I first mention how much I LOATHE garage sales....however I will relinquish my hate for them for this! I am an adult who works with students for justice at our church....a church filled with teens who will readily admit to the excess in their lives. I can't wait to present this idea to them to help with two safe houses that we support and for which we are continually trying to keep in the front of people's minds so that they will send support. I, too, box it up and take it to goodwill most of the time. But I feel like this is a teachable moment for our kids...on many levels.
Lorin - February 10th, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Bette - February 10th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
For all the garage sale haters - I just called a local Consignment shop in town and told them I had things to get rid of (some furniture etc.) They came to me, we worked out prices, she wrote me a check and loaded it on her trailer. It was heaven!! They paid me better than a garage sale price and I didn't have to figure out a way to get it to the store.
However, I did have selfish wishes already determined for this money.......contemplating. Thank Jen....
Yvette - February 10th, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Ok, I am doing the food thing - I mean really two fridges, 3 freezers - our new kids home from CHina must think we live in a freaking grocery store. THanks for pointing out that it's ok to be creative!

Also encase you read all 5000 posts, I would LOVE the ability to network with other people in the area. I love the garage sale idea, but we live in the country. I would so be willing to bring items to someone in the area for this cause and have a huge garage sale!!
Gwyn - February 10th, 2012 at 4:49 PM
Currently taking in castoff gently used pillowcases, shirts, sheets and fabric (as well as cleaning out drawers and closets here) to make dresses for a friend to take with her to Ethiopia. So exciting to see these things do good!
Karissa Geis - February 10th, 2012 at 5:30 PM
I LOVE IT!! I am trying to submit my info on the Getting Started page so I can get more info to figure out where to start, but it won't let me submit...are we overloading the system, or am I just special? LOL!
Jodie - February 10th, 2012 at 6:19 PM
I am smack dab in the middle of my home study and have not been able to start 7 yet, but I am looking forward to it. Without having read it though I have been carting stuff out of my house by the can and van full. My husband says I'm nesting, I keep telling him I am sure that if they see how our house really looks, not only will they not give me any more kids, but they'll take the ones we already have. Love the last ideas, will have to look more carefully at what I am sending away.
April - February 10th, 2012 at 8:24 PM
My neighborhood does a yard sale every June (we live in CO and don't dig out of the snow until then). I am throwing this out as an option for the profits.
Halee - February 10th, 2012 at 8:47 PM
While I know you have said over and over that this was not a challenge, or a model, whatever.... Jen, I was blessed by your book, but then I wanted to take it further. So I took the "not challenge" Last month I did clothes. You have no idea the blessing that came from that, and frustrations... oh wait, maybe you do. :D Arkansas is just a little colder than Austin I gather, and there were some days that I was miserably cold cause the jacket I chose was not substantial enough, during those freezing walks from the car to class I prayed for the homeless who didn't have a jacket at all, or a car or a home, or class to protect them from the wind and rain.
I am packing up my house and am going to try my very hardest to get 7 items a day ready. So far I have almost 100 clothes (between my husband and me) and jewelry that I am taking to the battered women's shelter and his will go to the homeless shelter. I am giving away things that I like, and still wear but praying over them hoping that they find a lady who needs to feel pretty in that special purple birthday dress.
I am planning to try food starting next week once I can convince my husband that keeping Tony's seasoning is not in the spirit of 7.
Although I felt that need for something better than simply 'more' I am finally getting what my international friends see when they come to the states for school. My friend Sara says their is no such thing as hoarding in her home in Brazil. She said she couldn't even explain the concept to her mom.
Oh and I adopted an orphan in prayer through Elijah's hope, until I am able to adopt for real. His name is Vijay from Bombay and he is beautiful!
So all that to say, whether you intended it to or not your book is changing lives, and the experiment is needed to help us further see all the ways we are blessed, how we can pray for others, and change our lives further to align more closely to something our Savior hopefully wouldn't be ashamed of.

Rebecca - February 12th, 2012 at 4:37 PM
Jen, your blog (and a few others I've stumbled upon lately) are doing crazy things to my heart. The young adults group at my church, a group of about 20 twenty-and-thirty-somethings, is looking for service projects and I'm going to bring this up at our next meeting.

My husband and I are not ready for kids yet, but you (well, God...but definitely partly through you!!) are changing my ideas about adoption and family. I pray that you will be richly blessed for all you give!
Kristen - February 12th, 2012 at 9:21 PM
Jen, I am so grateful for your writing. It speaks directly to my heart as we prepare to bring our kids home from India. We are starting an adoption/foster care/orphan care ministry at our church and 7 is at the top of my list for our group to read together. God is using you to change the world. Keep it up sister!
Kimberly - February 13th, 2012 at 9:39 AM
Crying! Serious tears rolling down my face. Jen has that affect on me but so do all these comments from the amazing people doing so much for others. Jen, thank you so much for making my life hard... I am struggling more and more everyday with my spending, excess, food... Oh my lord the food I half eat and throw out. You are kicking my butt and I am loving it!! Thank you for ruining my life so that I may live it better!
alisha - February 13th, 2012 at 10:19 AM
We have a neighborhood garage sale every spring....I contacted its coordinator about promoting the Garage Sale for Orphans as part of this year's neighborhood garage sale, and we are working at coordinating a time for she and I to meet and plan! So excited!
Jennifer L. - February 13th, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Can I share just a little thing I'm doing? I got a REDcard from Target last year. You can pick a school to donate to and I live out in suburbia where every classroom has a SmartBoard and our highschoolers each get a netbook. I had to read Savage Inequalities by Jonathon Kozol in college (still on my bookshelf!) and it just doesn't feel right to me to give more money to my kids' school when there are schools 25 miles away in the heart of St. Louis that don't have books. So, I did a little research and picked a school in the inner city that was signed up on Target's program and am sending my measly donations there. It feels a bit like offering loaves and fishes, but Jesus does pretty amazing things with little offerings like that.
Sherri - February 13th, 2012 at 5:36 PM
Question: Would you care if I re-posted a small paragraph of your blog on "how to be a village"? We are adopting and you say it so well...the little section on how adoption is NOT Gods plan A, rather it's his plan B.
Thank you!
Jen Hatmaker - February 14th, 2012 at 7:55 AM
I wouldn't mind at all! Thank you for linking it back to my blog so your readers can read more of the story if they want to. Blessings to you on your adoption!!
D.L. Mayfield - February 13th, 2012 at 6:29 PM
Hmmmm . . . I've been thinking about doing the 7 experiment as a Lent "thing". Like, focus on each area for a week (but possibly not the clothes part, as long as we just prune it down during possessions week). I love the concept of giving all the money away. Simplifying our lives for our own sakes does not seem to cut it, does it? Anybody else wanna do it?
Karen - February 13th, 2012 at 8:59 PM
Our family has been planning to hold a garage sale in the spring and this is the perfect place for our profit! I'm going through the house one room at a time, purging stuff. My nine year old cleaned his room this weekend and has a pile of toys set aside. We are on our way!
Jen Myers - February 14th, 2012 at 4:14 AM
I have finished 7 and it is making it's way through my friends as I write. Friday after reading your latest blog I have 2 additional couples on board with a GS4O and we are excited- mostly because it is so doable and our families can get involved. We are so excited! I am currently recruiting a few more women to join our 7/GS4O Council. Note we are in the midwest and Indiana will not be ready for any GS'g for a couple more months (currently snowing and 30degrees)but we are hoping that will give us time to make it a huge multi-family sale requiring a church parking lot to fit it all in! I totally expect that we will be adding funds to a 7 house sometime in late May or early June (you will probably have several completed by then.) Thank you so much for practical inspiration and the constant humorous edge. If you can make me laugh, cry and challenge me all in the same page I'm totally sold! On another note- our family plans to sit down and choose a girl from Haiti to sponsor to further connect us to the cause in a more personal way!!!
Casey - February 14th, 2012 at 10:11 AM
I pulled 70 pieces of clothing out of my closet last week. Made me a bit sick. I have been off FB and Twitter for 14 days and while I am not doing 7 in 7 months. I am doing 7 in 7 months. I am attempting to do all 7 for at least the next 7 months. The things are is staying in the bank longer, drive through restaurants are calling and asking where I am. We are eating out of the fridge not the bag. That is hard!!! I am trudging forth...and a few friends are wondering what I am up to and reading and purging right along with me!
Brooke - February 14th, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Thank you for your book. I didn't buy it for the template/program. I bought it to remind myself that I am not alone on this journey! I laughed ridiculously hard at the section about split personalities! It was like you had come grocery shopping with me! Our journey started in 2007 with FPU by Dave Ramsey. We thought we were getting out of debt to save for the future, but God had other plans. In '09 we did a year of non-consumption and it ROCKED our worlds. We realized then that God had directed us to get our finances in order so we could give NOT store up! So exciting! It is still a battle of balance! Between now and Easter we are taking on a daily decluttering of one small area in our home. It's hard to believe there is still more to purge 5 years in (yuck!). We will also be doing a media free week! Thank you for sharing your journey!
Dina - February 14th, 2012 at 2:48 PM
I totes love your book! So much that I have become severely evangelistic about it...sharing it's good news to all and hoping to convert some fellow mutineers along the way! Personally, I'm purging to donate and reaching out to love and quitting cable to sponsor ($60/mo. cable bill can sponsor 2 more kids...craz-ay!). The kids and I are even planning monthly one day fasts when we eat only the food of a nation's poorest poor while we learn and pray for them. The real kicker though would be if a move to Austin is in order so I can have someone grow a lovely garden for me, too! :) Thank you for your radical example and for the swift kick in my arse!

Thank you for showing me the practical benefits of fasting, breaking from the feast to give, give, and give some more!
Flower Patch Farmgirl - February 15th, 2012 at 10:32 AM
You know what makes me mad? That you don't talk to me (ie blog) every single day. I want your family to make their own Mexican shrimp gumbo while you type. I know it's wrong. I know they probably need you sometimes. But it's really not fair, because I NEED YOU IN MY EAR. Punks.

Also, I'm only on chapter 3 but I'm all jacked up already. I send you pretend text messages while I'm reading. I also pretend I'm in the council. I'm the weird one.
Jen Hatmaker - February 18th, 2012 at 5:25 PM
My family is so selfish. Let's pray for them. CHILDREN, RAISE THYSELVES!
MK Jorgenson - February 15th, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Something is conspiring against me and my selfishness. His name is probably Jesus.

My husband and I are doing a budget challenge this month that led to giving up pop (he's on day 8ish, I'm on day 2...I'm a bit slow to the party). In January, I decided--without having any reason or forethought--to not buy any clothes this year.

There was a presentation about a missions trip to Haiti during our Sunday night service last week.

And now, here I am, reading your blog and waiting for my hold of the book to be available from the library.

Yeah, it must be Jesus conspiring against my selfishness...guess we'll have to see what kind of misery this begins.

{ps-thanks for your part in it, you and your dumb book ;) }
Cole - February 16th, 2012 at 2:56 PM
Love the #7 idea. Earlier this month God spoke loudly to me through Luke 12 . . . no storing up treasures is pretty clear, but it was v. 32-33 that rocked me to the core. God desires to give us the kingdom, but we've got no room for the kingdom if our lives are full of stuff! "Sell your possessions and give to the needy." God could speak a Word and provide for all those in need, but He hasn't. He's told us to do it. And those around the world experiencing hunger and thirst and death . . . they probably don't question God's love for them. They question mine. My love for them and my love for the Father. OUCH!

So we've begun a massive purge. And not just the extra stuff laying around, but laying everything on the altar and only picking it back up if He says okay. We're having a huge yard sale this Spring and inviting not just our whole church to purge and donate, but our community too. Even people who don't know Jesus get excited about helping others and it is a great way to show them what being a Christ follower is really about!

I love that God spoke through His Word and is now using your book to confirm and challenge! Thanks!
RAM - February 18th, 2012 at 4:20 PM

My husband and I donated to build a safe house in Haiti through H.E.L.P. but it is not showing our donation on the website. In fact, it is not showing any donations which I know cannot be accurate. Any reason why the website is not reflecting the donations? I am very excited about this project and want to follow the website for updates but so far I'm feeling a little sad. 0% can't be!
Jen Hatmaker - February 18th, 2012 at 5:24 PM
I'm finding out! You're not the only one...stay tuned. (Chris, HELP founder, has been in Haiti for two weeks...probably the source of the lag.) Thanks for donating!!!!!!!!!!
Hannah - February 19th, 2012 at 10:48 PM
..If you want to quadruple your money..sell your excess on EBAY...since readig Jen's post about Excess in Decmeber I have been purging my house. I'm only 33...I don't know how on earth I've already accumulated so much already, but for the past month I've been selling my 2 kids clothes and my clothes on EBAY and have made...wait for it.....$1800.00!!!!! ( yes, this does mean- i had an excess of excess) bt, I'm turning it around...and that money is going into a little fund called "mission trip fund/adoption fund/get me some more babies fund/move to Africa fund" whatever...and i feel lighter..and I'm not stopping for awhile..there's so much more to lose and so much more to gain! Plus when we move to the missionfield we really can't take that much this is like training camp. ;)

Traci - February 20th, 2012 at 10:36 AM
FBC Cleburne is IN!!! We are cleaning out our excess and planning to have a huge garage sale at the end or April. Our goal is to build one house! Let's do this thing!

I must confess that the amount of excess in my house alone is ridiculous. Even our daughter who has been home from Ethiopia for 8 months is getting into the purge (mostly clothes she never liked or can't fit into anymore, but still....)

We serve an awesome, BIG God and I cannot wait to see how He uses all of us!
Haley - February 20th, 2012 at 6:06 PM
I am the epitome of a cherry picker, and I'm so over it. I just read 7 with my bff D.L. Mayfield and posted about it on my blog! So excited!
Jen Hatmaker - February 20th, 2012 at 6:52 PM
Kodi - February 21st, 2012 at 1:27 PM
Our plan is to build one house "personally" by the end of the year. We would do this by cutting our budget in areas of excess. Then we thought about ways to get others - family and friends involved - and think doing a "match" up to $6k would help promote and encourage. So our goal is to build ONE house with our own money, and ONE house with money from others - TWO HOUSES by the end of the year! I am always challenged to donate when there is a 100% match, I hope others will be too! Consider doing a MATCHING CAMPAIGN of your own!n
Lori - February 22nd, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Just being turned on to "Jen Hatmaker" ... I think I'm in love!!!! THANK YOU !!!!!
D.L. Mayfield - February 22nd, 2012 at 2:58 PM
um, maybe I am a dum dum head but how can I get the button for the anti-trafficking house for my blog? It is blowing up--everyone wants to give up stuff for Lent! So I say, let's shovel that extra money somewhere else, where the Spirit can really work with it.
Deena - February 23rd, 2012 at 1:46 PM
I am soooo lovin' your book and am also in love with the ideas you wrote about in this blog post! 7 is the first book of yours that I have ever read. I was so motivated by it! I have so many pages of the book with the corners folded over to go back and re-read. I have purchased the book for friends, and I am on a mission to do good with all of the crazy junk I have throughout my house! To top off my love of your book (and writing style), we have a little girl that we adopted from Ethiopia in 2010! When I started reading your book, I didn't even know you were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. It was like icing on the top of this delicious read! Thanks so much!
Deena - February 23rd, 2012 at 1:48 PM
I just left a comment, but forgot to mention that my first act of "7" was to NOT buy any clothing for myself in 2012! It is Feb. 23, and so far, so good. Although the "cherry picker" in me has allowed myself to buy a couple of accessories throughout the year...I have bought three scarfs so far. ;)
Anna - February 25th, 2012 at 9:27 PM
I appreciate your book
McMary - February 26th, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Sounds like garage sales have helped many orphans come home. I did one also to help fund my adoption form Russia--many friends also chipped in old stuff, helped me with the sale, and/or bought stuff. It was awesome. Anything that didn't sell was donated to goodwill.
Chandra - February 27th, 2012 at 3:53 PM
I posted a link to this blog post on my FB and within 30 minutes I had 5 church members reply and ask to do it. SO...tonight at our ministry meeting---WE are putting it on the calendar! I'm so thankful for you and this post and for the HS moving among His people!!! Praise be to GOD!
Lasso the Moon - February 29th, 2012 at 5:55 PM
I was going to post almost the exact same thing as RuthAnn here, but she said it so well. I have been wrecked by your book. I too was up all night, praying for the adoptable foster kids in Texas, whose pictures you can SEE ON THE WEBSITE. What is happening to me!?! I just wrote a review of your book on my blog, although I feel like I've only taken baby steps toward where I want to be. Mostly so I don't scare my husband. Thank you for following God's leading.nAnna
Jennifer - February 29th, 2012 at 11:58 PM
When I told my husband I wanted to implement some things from your book, he looked extremely frightened. I tried to comfort him by saying we would start small, and that perhaps he should read the book too to get some ideas. But this list is a perfect place to start.
Leah M - March 4th, 2012 at 10:54 AM
nCan i just say that going to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert, reading Irresistible Revolution, and 7 all in the same month, while fasting for God to do something in your life will SERIOUSLY mess you up!nnI finished Jen's book yesterday because I couldn't put it down after starting it while waiting at the DMV. I was a serious WRECK. I have been thinking and feeling everything in these chapters (except recycling. I thought that was a hippie thing, too. Now i have to start doing it.). The excess, a teenage son who thinks everything should be hand delivered to the table in front of him, a husband whose idea of retirement is "having you all to myself, honey", and me sobbing because 4.5 million children in Ethiopia have no one to keep them safe day after day. nnAnd guess what our sermon was about today? Living in your comfort zone. Christianity from the La-Z-Boy. I'm done with that. nnI want to grill out with the homeless, get rid of stuff I don't need, redirect my spending, and bring home a child who needs a loving family. nnGarage sale is scheduled for April 13-14 (I live in the north. Its COLD!)n
heather - March 12th, 2012 at 9:54 PM
It says all the money has been raised for the H.E.L.P. house -- any chance you will be having them set up another home for us to donate to as an online community?
Nicole - March 13th, 2012 at 10:59 PM
My husband was the same way until he read the first he's in with me and were on week 2!!
Saje - May 7th, 2013 at 11:32 AM
The link doesn't work anymore :(
Leave a Comment

Blog (1)