Monday, March 12, 2012
Book Review: You're Already Amazing
Revell Books, $13.99 (2012)
I enjoy Holley Gerth's blog and often find it sweetly encouraging. So, when offered the chance to review her latest book, I jumped on it even though I was a little skeptical. With such wonderful buzz, why would I be skeptical? Well, I'll admit the title misled me a little at first. After all, this is a book called You're Already Amazing. And I already know that I'm completely not and that if it weren't for God in me, a more theologically accurate title for my life would be You're Already Sinning - And You've Barely Started the Week.
So, I'll admit that I wondered what I would find in a book trying to convince me of my own amazing self. However, I quickly figured out that this was not the point. As Holley Gerth herself points out in several places, including this one, "you're amazing because you're God's creation and he lives in you. You're valuable because you belong to him." And the truth of that hit me. God gives me value, and who am I to naysay Him on this?
The book opens with encouragement, and Gerth has that gift of speaking encouragement in a way both heartfelt and genuine. She reminds us gently that we are God's creation, and when she urges readers to see how wonderfully He has made us, she points out that this is not the puffed-up "Look at me!" pride of celebrities but rather that form of security that comes from remembering, "'I truly know who I am in Christ, embrace that fully, and live in it completely all the time.'" On page 28, she exhorts us to focus on being "in" (as in "in Christ") rather than "on" all the time (as in "doing it all by myself").
As I read those words, I felt my heart responding. Like everyone I know, I have had those times of doubting myself or feeling like I have to be the most special, sparkling woman in the room. I know deep down that this is not God's call for me, and I also know that we are instructed in the Bible to live in God's will and to seek Him, and these reminders from the author of where our perspective should be really helped.
We know that God has created us for a purpose and that we are to live in Christ, so what comes next? In addition to reminding us of that sense of perspective, the author uses her counseling background to give practical tools to help readers be intentional about following God and using their gifts to His glory. These include encouraging readers to chart whether their expectations come from God or elsewhere, to think very frankly about where they are with God in various parts of life (mired in sin, waiting,being led, etc...), learning exercises to help readers figure out whether God has wired them to be more comfortable in small groups, one on one, as well as exercises aimed at helping with discernment in terms of areas in which a reader might have been given gifts. As someone who is used to hearing these ideas discussed in abstract terms, having practical hands-on tools to connect the abstract to my own life really helped.
If you are having trouble figuring out where God may be calling you, or you need a little encouragement to actually get out there and follow Him, this book is an encouraging and helpful read. Gerth cheers readers on in their callings and use of their God-given gifts. Sometimes I need a little extra encouragement and the reminder that a life of seeking God's face is not a spectator sport, and this book delivers that in spades. So, while I may have wondered what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book, the author's biblically-based manner of lifting up readers and giving them ways to be more intentional in following God won me over, and I greatly enjoyed what I found here.
**Note: Most of the books I review I have purchased myself. However, I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in return for my reviewing it, though I am under no obligation to recommend or otherwise grant a positive review.
If you think you might be interested in giving this book a try, (In)Courage has made this their Bloom selection for the spring, so lots of other Christian ladies will be reading along over the next few months. You can find the details <a href="http://www.incourage.me/2012/03/youre-already-amazing-details.html">HERE</a>.