I had seen a lot of posts about/from this author online and heard some talk by friends and the book was available through my library app so I thought - why not give this a try. I don't really want this to just turn into a book review. If it sounds like a simple book review than the book didn't resonate with me in the way that I wanted it to. I guess part of it was I felt like I jumped into a process midway through the process. The author herself said it was almost the third book in a series - that her other books came first. I really wanted to read this book, journal open, pencil in hand, quotes ready to go. This is difficult to do when you are reading in the dark, breastfeeding a toddler to sleep. I think with written reflection, this book would have had more meaning for me. As it was I couldn't get over some contrived phrases and words. It's too bad because there were definitely some things that resonated with me, some attitudes that I recognized. The book did act like a mirror at times, reflecting myself and I didn't really like what I saw.
The ideas that resonated with me, that I had to chew on and am still chewing on is her rumble with the idea that people are doing the best that they can. She had difficulty with this idea. She did a poll of friends and strangers and found something strange. Those who said no had perfectionist streaks. They were as hard on themselves as others. Those that answered yes were people she considered wholehearted: people who valued their own worth, who were willing to be vulnerable. I might view them as people of grace - those people who I have always admired.
I too have trouble with this concept. I am so performance based. I can be so hard on myself and that extends to others - especially those closest to me. What if I embraced this philosophy though? What if I looked at what others were doing right rather than what they were doing wrong? What if I gave myself grace to be weak, to make mistakes and share those mistakes rather than hide them? What if I focused on and developed my strengths rather than trying to work out of my weakness? What if I could get rid of shame? What if ....? Would I be less stressed? Less bitter? Less angry? Would I be more joyful? More loving? More kind?
The poem at the end resonated with me and gave me courage to speak up this week. If I don't like how something is going, don't hide it. Try to change it. Address it. So in small group I showed vulnerability. I talked a bit about Justin's struggles with depression and my struggle with bitterness and anger. I don't want to hide anymore. I don't want to pretend.
"When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free
So we turn towards truth and look it in the eye"
I guess over all I felt this book to be empty, flighty, rootless. Everything was about what we could do and nothing about what God does on our behalf. When I fall down, flat face in the arena, he can help pick me up and brush me off. He gives me the strength to do that. He can help me look deep into my emotions and pain. He writes my story. He is the truth. He can help me face what is truly going on. I don't want to hide anymore.