Countless stories of people who’ve been victimized by burglary tell that it wasn’t the missing stuff, but the lack of security they sensed that bothered them the most. Take the DVR, but when you make me feel unsettled in my own home, it’s game on.
So goes for identity theft. I read in a (fiction) book about someone whose identity had been stolen to the point that he couldn’t find a place to live or go anywhere without things falling to pieces around him. And in this digital age, I can’t imagine trying to make basic purchases (thank you Amazon) without the convenience of Visa or Paypal.
So I’ve felt a similar sense of apprehension and anger when I started reading a book by my own Bizzaro Twin a few days ago. I’ve mentioned only 812 times on FB that Jen Hatmaker’s book
is rocking my world. Phenomenal. She challenges consumerism head-on through month long fasts of food, clothes, waste, clutter, media and stress. I could pick any of those and wave my flag high and proud. Well, except clothes, as we all know my fashionista failings. (But after reading that chapter I realize that it’s got its claws in me further than I believe).
So on the one hand, I read and say silently (or – who’s kidding? – aloud) YES. Amen. Preach IT. I love what is revealed through her “experimental mutiny against excess”. I miss my friends living nearby because I’d bring the book over and read to them on the couch.
And there’s the other hand. The hand that looks exactly like mine. Reading her words makes me feel like she stole the draft posts from my blog, did some fantastic editing, added in some Austin-speak, and published it. She’s flighty and arm-waggly like me. She needs all-or-nothing to really learn the lesson like me (no whispering. all shouts). She shares my large, toothy smile. Her humor borders on sarcasm with a hint of impropriety like yours truly. At one point her husband makes reference to her “thinking she’s hilarious.” Ummm, hello?
So as she writes about killing houseplants and loving condiments and getting loud by laughing so much with her friends, I can’t help but feel like she’s invading my personal space.
And then there’s the issue of calling.
She studies the Bible, writes books and speaks to women all over the country. To help her do this, she has the library the size of Kansas.
Sure, sure, Patsy Claremont has a similar vocation and she’s 80 and has nothing to do with me (except I do aspire to wear leather pants and red heels at her age like she wore at WOF). But this woman, Bizarro Me aka Jen, speaks not about the historical context of the concept of Markian Priority nor the fluffy, typical woman’s ministry talk of “take time for yourself… you’re beautiful just like you are” material, but about the, as I like to call it, “what this looks like.” That what we buy, eat and watch… how we rest, talk and play… matters. It matters to God and it matters to others.
Except, that mine wasn’t.
I read that book and was blown away. I told everyone I know and I frequently ruined dinners with Husband over my convictions.
But if you look at my life, the day-to-day, the what-I’ve-done-since, we start to see roads diverge.
She and her husband left their jobs and comfort and planted a church. She wrote books and spoke to women and impacted lives.
I had a few babies. I write in a blog every now and again. I get on soapboxes and declare war on Walmart and fast food. And then I go to bed.
So I greet this new year reading this Bizzaro book with dichotomous emotion. There’s the half that wants to sit down and cry that someone is living my life and living it better. In my doomsday mood I see the market is saturated for overly-dramatic, slightly-strange-until-you-know-us, impassioned women who love Jesus and want to tell others about what that can mean. She’s beat me to the punch and has better hair.
But then there’s a part in my pinky toe that reminds me that our biggest difference is that she took steps of faith; she followed where she was led. Our similarities end and our differences begin with her putting her pen on paper and offering herself to the people of God as it’s needed.
I feel like that episode of Friends when Phoebe finds her identity thief in dance class and is angered at what a great life she’s leading on Phoebe’s behalf and is inspired to take on a few more adventures in her life.
Don’t hear a tone of belittling Jen’s work through a voice of “well, I could do that.”(Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had that attitude before, but not about this woman. Her authenticity and her wise-level of transparency sets the bar extremely high. Though she calls herself an encephalitic her humility is evident and something that I’m 900% sure I wouldn’t be able to maintain). But rather I feel strongly that she is serving in a phenomenal way. She’s not competition but inspiration. She proves that the world needs a personality and a platform like hers – ours – because I need her message, the book I’ve been hungrily devouring for the past 48 hours.
If someone as normal (well, normal with a side of strange) as her can impact, inspire and ignite someone as normal (with a side of strange, plus a bit of a crunchy dessert) as me, then maybe – MAYBE – God would use someone like me to stir the heart and mind of someone else. When I’ve heard these comments before, I tend to brush them off as complements rather than a reminder of a calling. When bouts of boredom or a feeling of unsettledness looms – that nagging sense that I should be doing something else but I can’t put my finger on exactly what or how – instead of following a leading I tend to take up a new hobby. Or a nap. Sometimes I just take a nap.
But that’s what I’d like to change for 2012. I know that being in a new land with new people, a husband with a new job in a new house, driving a new baby around in a new van, all this newness for a new year is plenty enough change for a person. But perhaps my sense of “something more” isn’t in response to all this change. Perhaps all this change is just breeding ground for me to discover my Something Else. Steps into a world unknown. So unknown that I can’t describe it. But much like pornography and the Supreme Court, “I’ll know it when I see it.” (I know, great simile. But think of another, I dare you.)
But first I must jump. Away from the time eater of FB. Away from fears of failure. Deeper into the messages that become imprinted in my heart and on my mind. Into a new routine.
Thank you, Bizzaro Jen, not only for your messages about a mutiny against consumerism (and I can’t wait to read about how you were Interrupted), but for showing me that someone, somewhere, needs who you are.