Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brave Is the New Beautiful by Lee Wolfe Blum

Do you find yourself succumbing to unattainable “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all”? Be encouraged to live out who you really are with Lee Wolfe Blum’s new book, Brave is the New Beautiful. Lee offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

About the Book:
Brave Is the New Beautiful: Finding the Courage to Be the Real You (David C. Cook, March 2017)

Our culture bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection. 

Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

About the Author:

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.
Find out more about Lee Wolfe at http://leewolfeblum.com.

Margie’s Comments:
For each of the past twenty years or so, the Lord has given me a word to make my focus for that year. Sometimes the word is repeated the next year. The last couple of years, He’s given me two or three related words. But this year it is just one word: courage.

And even before the new year began, He had plans to put me into a “time out.” Yep. Nearly five months worth so far. And who knows how much longer until I learn the lessons He is teaching me. Each day I realize that in many ways it takes more courage than I thought to get out of bed and get dressed, even if it means I go no further than my living room and my recliner because of the incredible fatigue. It hasn’t been a fun place to be, but I have learned so much about the courage as a result—many times first-hand experience is much better than head knowledge.

Lee Wolfe Blum’s book Brave Is the New Beautiful opened my eyes to even more stories of courage that God has instilled into each one of His children. I love how her friend describes courage in the last chapter: “The kind of bravery you are talking about isn’t the kind that conquers. . . . It’s the kind that submits and relinquishes control to God. This is true bravery. It is letting our guard down and becoming naked, just like we were always meant to be. Trusting God and relying on him, just as he made us to do.” This book is full of stories of women who make the difficult decision each day to get up and do all that God has put before them, in total submission and trust in His goodness and guidance. In this way, we live out the purposes for which God made us. Even if it means He has to put you into a “time out” in order to teach us what true submission and trust is.

Thank you, Lee Blum, for sharing these stories from your life and others’ lives. Thank you for being authentic, for removing the masks we all don and try to hide behind. Thank you for allowing God to use you in spite of your perceived failures and inadequacies. These are the things the Lord is teaching me this year. This is true courage, true bravery.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Think Again by Jared Mellinger

About the Book:
Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection (New Growth Press, April 2017)

Evaluating yourself—being mindful of who you are and what you are doing—is necessary and can lead to positive change.

But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don’t feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret.

The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight.

Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger’s short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection.

There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we’ll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much. We can seek after and pray for the peace and joy—the sanity—that comes from thinking about ourselves less often. Think Again includes practical instructions for self-examination, fighting false guilt, breaking free from hyper-introspection, and more. Ultimately, Think Again demonstrates that the solution to thinking too much about ourselves is to look to Christ, and it gives readers the tools to begin to turn from the mirror.

Learn more, purchase a copy, and read a sample here.

About the Author:

Jared Mellinger joined the Covenant Fellowship Church pastoral team in 2006, upon graduating from Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Churches. He became senior pastor in 2008. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection. He resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.

Margie’s Comments:
I must admit that when the opportunity to review Think Again by Jared Mellinger came, I almost turned it down. I was already stuck in the pit of introspection, and my extra-special group of ladies with whom I pray twice a month (well, more than that, but we meet twice a month for purpose-filled prayer) were working with me on solutions to the problem. But at the last moment I did agree to do a review (for which I received a free copy of the ebook). And I am so thankful I did.

Think Again talks about the problems inherent with excessive introspection, why we get into the trap and can’t seem to find our way out, and how to “examine” our motives and actions biblically so we can be released from the trap. It isn’t a long book, and the author has a style that is very easy to read and understand. And while the solution to excessive introspection is simple, it can also be difficult to implement. Any time we have to change our thinking patterns, we’re in for a spiritual battle because Satan’s main battlefield is for control of our thoughts. The author suggests that we don’t try to do it alone, for this reason. Reading Think Again has reminded me once again how thankful I am for the ladies I mentioned. We are truly iron-sharpening-iron friends.

With our focus first of all on God alone (who He is, His promises, and His love and tender care) and then on others, we will find ourselves free from the trap of introspection and can face life with joy. I highly recommend this book.