Why I chose ‘Your Beautiful Purpose’
I literally googled “good books for Christian women” and loved the front cover. I obviously checked ratings and reviews too!
My decision to read more Christian books was inspired by a few of the young women I follow on Twitter who are always reading and stretching themselves via Christian literary. I loved reading as a child (I would read while walking on the street and in the dark with my phone as a flashlight lol) but as I got older, it got easier to watch online series than engage my mind with the words others had written. This year I decided that I needed to learn more about my faith and I began to read again.
From the outset I was like ‘WOAH’. I read the first couple of lines and I knew it was a book that was going to speak to my heart and challenge my perspectives. Admittedly I got lazy and didn’t read it as regularly as I should have but when I did pick it up, this book brought me to my knees. It felt like every sentence was anointed and needed to be remembered, and so I went about highlighting every profound sentence (which is basically half the book). I’ve got notes on the pages like ‘THIS’ and ‘FAM!’ and it looks more like a colouring book which means I probably won’t be able to lend it anyone without feeling like they’re reading my diary.
5 Things I learnt
1. God Lets Bad Things Happen
I know it’s a tough realisation to come to terms with but it is the truth. I’m sorry if you thought God was going to ensure that your life was filled with only happy moments. Sorry, wrong God. God will let the storms rage but he will hold the umbrella! He will let people come into our lives that seek to destroy you but he will provide you with boxing gloves! That’s the kinda God we are dealing with.
God uses difficult times to help us grow and I have learnt that if we don’t go through tough times, we stay the same. My sister sent me an amazing article about the times in life we grow the most (sorry, I haven’t got the link!) and it is when our backs are against the wall and we are truly broken – that is when we begin to grow again. We are forced to dig deeper and as a result, uncover a new floor of ourselves. God uses the storms in our lives to reveal to us the depths of our character.
And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.
2. The Power Of The Cross For Me… And Them
It’s so great this whole forgiveness thing, isn’t it? We do bad things, we say sorry to God and then boom, it’s gone (Romans 8:1) . I love it. But what about the wrong others inflict upon us?
“As Christians, we must accept that the things done to us, along with the things we’ve done, are together on the cross”.
If I truly believe in the power of the cross to cover my sins and my wrong doings, then it follows that the cross also covers the wrongs done to me. This means, that thing you’re doing where you’re not talking to someone and actively hating them every day because of something horrible they did to you last year? Yeah, that has no place here. If the cross covers you, then it covers them too. And I’m not saying you must go and make friends with every single person that has wronged you, I am saying that you should forgive them and let it go. The pain you experienced should no longer be the thing you think on day in and day out. Move on.
3. You Can Be Used
You don’t have to be strong, beautiful, freakishly intelligent or charming. You just have to be you. That is enough. I read yesterday “you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be everything that you are meant to be.” You are enough. You haven’t got to be a spiritual worrier, speaking in tongues and healing the sick before God uses you; you just have to be available.
4. Comparing Yourself
Is deadly and shouldn’t be done. The grace and gifting upon each of our lives is so different, how can we begin to compare ourselves to one another? I want to do a separate post on this so I won’t rant and rave too much here but what this book taught me is that whenever we see someone with something we envy, we should convert that envy into a prayer. We should thank God for blessing them! Yeah, it’s no easy feat but it is very possible.
Comparison is dangerous. I try not to wish for what others have because I have no idea what they had to go through to get it; good things never come easy! This point is also linked to my previous point – you are enough. Stay in your lane. Fight your fight. What is yours will always be yours. Constantly looking to what others have will only cause you to look disdainfully at your own life and that is not a healthy road to walk down.
5. Engage With God (Daily!)
We have got to set time apart every day for God. Yesterday’s word is not enough especially since we can get a fresh word, enjoy new mercies and experience his grace all over again today. If we stop engaging with God, when people around us have problems, we will find ourselves giving bland, albeit true, advice.
‘God will pull you through’
‘God has a plan’
‘Jesus knows what you’re going through’
Your friend is in dire need of a fresh word from God – which God would have readily given to you if you had bothered to engage with him that day. We need to cultivate a living and breathing relationship with God if we are going to be wells that can be drawn from in times of need. We need to be open with our own struggles and the times God has helped us during similar situations so that our friends can begin to connect with our story and our God.
Sidebar: And yeah this whole ‘call me if you need me’ – that’s not a real thing anymore (this is me talking, not Susie Larson). I am so done with this ‘call me if you need me’ culture. If your friend is in need, YOU call THEM because they need YOU. Don’t shift the responsibility and say ‘well, I said they could call me and they didn’t so I guess everything is okay’. Everything is not okay, be present and take care of your friend.
God is inviting us to walk more intimately with him every day, to know him, to serve him, to trust him but how can we do that if we are relying on last year’s revelation and forgetting to incorporate him into our daily lives? We need to become dissatisfied with where we are and reach out for more.
Quotes I loved
“I can look the part of the Christ-follower and miss the heart of Christ amidst all of my action”
“Whatever God showed us last year, or even yesterday, He has something better, something deeper, and something more profound to show us today”
“It’s not enough to go through the motions”
“He’ll only work with us to the extent that we give Him access to our soul and permission to change us”
“Over time your choices either promote you or exposes you”
“What we do in secret from day to day seems of little consequence, but in due time those small hidden choices either reveal a life of discipline or sloth”
“Where’s my focus? What do I replay in my head? His promises or my problems?”
“We don’t have to be theologians to be mighty in God. We just need to be present with Him.”
“The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we’ll get to know His character and understand His ways”
“When spiritual coasting sounds like a wonderful option, we really need spiritual conditioning”
“Jesus cares about our eternal impact, because how we live or don’t live today resonates with us into eternity”
Would I read it again?
Yes, yes and yes. This is a book that you can read at different points in your life and each time, learn a new truth. Written with the deepest sincerity and love, I can only ask that God would bless Susie for being a vessel and writing such a beautiful book.
What did you learn?
Lots of loveeee,