I don’t know why it surprised me.
I knew it was coming and yet when I eagerly opened the package and saw the title, there was a part of me that just wanted to shove it right back into the mailbox!
Don’t get me wrong.
I really wanted to read this book!
Had, in fact, happily accepted the opportunity to read it.
But, there was just something about that title that made me cringe.
You see, I didn’t really want to know that I’m “Already Amazing”.
It makes much more sense to me to keep trying harder, working longer and just generally avoiding the truth.
What truth is that, you ask?
That God thinks I’m amazing, just as I am.
One might go into reading You’re Already Amazing, by Holley Gerth, thinking it will be just another “feel-good-because-God-loves-you” kind of books.
And, or course we know that he does love us!
But as I began to read this book (I didn’t shove it back into the mailbox after all!), I realized that there is a big gap in my thinking.
I know that he loves me, but do I really KNOW that he loves me?
Even the deep, dark, hidden parts of me?
Somewhere along the line, I’ve fallen into the same trappings with which so many of us struggle.
I’m insecure about my looks, my clothes, my friendships, family relationships, my parenting.
Am I doing enough, being enough, serving enough?
Holley beautifully captures, on page 39, the moment in which she heard God whisper to her how he sees her. How he sees me…and you!
“Inside a voice whispered, ‘You’re not enough.’”
“You are not enough…in me you are so much more.”
“We are much more than pretty…we are wonderfully made.”
“We are much more than likeable…we are deeply loved.”
“We are much more than okay…we are daughters of the King.”
Understanding this truth is essential to growing in our faith.
And yet fully embracing it is another story!
Holley’s own experiences as someone who can be a bit “intense” in her spiritual life (pg. 92) really rang true for me. I, too, struggle with this. Working hard at my faith seems to come far more naturally to me then just resting in the comfort and security of his love for me.
But, by sharing her own process of discovering that she is “already amazing”, Holley perfectly balances the gentle truths about getting to the core of our emotions and insecurities, mixed in with some good old-fashioned hits-you-right-between-the-eyes statements!
On page 104 she says, “We are to love people, but we’re only asked to please God.”
Have I fooled myself into believing that just because I’m pouring myself into serving and loving God’s people I’m guaranteed that this is pleasing to him?
Holley even goes so far as to declare on page 106, “While God does want us to be open with others, he also encourages us to put boundaries in place as we do so.” And further on down in the same paragraph she says, “In other words, we’re not to deliberately put something of worth where it won’t be valued. Some people in our lives can’t or won’t treasure our hearts.”
You mean I have permission to stop being a doormat for people to wipe their feet on?
I don’t have to continue to pursue a close relationship with that person who just so obviously “can’t or won’t treasure” my heart?
Coming to terms with these and other areas of our hearts is truly a process.
But, through a series of brief but thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter, Holley gently leads you through this process, and to a place of accepting that “we’re amazing not because of who we are but because of who lives within us.” (page 127)
As I read the last few chapters of You’re Already Amazing, the word ‘freedom’ kept coming to my mind.
Freedom to “move forward in faith.” (page 150)
Freedom to “receive” (pages 167-175)
Freedom to truly believe that I am “loved more that I know.” (page 188)
With the addition of a wonderful “Go Deeper Guide” at the end of the book, Holley leaves the door wide open for us to use this as a resource for ourselves individually or in a group setting.
The questions provided help to summarize as well as expand on the content of each chapter and leave room for you to write down your thoughts along the way.
In Holley’s words, “This isn’t a book about self-improvement. It’s about aligning our lives with love in the way God created us to do. To do that, we need a lot of grace and an approach that makes sense based on who God made us.” (page 150)
My deepest desire is that my life would be aligned with God’s desires for me.
To do that I must give myself a lot of grace and accept how deeply he loves me.
I guess I’m also going to have to embrace the truth.
That he thinks I’m “Already Amazing”!
Thank you so much to Holley Gerth and the wonderful folks of (in)courage for the opportunity to read and review this incredible book. I strongly urge you to pick one up as I know it will impact you as much as it has me! Just go here to find out details about how you can get your very own copy.
And, thanks so much for joining me today at the Fence!
Author of the A Labor of the Heart Series