Thank you Thomas Nelson Publishers via BookLook Bloggers for providing me with an ARC of this book!
*Quick disclaimer – after taking notes in the margins, highlighting quotes, and tabbing pages in the first 4-5 chapters, it became clear to me that there would be no way I’d get my review done in a timely manner so I started just reading the content. I plan to go back and start from the beginning again so I can go through the journaling and tasks that Allen lines out for her readers – I think that will make the book even better for me!
Ah, restless. I’ve been restless for what seems like my entire life – always wondering what I should really be doing and if all of the things I was already doing were coming from my own agenda, or if I was following God’s plan for my life. Struggle after struggle – this has got to be my largest and my most intense one. When I saw this book on the “Available For Review” page, I’m pretty sure I jumped out of my chair in excitement.
Well, Jennie Allen didn’t disappoint and she did so much for me in this book. I think Restless: Because You Were Made for More will do something for everyone who reads it.
Allen used personal experiences as well as several stories from other women and families to show readers that having purpose doesn’t just come from the “big” things like travelling to Africa or leading a church or running some lucratively successful start-up business. Instead it comes from all the pieces and stories of our lives. It is there in the pouring of cereal for the 4-year-old, it is there in the smiling greeting provided to each customer that comes in the door, it is there even in pain and struggle.
This book can be read by anyone, but Allen does focus much of her attention on women – calling them to dream, to find their worth in all the moments of their lives, and encouraging them to dream outside the box – don’t feel boxed in by societal norms or what they think equals purpose in a “standard” world. She makes it clear that we’re all as different as can be and those differences offer exactly what God wants offered and exactly when and where He would have it offered. Additionally, there is a small section written by her husband (geared towards other men who are blessed to be able to support the women in their lives). In his section, Allen’s husband talks of a time when he wasn’t supportive of his wife’s dreams and the conversion he had to make both within himself and with Allen to resolve those issues and feelings.
As you’ll see above, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Around the middle, the book becomes very evangelical in the sense that all the scenarios and examples and other content seemed to lead readers to the assumption that the only way to have purpose is to lead some church group or other spiritually based and guided group, class, etc. This part lost me because that isn’t my nature. I am more of the type that wants to find a purpose, make a difference in lives, and let the Godly part shine through that. I’m not very evangelical so I started to get disappointed that maybe this book wasn’t as wide-thinking as I thought. However, that line of content didn’t last and Allen again brought things around to the point that everyone has purpose, those purposes all look very different and sound very different, even feel very different, but if we’re partnering with God, they are all for His plan even if we’re not sitting in front of people talking about God and converting them on the spot. That is the only reason I rated down one star.
If you’re still waffling on your purpose, feel like you might need a new purpose, or just want to reaffirm the one(s) you’re currently pursuing, give this book a try. It is uplifting, reassuring, and quite moving. Readers will get a new feel for the minutiae of their days, and also a new vigor for dreaming and following those dreams even if they seem way too large for the here and now.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.