Monday, January 31, 2011

"Same Life, New Story" by JanSilvious has good topics but needed more depth 3 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. I can't decide whether I like it or am just OK with it. That ambivalence results in the 3 star rating. What I like about it is the variety of bad stories we can find ourselves stuck in and the opportunity we have to make a new story out of our situation or our reaction to a situation that can't change. Each chapter is illustrated with the life of a woman in the Bible as well as real life examples from the life of the author or people she knows.

What I found lacking was more practical application on how to move from a bad story into a new one. The author too often made is sound like it was as easy as "just" changing your thinking, but that's often the hardest part. There were a couple chapters where I thought -- this is me in that old story, how do I get myself to the new one. But the author just moved on to another example of someone else who made that move without a lot of depth on how to do it. Even though I wanted more depth, I am going to loan it to someone in my Bible study who is in difficult life circumstances. I hope it will give her the ability to see the different ways she can write a new story with her life.

The chapters (and illustrative Bible woman) are: (1) Realize It's Time to Get a Life and Tell a New Story (Naomi), (2) Don't Be Held Hostage by the Past (Leah), (3) Ask Yourself the Good Questions Only You Can Ask (Rahab), (4) Change Your "I Can't" to "I Can" (Deborah), (5) Delete the Drama of the Day (Hannah), (6) Forget the What-might-have-beens (Anna), (7) Discover the Power of Wisdom and Courage Combined (Jehosheba), (8) Get Past the Resistance of Fear (Abigail), (9) Choose to Bounce Back (Naaman's servant girl), and (10) The Last Chapter Has Not Been Written Yet (Elizabeth).

At the end of each chapter, there are 8 questions of personal reflection and a journaling exercise. For use in a group setting, there are also a number of group discussion questions. The cover calls this a 10-week Bible study. I'd call it a Christian book study, not a Bible study but my definition of a Bible study is something more like the Precept program or a Beth Moore Bible study where you really get into the Bible for the homework like Breaking Free: The Journey, The Stories. That being said, it would be a good thing for a group of women to read and discuss.

I was given this book by the publisher for purposes of giving a review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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