Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book review- Freedom from Performing: Grace in an Applause-Driven World

I read a lot of books- both fiction and non-fiction, Christian and secular.  I usually enjoy the books that I read, then put them away and forget what I've read. But occasionally a book will come along that affects me deeply and really speaks to a need in my life.  Freedom from Performing has been one of those books.  Here's the book's description, as presented on its back cover:
For years, author Becky Harling lived for the rave reviews of others, until God directed her from performance-driven theatrics to a leading role as a grace-motivated follower of Jesus. She only needed to be herself, and so do you.

Freedom from Performing uncovers fresh perspectives from Jesus’ parables to inspire women of all ages to embrace authentic grace in our accolades-crazed world. Enlivened by the author’s and other women’s transparent, real-life scripts, every chapter is rich with discussion questions and practical exercises for internalizing God’s grace on a daily, personal level. This twelve-week Bible study will play a starring role in your living fully and joyfully as God intends: seeking His applause alone.

Before I got married and had kids, I was very involved with worship ministries at my church.  I also had a successful career. So my life was full of lots of external validation and pats on the back. While I love my life now and wouldn't trade it for anything, life as a stay-at-home mom isn't exactly brimming over with validation and thanks for a job well done.  And I've been struggling with that, to be honest. Freedom from Performing really speaks to that part of a woman's heart- the part of us that gets our worth from what other people think of us and what they say.  It's a book full of wonderful reminders that, above all else, we are daughters of God and He loves us dearly.

I really like the format of Freedom from Performing. Each chapter addresses an important aspect of building our identity in Christ, with lots of examples, stories, Bible verses and prayer.  Then at the end of each chapter, there's a short 7-day Bible study on that topic.  I'm a busy mom and don't have a lot of spare time for long, involved Bible studies, but this one gets right to the point and does so with scriptures and questions that really made me keep thinking for the rest of the day.

I often pass on books that I receive for review, but this one is going nowhere. It's going to stay right next to my Bible so that I can re-read it and keep hearing these important messages.  If you're a Christian woman who is struggling with issues of self-worth and identity, I would highly recommend that you read this fabulous book.

Disclosure: I received this book to review for myself, as part of the NavPress book review program. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.