Oh. Man. I have been a huge Jen Hatmaker fan for almost a year now – as long as I have known of her. If you want to look into the life of a woman who is genuine, hilarious, and truly wrecked for the kingdom of God in the best way ever, I highly suggest that you check our her blog, her books, her speaking engagements, the show HGTV just did about her family’s move into a new home and the renovations that followed, or just follow her on Facebook. Her love for our Savior is contagious.
I saw a Facebook post last month that she was re-releasing her book Interrupted from a few years ago, but with revised and expanded content, and wanted to offer 250 bloggers a chance to be sent an early release copy to share about with their readers. So thank YOU my lovely readers for the chance to tell you a little about this book! And I got to enjoy some quiet time on a plane ride to Boston this morning to finally dig into my notes and write!
First of all, I think this book is for everyone: men and women, believers and non-believers, young and old. Everyone. In our busy and fast-paced world it is so easy to become a creature of habits, put our heads down, and just get through life numbing yourself to anything that disrupts your focus. How often do you lift your head up and think: “what if I’m missing the point?” or “is this all there is?”. It’s also so easy to feel discouraged in our time and feel like God has never been more absent in society than He is now. (But this isn’t true.)
Second – this book is best described as a conversation. I probably didn’t read it as quickly as I was supposed to, but honestly I loved reading and then having a time to pause and reflect and dig into my heart and get into prayer before hours or days later I’d pick it back up and continue.
During this few weeks of reading, I FINALLY took something that had been on my heart for a long while and turned it into action: connecting with and sharing what I hope and pray is a meaningful gesture with the homeless people I see daily who are begging on street corners and at major intersections that I drive by every day. I would avert my eyes at traffic lights in hopes to not FEEL anything that made me uncomfortable. I sat in tears for a good while after I felt these words jump off the page and squeeze my judgemental heart until I wanted to burst:
We are not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can’t withhold social relief because we’re not convinced it will be perfectly managed…we are only qualified to administer mercy, not judgement.
So I set off on a trip to Target and bought supplies to make what I now refer to as “blessings bags” — bags filled with things to make a poor and homeless person just a little more comfortable and a note of loving encouragement and prayer. I keep them in my car and hand them out at traffic lights like a lunatic when I am at an intersection where someone is begging. I am still thinking and praying and knowing that this will continue to evolve, but I feel like it is hopefully a helpful start. And I have already been so humbled by my few interactions in the last week that have involved brief but beautiful conversations with the recipient.
Being ignorant in our intervention is just as unhelpful as detaching ourselves because we want to assume that the oppressed people of our world are thankless, reckless, and irresponsible. Maybe there are some who are, but when we stand at the gates of a Heaven we will face an account of our lives – what we did and what we didn’t do. Dig into Matthew 25 here, but the main idea of what matters and what doesn’t is our care for the oppressed. I remember being annoyed by the WWJD bracelet fad as a kid. But there really couldn’t be a better question to ask ourselves constantly. What would Jesus do? Because whatever the answer is in any situation, do that. And then do more of that.
I practically want to recreate most of the book for you right now because there is just so much to talk about and think about. But instead I’ll share one more concept that I really identified with: the concept of Communion as a call to action in our lives, not just a ritual process at church. Jen explains it in great detail from a theological standpoint that amazed me and I had never heard explained this way. When Jesus shared the bread and the cup with his disciples, it was a symbolic ritual, but also “a new prototype of discipleship. ‘Continuously make MY sacrifice real by doing this very thing.’ Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity…we don’t simply remember the meal; we become the meal.” If we are to feed His sheep, we need to be broken to feed others.
Boom. Brain explosion, yes?
So I challenge you as I challenge myself to not strive to be at the top in life, but to find the bottom and pour yourselves into the oppressed people who Jesus would’ve no doubt been right alongside of. And also to strive for great things: great giving and great loving — to not get complacent and comfortable. I think to a person who used to be very close to me who I was so humbled and amazed by the deep and powerful connection in their heart to seeing the needs of others and wanting to go to the corners of the earth to make things better — but fear of the uncomfortable and breaking the cycle of expectations is such a hard barrier to break through for all of us, and this person especially. It breaks my heart. I can’t say I get it right either, but I know that I don’t want to (and really CAN’T) ignore the call anymore. I want to live big and love more boldly than ever before. Are you with me?!
Ask Jesus to interrupt your life so that you are never the same again.
Now the fun part! Where to get your copy. I also want to send someone one. I wanted to do a giveaway with my copy, but it’s well-loved at this point and you deserve a fresh one! So comment below with an answer to one of these:
1) What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world?
2) In your community, what would make the Good News seem good again to people watching the church?
3) Do you use the Bible to defend things in your life instead of define it? How so?