If your first response to that title question is, “Who’s Jen Hatmaker?” oh, how much you’ve missed.
Don’t waste another minute. Visit her blog or Facebook page (where I’ve seen her garner a thousand-plus likes in under four minutes) and read her posts. Listen to her heart and challenges. As a bonus, she’ll make you laugh. Even better, get thee to a bookstore and buy her books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. I recommend reading Interrupted first. Or for a whole different Jen flavor, you can watch her renovating houses for big families on HGTV.
Now if you totally know who Jen Hatmaker is, your response was probably this:
Why would Jen Hatmaker want to be on YOUR board of directors?
Or at the very least:
How could YOU possibly get Jen Hatmaker on your board of directors?
I’m about to tell you the secret, a secret you can even replicate if you wish.
But first, some background.
I’ve been reading Andy Andrews’ book The Seven Decisions with my MasterMind group. (Don’t even ask; I don’t have the energy to explain MasterMind groups, but I am sure you can google it.) In chapter two, “The Guided Decision,” which is about gaining wisdom, Andrews says we need a board of directors. We need to seek out people with wisdom who could advise us in particular areas of our life.
There were several areas of my life where I wanted Jen Hatmaker’s wisdom, and Andy Andrews made it possible for me to have her on my board. No, he didn’t introduce me to her. Instead, he made it even easier by saying this:
“Brainstorm about who you’d love to have on your board, even if you don’t currently have a relationship with him or her. You don’t even have to tell these people they are on your board.”
Bam! There it was, permission to put Jen Hatmaker—who wouldn’t know me if I tripped her in an airport (which I would totally do to get her attention, or maybe just because I’m clumsy)—on my board of directors.
Would I love to know Jen Hatmaker personally? Uh, duh. Like every other of her 288K Facebook fans, I’m completely confident she and I would be BFFs if only we could meet. But, baby, I can face reality, and it ain’t gonna happen.
However, I can still consult Jen virtually, through her writing and speaking. And here’s why I want her on my board:
Jen Hatmaker shows me what it can look like to:
- Passionately follow Jesus
Interrupted was what brought on my Jen crush. Jen realized that “in order for God’s kingdom to come, my kingdom had to go.” And she let it go. She and her husband reordered their whole lives.
I have to remind myself that my kingdom must go—Every. Single. Day. Sometimes many, many times a day. And a reordering is continually in order.
- Unashamedly be yourself
Jen lives most of her life, even on screen, in jeans and t-shirts. When during her 7 experiment she reduced her wardrobe to 7 pieces for an entire month, her list included three tees, jeans, drawstring knit capris, and one dress shirt. Tennis shoes and cowboy boots counted as the one shoe item. Not a pair of nice dress pants or skirt for her speaking engagements. No accessories or jewelry. Just Jen as she is.
For me, this idea of being comfortable in your skin is great encouragement. I’m a girl who likes to live in Life Is Good tees and jeans with Little MissMatched socks. I get dressed up for speaking engagements (and probably always will), but I also find myself dressing nicer for Panera meet-ups with professional people who I fear might judge me, or worse, dismiss me. You know, that whole “first impressions” thing. I want to remember it’s okay to be myself, exactly as I’m comfortable living.
- Speak and write authentically
Jen Hatmaker bleeds on the page. She shares exactly what she believes and is thinking about and what she’s struggling with. She doesn’t pretty up what she has to say to be more palatable for the standard Christian audience.
What God is teaching me I want to be willing to share as well, without worrying if people will like it. When my blog newsletter goes out and people immediately unsubscribe, I fear I wrote on a too controversial or odd topic (like last week’s strippers or the week before’s sanitary pads). Which leads to the next point:
- Be brave
Jen has gotten some really nasty comments on her Facebook posts. She will readily admit that they hurt, that they may make her cry. But it doesn’t stop her from talking about issues that need to be talked about or defending those who have no voice.
I once wrote a Facebook post about a controversial issue. While several friends kindly offered opinions and even articles on why they believed I was wrong, one ripped me to shreds with nasty sarcasm and accusations. I was undone. I couldn’t function for a few days. And to be honest, I haven’t made a comment or post on anything nearly as explosive since, even though I still have very strong opinions or concerns.
My MasterMind group suggested a WWJD bracelet—this time for What Would Jen Do?—but I didn’t want to get sacrilegious. And yet since I believe Jen Hatmaker is trying to do what Jesus would do, I want to think—as I write, as I speak, as I love, as I listen—am I willing to be like Jen?
Will I be brave?
Will I be authentic?
Will I be myself?
Will I passionately follow Jesus?
And so Jen Hatmaker serves on my board of directors. And I’m really thankful she’s there.