24 Mar Book Review: Nothing to Prove
This book was an accidental find. The back story is there was dissatisfaction brewing in my heart for months and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly. Until God whispered revealed it to me while I was cleaning up my makeup stash. My struggle with needing to prove myself and never believing I am quite enough were two fruits of a single root. So I set out to find something to read to address this the best way we know how: Google.
I typed: “self-esteem christian book woman”. And Nothing to Prove was at the top of the results. I was intrigued by its subtitle, Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard. Hallelujah, somebody else has gone through this and lives to tell the tale. This is when I can aptly say the (millenial) age-old adage, “Shut up and take my money”.
I recommend this book if like myself, you know you always feel the imagined pressure of measuring up. To who? My husband asks me. Who’s pressuring you, he adds. And always, my answer is a feeble “I don’t know”, and then my mind starts to go off checking what I didn’t do right–even in my meltdown–and what I need to do better next time.
I also recommend this if like my friend–let’s protect her identity and call her Rhona–you always feel like you’re never enough. You do your best at work, in school, and at home, but almost always if you had to grade yourself at the end of the day, you would write 75% (the passing mark in the Philippines) with a bright red Sharpie on your forehead. You survived, but your performance was practically mediocre, mostly below average. Tomorrow, we can try again.
Before I go on to rave about Jennie Allen’s book, let me say this: Hi. I am Ronna. I have been a Bible-believing Christian half my life, and I go through this too. You are not alone. Also, it is true, we will never be enough. We couldn’t pay for our own sins, what more the rest of our earthly existence? But, Jesus. He is more than enough. And he doesn’t grade us nor measure our worth by our work because he paid for us and our debt. John 3:17 says “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” Salvation doesn’t end when you decide to believe in Jesus as your Lord and savior. He saves us every day, from our own thoughts, from our own darkness, from our performance need and mentality. He says lovingly we cannot measure up ever, and why bother? I have done it for you, I measured up for you, even before you were born.
Here’s an edited excerpt which made me sit up straight:
If I were your enemy, this is what I would do:
Make you believe you need permission to lead.
Make you believe you are helpless.
Make you believe you are insignificant.
Make you believe that God wants your decorum and behavior.
I would make you numb and distract you from God’s story.
If that didn’t work, I would attack your identity. I would make you believe you had to prove yourself. Then you would focus on yourself instead of God.
And if that didn’t work, I would intoxicate you with the mission of God rather than God Himself.
And if that didn’t work, I would make you suffer… You would get bitter and weary and tired rather than flourish and grow and become more like Christ.
The enemy is telling you that freedom is only found in finally proving to yourself and to the world that you are important, you are in control, you are liked, you are happy, you are enough.
This book helped me realize I was wasting so much precious time by being pre-occupied with myself.
These are the reasons I enjoyed the book: Allen studies the gospel of John, which gives the most intimate account of Jesus, to address the premise. She also adds a bit of creativity into it, giving the stories extra perspective. Perhaps I am biased as a literature major, hehe.
Each chapter from the second part also includes an Experience Guide, which encourages you to practice your knowledge. It includes a scripture meditation, a private activity, and one that extends to your loved ones or those closest to you.
For any one who doesn’t consider themselves much of a reader, Allen writes very casually and it reads like you are reading a blog or you are talking to a dear friend.
If you pick up this book, shoot me a message and let me know what you think or how this has helped you. I hope though that at least from this blog post alone, you are set off into the course of humbly embracing your finitude every day because Jesus has proven himself to be more than enough for you.
P.S. Watch the book trailer here, if you please. Isn’t it cool that books have trailers now, too?