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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"You're Already Amazing" (Holley Gerth)

TITLE: You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be
AUTHOR: Holley Gerth
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2012, (224 pages).

From beginning to end, this book emanates an inspiration that warms the heart, calms the mind, and encourages the soul.  It begins with a 'dare' for readers, women in particular, to accept the following:

"You don't have to do more, be more, have more."

Beginning with a heart-to-heart talk, Holley Gerth reaches out to the inner emotions of women who tend to be overly driven toward perfection, anxiety or non-stop activities. Just like Philip Yancey's assurance about the grace of God for us, that we do not need to do more to get God's grace, or to worry that God will give us less grace if we do not perform, Gerth does the same with regards to accepting the person we are created to be. She works through this acceptance and assurance through nine fundamental questions.

  1. "Who am I, Really?"
    This deals with the question of identity. Gerth works through the STRENGTH acronym to enable readers to discover their personal strengths, skills, seasons, and areas in which they are called to be serving.
  2. "Why is it so hard to believe I'm amazing?"
    Here, Gerth helps to uncover five fundamental lies we tell ourselves; lies of perfectionism, comparison, self-esteem, misunderstanding of self-confidence, and letting others define one's identity. 
  3. "Why do I feel this way?"
    Gerth goes deep down at the emotional level to talk about six universal emotions, and to help readers discover their emotional style and not feel any guilty about it.
  4. "Where am I going?"
    Here, Gerth asks whether we are being driven by expectations or led by expression of our deepest gifts.
  5. "Who's with me?"
    This is about relationships and how women can relate to one another, to learn how to control their inner desire to run away due to insecurity, perfectionism or hurts.
  6. "How do I connect?"
    Gerth moves toward discovering how amazing one can be when the social strengths have been discovered. It is not whether one can or cannot connect that is the key. It is a question of HOW one connects.
  7. "What does God want me to do with my life?"
    Are we living a full life or simply living life to the full? This question talks about God's will, and how one can develop a personal vision statement and faith goal. Growing is better than simply changing one's lifestyle.
  8. "What are my next steps?"
    Gerth dives into something more specific. Using Wayne Cordeiro's illustration of 85-10-5, where 85% of the things anyone can do; 10% of the things we can train others to do, but 5% only we are able to do. It is this 5% that determines how amazing we are, to see that we are called specially to do. Gerth uses Hebrews 12:1-2 as a launchpad to enable one to put aside anything that hinders, or entangles, and to run the race of faith.
  9. "Is it okay to take care of myself?"
    This last question is about learning to sustain one's growth through guiltless self-care and tender soulcare. 

Throughout the book, there are multiple charts and exercises to give readers a chance to discover themselves as amazing creation of God. Gerth writes with special understanding of the female psyche. Chapter after chapter, she works on assuring readers that it is okay to take care of themselves. It is fine to embrace one as created to be. The Go-Deeper guide and discussion questions at the end of the book will be an exciting complement for women's Bible study groups.

Closing Thoughts

Three thoughts form the framework for this book. Inner assurance, emotional awareness, and inspirational application. I find myself eavesdropping into how women encourage women. Will I recommend this book to my Church womenfolks? Certainly. Will I recommend this book for men? Why not?

Gerth has done a great job in assuring women readers. Male readers can learn a tip or two from the way Gerth has written this book. There are pages after pages of assuring and re-assuring of the readers that it is okay, and it is alright. Just like wives regularly need to be assured that their husbands love them, Gerth constantly re-assures women readers that they are already amazing.

Maybe, all of us constantly need to be assured by God Himself, that we are loved and we are to share that love to all people. If we are already amazing, chances are, our neighbours are also amazing themselves! Let us bring that message of hope in God.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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