I have long appreciated Sheila Walsh (ever since I first heard her speak at a Women of Faith event!), and I was really challenged by the thoughts she shared throughout this book. The subtitle says “Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are” and that statement alone caught my attention. How we feel is often off from the reality of who we are in God’s eyes. It’s so hard for us to see ourselves the way that God sees us… but this book did a great job making me see that our emotions are from God, and He will always help us to work through them. No matter what.
In the opening section of the book, the author asks a few questions that I thought were extremely thought-provoking:
Why do we try to “contain” those who suffer or attempt to “fix” them?
Do we think suffering is an embarrassment?
Do we feel personally ineffective in our faith if we can’t make the pain go away?
Do we think it detracts from the power and goodness of God when one of His daughters limps around wounded?
The idea of looking at suffering as an area where we can minister to others was especially helpful. So often when we’re going through hard times in our lives, we think only about ourselves and how hard life is, how bad things are, how life isn’t fair… not about what we could do for others as a result of those hard times. I have found in my own life that the areas where I have been hurt the most, those are the areas where I can relate best to others and can really help others the most. It’s easy to relate in the things we had a good time with – vacation spots, or favorite foods. It’s much harder to relate on the level where you have to share personal thoughts and feelings… but it’s incredibly rewarding to do it!
Awhile back, someone told me that the most important thing I can do is to make the choice to forgive those who have hurt me, whether or not those people ever ask me to forgive them. The author says “Forgiveness is a mighty, spiritual issue. It defies human logic because it’s not about this earth. And when by God’s grace we choose, willfully, intentionally, to forgive, the enemy is defeated one more time.” I’ve been learning that forgiveness really is a choice, and one that we get to make. Ultimately, forgiving someone else is more about the freedom we gain from holding onto our pain, pride, bitterness, whatever else we’re feeling, than it is about the other person. They may not even understand that they hurt us in the first place, but when we choose to let that go, to make the conscious choice to forgive, the enemy is no longer able to use that as a stumbling block in our lives. How freeing to just make that choice, even if you never hear the other person say that they’re sorry – it really does make a difference!
At the end of each chapter, the author includes a brief summary and then a few action points. These may be small or they may be kind of big, but they are a great way to put what we learned in that chapter into practice. The book is filled with little things that you may not have considered in the past, and it’s not a book that is easy to read all at once – it’s best read one chapter at a time, with time to “chew” on the things you’ve read and to consider the ways that each chapter relates to your own life. It’s a really amazing book, but I would just advise you take it slowly! Pray as you go through it, and see what kinds of things God will bring to mind. I guarantee that if you’re looking for a book that has the power to change your life, this one absolutely can. You only need to be willing to allow God to work in your life as your read, and then watch to see what He will do!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive – the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.