that time I was accidentally creepy

By Posted in - books & general & Uncategorized & writing on August 18th, 2014 15 Comments

I once used salsa to try to bribe a girl into being my friend.

No, this wasn’t some 4th grade will you sit with me at the lunch table kind of thing.  But it was a I think you are super cool and awesome and I would like to be your friend and I heard that you love salsa so I hoped that our mutual love of spicy condiments might be enough common ground to insert myself into your life somehow kind of thing.

It smacked of desperation and bordered on creepy, I can see that now. Reaching out to some chick you have never met over the twittershpere and begging her to go eat Mexican food with you because you just KNOW you would hit it off is… well, let’s just say that twitter-stalking is not what the cool kids do. It is super hard to explain- in 140 characters or less – that you aren’t some weird creepy stranger but are just hungry (spiritually, and now that Mexican food has been mentioned, physically.)  And incidentally, if you say “I promise I’m not weird or creepy” in a tweet, you are guaranteed to come off as weird and creepy.

Not my proudest moment.

But have you ever met someone or seen a tiny glimpse of their lives and been so impressed that you just knew you needed to be friends with them?  That there was just something about them that matched up with you somehow?  Please say yes.  Okay good; me too.

Enter Jen Hatmaker, stage right.  She’s been on the Christian writing/speaking scene for awhile, but I had never heard of her until last year when I heard her speak at the IF GATHERING  (by the way, if you don’t know what this is, you need to.  Check it out immediately, this is life changing stuff.)  Jen was one of the speakers at the conference and I just liked the profound wisdom that she was spewing, her very laid back style, and her sense of humor (also, her outfit.)  So later, I looked up her blog and DUG. IT.  I mean, I really dove on in and read 6   okay fine, 22 posts and thought This Girl is Coooool.  She had this whole other approach to Christianity and Motherhood and Womanhood and Servanthood that I had never really seen before.  I really felt inspired and connected to the way she saw things and felt things and wrote things.  So I figured we should probably just go ahead and exchange matching heart necklaces over queso and come up with cutesy nicknames for each other.  Because it was CRYSTAL CLEAR to me that we were bestest friends and she just didn’t know it yet (I mean, HELLO – she lives in Austin, I live in Austin; she likes salsa, I like salsa; she loves Jesus, I love Jesus; she makes me snort-laugh, I love to snort-laugh…  and everyone knows that the very best friendships are built upon the foundation of a mutual love of salty foods and a Savior. …No, I am serious.)

Okay, really though, I just knew there was something about this girl that I liked.  So as I continued to read her blog and then eventually her books, I began to see a pattern in her character and her writing that I really respected, even envied.  The thing about it is that Jen Hatmaker is not afraid to be herself.  And even more impressively, she is also not afraid of being shaped and grown and corrected and sanctified in front of a vastly large and easily judgmental audience, may God bless her brave little soul.

This lady is For Reals, Y’all.

I guess it is probably because vulnerability, transparency and authenticity are all things that I strive for, so I admire it when I see it in someone else.  And when I see someone resist the urge to cower and conform, I pay attention.  When I see someone dig down deep for courage and conviction and seek God’s will for their lives, I take notice.  And when they do all of this while making me giggle-pee a little, I twitter-stalk them (you should know that I deleted my desperate -and very public- invitation for friendship/fried food about 2.5 minutes after having posted it- there is a limit to my shame.)

So when I happened to read her latest post (13 seconds after she hit publish) that her book Interrupted was being re-released with additional material, and that aspiring bloggers/writers like myself could read an advance copy and then write about it, I of course jumped at the opportunity (because one of the things you do for your best friend is support her in her endeavors.)

I had actually read the original release of the book, or at least most of it, back when I was in the middle of the house building, outdoor showering, 500SF trailer living chapter of my life and loved it (the book, not my experience.)  I thought it was pretty good then, but with all the distractions of life swirling around me, I kinda grazed through it.  Which brings me to yet another God-orchestrated coincidence: Jen ALSO recently went through living in deplorable conditions while enjoying the risk and rewards of moving, living in squalor, cooking & bathing outside, and other such perks of temporary living while building/remodeling- you can see her on My Big Family Renovation right now!  AND SEE WHAT I MEAN- WE HAVE SO MUCH IS COMMON (please disregard the live twitter feeds along the bottom of the screen during the show – just in case I fold again and try to lure her in with a a bowl of queso and a chile relleno.)

But back to the book: So I just now finished reading the revised and expanded version.  This time, I actually paid attention to her words and reeled with total shock and awe as she told her story of  what it feels like “When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.”  And as much as I think we would have in common and could bond over house horrors, demolition drama, and fried food, the bottom line is that I respect a girl who listens for God’s voice and then follows it, wherever it may lead.  Jen Hatmaker is not only unapologetically honest and real with her struggles and self-deprecatingly funny, she is impressively obedient to God’s call on her life.  I basically want to be her when I grow up.

Allow me to climb up on my soapbox for a moment here: We need more folks like her out there, not only as writers, but as doers of the word.  We need people in our lives – leaders and pastors and writers and speakers and friends – who will help to shape us more into the image of Christ.  We need people who accept us as our worst selves but also encourage us to be our best selves.

We don’t need more sermons from our leaders; we need more service.  We need folks who are willing to be real and human and broken and shaped before our very eyes, and then get down to the real business of Christianity, serving the “least and last.”  We need people who are less willing to preach about Jesus and more willing to live like Him before our eyes.  Because THAT is how the gospel is spread and THAT is how Christianity is made credible.

Okay, so I shall now take a deep breath and climb back off my soapbox and get real honest here:  I need more folks like that around me for the very sake of hopefully shaping me into the same. I need people who chisel out the hard narrow way and then invite the weaker folks (me) on the road beside them to live lives that are bigger than our own tiny worlds. THEN, those of us (me) who have been blessed enough to have had the way paved by these pioneers, need to stop sitting at home reading books about it and get busy LOVING GOD AND SERVING OTHERS, like Jesus told us to do.

That is why I want to be friends with Jen Hatmaker. Not because she is on HGTV or in leadership.  Not even just because she is funny or can write like I wish I could.  But because I want to be around real honest people who are truth-telling, grace-giving kind of folks that are doing something good in this world. Don’t you?

If you are looking for a writer who, like a mother birdie, gently nudges you out of the nest towards a bigger, better, holier more missional Christianity, Jen Hatmaker is your girl. And if you are looking to be challenged and inspired; if you think there must be something bigger, better, MORE to this Christianity thing than a Sunday sing-along and sermon combo, Interrupted is your book. As Jen puts it in her introduction, “If you have looked at the church at large, the current presentation of a ‘good obedient life,’ or the Christian effect on culture and asked, ‘Is this all there is?’ then you’re in the right place. So then, let me tell you how my consumer, comfortable life was divinely interrupted- and perhaps yours will be too.”

Quick Summary of the book: Interrupted shares the story of when Jen dared to  pray, “God, raise up in me a holy passion” and theninterrupted_page-28 had the courage to follow God’s voice when He did just that. She discovered that she was “blessing the blessed” and “feeding the fed” and that she was living “…a mirror image of culture, just a churched-up version.”  God then began to lead Jen and her husband down a road towards more missional living, making Interrupted the story of essentially “what happens when God shouts in your face and demands entire life change.”

I liked Interrupted for a thousand reasons, but mostly because it gives me a hope and a rope.  I too, have a hunger inside me that I believe can only be filled by a closer walk with God (which according to this book, can best be attained through living in closer resemblance to His serving character.)  So when I feel that gnawing inside of me but fear that I am the only one or that what I yearn for cannot possibly be done, this book gives me something to cling to. This book shows me how to recognize God’s call to service and then have the guts to follow.

A couple of exceedingly painful points that Jen makes in the book that are continuing to convict/haunt me: “It’s hard to dismiss the idea of a redeeming Christ when His followers are pouring their lives out for the last and the least.” And then later, “Our faith communities run the gamut from judgmental high church to feel-good talent shows, and people aren’t buying it anymore…Our only hope is to follow the example of Jesus and get back out there, winning people over with ridiculous love and a lifestyle that causes them to finally sit up and take notice…This is my high calling to live on mission as an adopted daughter of Jesus.  If people around me aren’t moved by Christ of my church, then I must be doing a miserable job of representing them both.”

Preach it sister!!!  But also, OUCH.

Interrupted is the story of Jen’s journey in becoming the type of disciple that I can only pray I will someday be; a humbling and painful transition to more Christ-like and missional living.  Jen was good enough to share it, and I hope I am smart enough to learn from it.  And if you too have interest in taking a behind-the-scenes peek at her journey, I have one free copy in my possession that I will be giving away to one lucky reader.  The rest of you can order online here. To win this one free copy, all you have to do is post a comment and let me know which book quote below is the most interesting/challenging to you and why (also, sharing a story of a time you have accidentally been creepy will make me feel less alone and earn you bonus points.) I will be choosing the lucky winner at the end of the week and blogging about this more next time as well.

But before I go, allow me to share my favorite quote from the whole book. I believe that this one tiny sentence not only perfectly summarizes what Interrupted has taught me, but is also the very story of the Gospel, as lived out by Jesus himself…

“Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed.”


My prayer is that this reminder of God’s call for humble, missional Christianity will latch on in my life and help me make a shift in my own walk.  In fact, I hope that my heart is so substantially affected that I may also be blessed enough to find my comfortable Christianity completely wrecked and totally interrupted.




Favorite Quotes from Interrupted:


“The largest factor in feeling unfed is not feeding others.”

“Discipleship is not a personal journey with few links to community; it exists to spur one another on toward liberation and execute justice for those too trapped to free themselves… This is not about doing church; it’s about being the church… Church simply provides a nice context for us to live on mission together.”

“Do we need to be fed more of the Word, or are we simply undernourished from an absence of living the Word?”

“If an endless array of Bible studies, programs, church events, and sermons have left you dry, please hear this: Living on mission where you’ve been sent will transform your faith journey.  At the risk of oversimplifying it, I’ve seen missional living cure apathy better than any sermon, promote healing quicker than counseling, deepen discipleship more than Bible studies, and create converts more effectively than events.  It transforms both the master and the slave.”

“I can’t believe it. Everything Jesus ever said was true.”

and then one question worth discussing; Do you believe missional living is essentially “the ‘new’ the whole world is waiting for”? If so, why?




  • Linnea Falk - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I would LOVE to read the book! I am so pumped just reading this!

    • Renee’ J. Turcott - Reply

      September 9, 2014 at 8:48 am

      I am on the same page as you, Linnea.

      This book will be an excellent group study for the morning ministries group I participate in.

  • Linnea Falk - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I too pick your favorite quote! I’m quite sure I have been creepy when a really mean girl once said I was stalking her. All I did was call her the day after I met her! She had incredible issues! 🙂

  • Dana - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Discipleship is not a personal journey with few links to community; it exists to spur one another on toward liberation and execute justice for those too trapped to free themselves… This is not about doing church; it’s about being the church… Church simply provides a nice context for us to live on mission together.”

    These words are screaming at me “to spur one another on toward liberation” hint hint – I need to let my walls down and join in, jump in!

    I’m buying me and my daughters this book this week!

  • Sara - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I totally got retweeted by Brandon Hatmaker during a live tweet of their new show, and I. could. die. I told my husband “I was just retweeted by Brandon Hatmaker, and it will show up to everyone who is looking at the hashtag MyBigFamilyReno” and he just replied: “what language are you speaking?” It’s a whole ‘nother language, when you start creepy stalking your fave author and get so jazzed about HER HUSBAND retweeting you = ) Can NOT wait to read this….

  • Bertina Schreiber - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I never thought “I” would be the one who would go on mission trips, not my sinful self…..but as I grew into “late adulthood”, I found myself wanting to do more and more and yet I know I can’t “work off” my sins…because I was already forgiven by the One Who never sinned! So, my favorite quote is this: “The largest factor in feeling unfed is not feeding others.” I love feeding others, and I love going to give my loving service to someone who may not even see me giving it, but I know in my heart, I left them better off than when I came!

  • Sally - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    In the 9th grade I invited a girl that I thought was so cool to go play tennis with me at the neighborhood court she told me years later she had no idea who I was when I first called her and she felt sorry for me so she met me there. After my son told me he had met this girl that loved Jesus and chocolate and had my same birthday, I stalked her by email and even invited her to my daughters’ wedding which neither of us told my son about and it was such a surprise to see his face when she showed up. He married her later, yes. And I cut down on the aggressive emails until my grandaughter was born.
    Missional living in def. the answer because so many are searching unsuccessfully for fulfillment. The little I suffer in completing his mission for me does not compare to what Jesus suffered on the cross for me and my sinful condition. It is actually a selfish thing not a sacrificial thing to follow his call on a mission trip or just do HIS will at home in your neighborhood, because there is nothing on this planet more fulfilling than being in HIS will. The contentment in my heart from the feeding is fuller than any earthly human can give me. You definitely feel fed when you are feeding others. I will never forget coming home in Nicaragua after a full day in 100 degree direct sun digging a well and teaching hygiene to the most precious moms on this earth and sharing Christ with them which was much easier to do there than in America. I would return to the unairconditioned missionary house and lie on the cold cement waiting my turn for the cold shower, thank God we had no hot water. Our friends in the village had no clean drinking water before we dug the well and still had no running water to even bathe in. I have never felt more content. Feeding others is healing, self satisfying and a gift from God
    Unfortunately my husband does not feel called to go to Kenya or Rwanda or I would live there. I’m ordering the book from Amazon. Thanks Christine!!!

  • TR - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Hi! I found your blog via the link on Jen’s Blog Hop. She said we’d find new favorite bloggers….and I did!!! LOVE this one and the other’s I’ve read. I was peeing my pants (hope that’s OK to say) reading about the salsa/BFF situation. Holy Cow! It’s hard not to feel that way about her, huh?

    Anyhoo..glad I found ya! I’ll be back for sure!

  • cheryl - Reply

    August 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I don’t have anything clever , encouraging, or inspirational to add, but I do see why you wanted Jen Hatmaker to be your bff. You two could be sisters…..twins, even. I’m sure you are twins of the heart. It was pretty uncanny reading you both, one after the other. Twins I say…….

  • Diana S - Reply

    August 19, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I like salsa…and queso…and Jesus…just sayin. My favorite quote is “This is not about doing church; it’s about being the church…” Definitely ready to be Interrupted!

  • Shannon - Reply

    August 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    “I can’t believe it. Everything Jesus ever said was true.”

    THIS. When I truly read the words of Jesus and take them as a literal command, my world is changed. Jesus took care of the broken and least of these. He didn’t just pray for them, He didn’t send money to an organization. He walked into their lives and sat down with them. I must change how I spend my days in light of this.

    (On a lighter note-I tweet at people all the time and then feel like a total creeper. Twitter makes total strangers feel familiar, which can be fun but also bizarre.)

    • Renee’ J. Turcott - Reply

      September 9, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Thank you for your insights regarding how Jesus reached out to others. This inspires me to reassess how I am in my ministry.

      You are right! He didn’t casually say, “I’ll pray for you or send monies etc. he was fully present to them.

  • Angie W. - Reply

    August 26, 2014 at 11:16 am

    My favorite quote was, “Mercy has a cost: Someone else must be broken for someone else to be fed.”

    This is my favorite because it is the truth…..someone has to bleed for someone else to be saved.

  • Renee’ J. Turcott - Reply

    September 9, 2014 at 8:39 am

    “Mercy has a cost: Someone else must be broken for someone else to be fed” , rings a loud bell for me. Otherwise how could we ever begin to have a testimony or be able to reach out to others.

    Nothing is all about the individual which situations occur they are a process for his greater glory. Question: what happens in our lives if its uncomfortable is it truly bad or good?

    Creepy, desperation I have done in my life, when truly in my heart of hearts was in great need of the Lord to fill me?

    At the age of 13 I was sent to live with my grandmother. Apart from her I knew no one. Aware of a gal my age who lived at the next farm from ours I rode the old mare by her house quite a few times a day. I bent over backwards to have a new friend. I must have looked truly odd…

    Inspiring blog

  • Sara - Reply

    September 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you for the FREE copy!!! I have read it, loved it, and am talking about it with my friends…one of the things that really stands out to me (I had read it on my kindle app a few years ago and forgotten so much) is how we have moved into this Post-Modern world and yet our churches in many ways are still trying to live under Modern rules. I can absolutely see how we will lose the next generation of Christians if we don’t at least have the conversation with them and allow that they might have something to say that’s worth listening to. And, as it did last time I read it – it inspired me to re-read “7” and reevaluate my purchasing priorities!! I just want my short time on this earth to matter, and I don’t want to miss what the Holy Spirit is doing – and I think Interrupted shows me that the old ways of doing life and church and faith just won’t cut it anymore.

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