Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Falling Free: A Book Review


I read Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted  by Shannan Martin on a recommendation from a friend.  After telling her that I had actually read the book, she asked me what I thought of the book.  At the time, I hadn't taken the time to process the book since I read the last few chapters hurriedly before it expired from the library.  I also am notorious for reading a book and loving it but not applying or really thinking about the contents.  After some contemplation, here is what I would say to my friend about the book.

Dear C,
Thank you for recommending Falling Free on your Facebook as a good read.  I enjoyed reading Shannan's story and hearing her thoughts.  Since her situation is so different from mine, I thought at first analysis that I didn't really have any take aways, but looking at my notes, I realized that I was wrong.  

In her book, Shannan says, 
"This is what faith requires, to not close our eyes to an open door." (p 30)
What a great reminder that no matter what season I am in, I need to be looking for what God has for me.  I like how she talks about not closing our eyes to the door.  It doesn't mean that we walk through the door but at least take the time to pray about the open door before us.  I think the key here is availability.  Am I available for what God has for me?  Friend, I see this in you.  How God has given you open doors in this last year that you have stepped forward in faith and walked through.  I pray that God will continue to bless you in those endeavors.  As I look around for the open doors God has for me, I see a few possibilities but for right now they will have to stay possibilities. 

Then she says, 
"There's a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared." p.82
This is so true.  I feel like this year in my new job, I have been doing hard things scared.  Mostly I am scared of failing these kids.  Or I am not quite sure how to navigate a relationship issues between them.  What do I know about web programming?  Am I too tough or not tough enough as I grade their papers.  How can I be the authority when I often just want to crawl under my desk?  Thankfully, God has been with me each step of the way reminding me that "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Phil 3:14  C, I hope you have had the courage these past few months to keep doing those hard things even though you are scared.  I know this health issue in your family is frightening.  I pray God gives you strength  as you walk through this hard season together. 

I think the main issue, though, is what is "falling free" mean for me?  For Shannan, it meant adopting children from different countries and moving to the city as well as many other things.  For me, it meant moving to Africa to a job that in some ways I was qualified for and in other ways totally unqualified.  I still don't know where I fit in here but I do know God has given me six sweet students that need me to give them love, grace, and direction each day.  I still don't do a good job of engaging the culture here but I can offer a smile and kind word to all who cross my path.  It is seeing others as people of worth-thankful for what they have to offer.   What does it mean for you in this season?

Lastly, I'll end with my favorite quote...
"Living small is not about having less, but being less-less respected in the eyes of the world, less successful, less wealthy, less esteemed, less you.  Less me.  And more Jesus.  Here, in abundance of less, where more of us is stripped away, we'll uncover the person we were made to be, the one created in the image of God who sank holy feet into our human mess." p.92
Praying today that we will both have less of us and more of Jesus.  Wish we lived closer to talk about this over coffee.  Maybe in our next season.   Thank you for challenging me not only to read the book but to process it.

Blessings, 
TJ

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