For months now, I’ve been trying to figure out my favorite part of Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For the Love.” It’s been nearly 6 months since I was asked to be on the launch team and it feels like a whirlwind experience. Part of the reason is because I’ve had the opportunity to be part of an amazing community we call the #500. I blogged about the experience here and I continue to be amazed by it.
And then, after I read the book (the first time) I wrote this post regarding healthy boundaries and saying ‘no.’ This is what Jen refers to as having a "balanced beam." And that general theme is still pretty high up on my favs list. But the truth is, as of this moment I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I love the most. It’s not that there aren’t exceptional parts (there are).
It’s that there are so many.
But because today is launch day and I believe this book is fabulous, I'm going to give my favorite pieces a shot.
As a counselor, I have a particular propensity to listen closely when a Christian leader discusses principles around self-care, boundaries, parenting and relationships. This is because there’s a whole heap of terrible advice out there. We hear suggestions like: Be better, ignore it, try harder, pray exactly this way, or even buy this one thing and your life will be perfect.
Or, as Jen would say, "Horsecrappery."
These thoughts are usually well-intentioned, but they frequently come from a place of ignorance, privilege, and poor theology. Additionally, I think they add to the well of shame that so many of us can get stuck in. Most importantly, these little gems are lacking because they focus on our own actions versus the ultimate life giver of change and perspective.
We all have a responsibility in our actions and life, but unless we recognize our need to weave grace into every nook and cranny of our existence, our actions will fall flat.
This is what Jen does so well in “For the Love,” she models this fragrant grace that we all so desperately want and need. She proposes that we can’t go wrong with integrating love and grace in all things.
We can’t love God too much, or people, or kiddos, or our spouses, our churches or even ourselves. It’s always a win to love well.
True life giving love is the result of who we become as Christians. And, when we know Jesus, it’s as if we have access to the well that doesn’t run dry.
Sure, there can be particular ways to love each other well, but we never succeed by throwing in a heaping dose of judgment or control or worry.
Jen says it so well here:
“God measures our entire existence by only two things: How we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong “ (pg 66).
And so dear readers, may I just say to you, this book is worth your time. Jen weaves in her love of Jesus within her love of people in each and every page. Sometimes you'll snort as she discusses why leggings aren't pants and sometimes you'll bawl when she talks about the way she loves her kiddos, but you'll know she is with you and for you.
Interested in reading "For the Love"? Leave me a comment and tell me why you'd like to read it or sign up for my email list (for 2 entries)! I'll pick a winner by Friday, August 21st. Check back here on Friday to see who won!