This book was a very quick read. It only had twelve chapters. Lysa TerKeurst is the author, one of my very favorite authors. The reason is simple. I can relate to her. We could hang. We don't come from the same backgrounds and our current home life is not the same. (She has five children). But she is a regular girl who comes unglued by much of the same issues I have. And she wants to change!
So I highlighted some of my favorite parts that I will share. But please read it for yourself. I would recommend this to EVERY woman because you will be able to identify with something.
"What happens in between the smiling snapshots of life isn't all pretty. I'm willing to admit that. And I love my friends who are brave enough to admit the messy stuff as well. I dedicate these words to you as we set out to make some imperfect progress together." Lysa TerKeurst
Four Categories of Unglued Reactions
1. The Exploder Who Shames Herself
"People stand on one side and Satan stands on the other.When we dump hurt into one another's lives, we aren't leveling the conflict scale. We are just weighing down the people side of the scale and elevation the Satan side of the scale. Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other".
2. The Exploder Who Blames Others
3. The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers
"If they make the choice to walk over me rather than walk with me, I'll have to love them from afar. I can forgive and refuse to hold resentment toward them, but just because I extend my forgiveness doesn't mean I have to give them access to me." AMEN!
The Stuffer Who collects Retaliation Rock
Lysa and I both identified that we fall into all four categories!
From Chapter 7: I need a Procedure Manual
(One with a calm spirit and divine nature). I want it to be evident that I know Jesus, love Jesus, and spend time with Jesus each day.
WOW. God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life? Everything?
My Biblical Procedure Manual
Step 1: Remember who you are.
I'm not an unglued woman who is a slave to her circumstances, her hormones, or to other people's attitudes. Those things might affect me, but they don't rule me. I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a might plan. And there ain't nothing in this world worth trading all that for. Indeed, I must remember who I am.
Step 2: Redirect your focus to Jesus.
Yes, keeping my eyes and my mouth focused on Jesus is a crucial part of my unglued procedure manual.
Step 3: Recognize God's job isn't your job.
Operating in the flow of God's power is so much better than working against the flow of God's power. Seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I'm facing is what positions me to work in the flow of God's power. I still have to navigate the realities of my situation, but I won't be doing it in my own strength. My job is to be obedient to God, to apply His Word, and to walk according to His ways - not according to the world's suggestions.
Step 4: Recite thanks and praises to God.
Oh, how powerful it is to shift from an attitude to gratitude and to praise our God in the midst of it all. When I do this, my circumstances may not instantly change, but the way I look at those circumstances certainly does.
Step 5: Realize reactions determine reach.
I want to train my mind to remember each step, each truth, each choice. Then I want to train my heart to have the courage to implement each one.
So, here's the short version of my predetermined biblical procedure manual all in one place:
1. Alarmed, I resolve to remember who I am.
2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
3. Stay in the flow - my job is obedience; God's job is results.
4. Shift from an attitude to gratitude.
5. My reactions determine my reach.
Chapter 8 - My Kid Placemat Life
Having God as an identity maker reduces Him to nothing more than a label, a lingo, and a lifestyle - I'm a Christian so I talk like one and act like one. But having God as an identity changer is much, much more. It means I am no longer the person I was before, someone who comes unglued at minor things. I am making imperfect progress. Shifting, breaking away, and being chiseled. I am a woman whose identity has been changed by coming face to face with the One who has the power to completely transform me.
When human finances, strategies, and programs fall short, God's power fills the gap. When discouragement looms close, God's power moves in closer.
Chapter 10 - Negative Inside Chatter
I identified with this chapter the most, I believe!
1. Did someone actually say this or am I making assumptions about what they're thinking?
2. Am I actively immersing myself in truth?
3. Are there situations or relationships that feed my insecurities?
"I discerned that our relationship was as bothersome to her as it had become to me. We had to agree to disagree and eventually the friendship faded away. The friendship was not characterized by honor, encouragement, and love. Therefore, it wasn't good for either of us."
If honor, encouragement, and love are the characteristics of the friendships I want in my life, I need to foster these qualities in my relationships.
How a woman thinks is often how she lives. May we think on and live out truth, and only truth, today.
Chapter 11 - My Soul Needs to Exhale
Talking about her husband and how he treats his customers:
And he never qualifies his kindness. The grumpy customer gets the same kindness as the happy one.
We get into trouble when, instead of parking our minds on truth, we let them idle in perception.
Chapter 12 - It Isn't All Bad
Lies flee in the presence of truth. But just as we have to flip on a light switch to erase the darkness, we have to activate truth to erase the lies. We have to capture our thoughts, hold them up to the truth, and make them line up with Scripture before we entertain those thoughts.
Lysa references these three scriptures.
2 Corinthians 10:5
I've learned that anytime I started hearing lies speaking louder than truth, it's an indication my soul is starving for God's Word.
I must remember that external expressions are internal indications.
Oh, let it be so noted about my life! That my words, my love for those who love me - and even more, my love for those who don't love me - reveal that, yes, I have been with Jesus.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Epilogue: Accepting the Invitation to Imperfect Progress
Brokenness to redemption, where mercy and grace kiss both sides of our face.
So, if by chance you see me in the aisle at Target forgetting truth and coming a little unglued, just whisper the gentle, hope-filled reminder, "It's a choice. Choose imperfect progress, sweet friend," and smile.
I'm always sad when I finish a good book. But I already have a new one. It's called Choosing Forgiveness.