We live in a culture that thrives on reminding us that we don't measure up, that there is something lacking. These messages are there to not only make us feel inferior but believe in the falsehood that we could be our best selves if we just wear certain clothes, drive a specific car, look a certain way that can only be achieved through a new diet or product or aging cream. These voices can become noisy and overwhelming - especially when played on repeat in our own heads. If that weren't enough, we go onto social media and really feel like we are missing out: the vacations everyone else seems to be taking and posting their amazing photos and videos on Instagram or Facebook. Or how our lives don't measure up to the Pinterest-perfect lives we imagine others able to achieve in their Martha Stewart like craft and cooking bliss.
Into this quagmire of deception comes Jo Saxton to remind us that while we are, all of us, broken, that we are also fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who loves us enough to call us "beloved." As she writes, "When the grit and guts of your broken identity meet the grace and goodness of God, it will reveal you, but He will transform you. You're in Him now, with all His resources available to you. You have access to His power, mercy, and grace."
Along with the stories of familiar biblical figures (such as Joseph, Esther, David), Jo shares her own story in a way that is truthful, vulnerable and healing to anyone who opens the pages of this book and allows it to minister to their hearts and souls.
This is not another self-help book, but a book that shows each of us what it means to be whole, redeemed and having a purpose. It's about the transformation of not seeing ourselves (our false selves) as others have presented us as over the years but seeing ourselves in the identity that God first gave us. As she asks, "What was the dream you had of yourself from the very beginning? Before life interrupted, before anyone told you who you were allowed to be?"
It's a question that we should all pause and ask ourselves - repeatedly. It is a reminder that we have too often been distracted from that dream that God has given us and which we replaced with second-hand masks we have begun to wear in our desire to fit in. Fitting in is not the same thing as belonging and God is offering us true belonging.
"When we trade our identity for a perfectionistic alternative," Jo says, "even when it’s for survival, it comes at a heavy cost. We lose our true selves and we lose our voice. We lose our spiritual authority, because perfectionism relies on our skills rather than God’s power. It costs us our purpose because perfectionism has a different purpose to the one God has given us. We lose our courage, because at the root of perfectionism is fear."
This is a beautiful book that offers us a message of hope, insight and encouragement that will not leave you the same way after you've read her words. It is a book that you will want to read more than once.
Jo Saxton's official website: