Leanna Tankersley teaches us about ourselves by sharing her own introspection and process over her adult lifetime. She speaks therapeutically when she reminds us that it is our job (especially as women) to dialogue with ourselves as you would a friend, not an enemy. She shares that often our response to shame or to self is to treat yourself negatively, critically, but it really is important that we learn and remember how to treat me- and recognize we aren't failing, things are hard because things are hard,... So she shares how she searches for herself, in a move it forward manner, including looking at the source, her deeper belief, knowing she's made for more, to be well, and to follow God's voice. And to recognize that we often put ourselves in a cyclical pattern, instead of stepping forward in the next step of our journey.
Her approach to receiving rest- is one I wholeheartedly agree with- she quotes St. Augustine "Our heart is restless until we find rest in Thee." Then St. Benedictine- "Always we begin again." She sees this as the holiness of repetition. The *practice* of beginning again is a gift you give yourself.
This book uses terms and language that are counseling or therapy oriented, some religious and benedictine, and widely used, but can have different meanings, and one of the reasons I was drawn to this book. Phrases such as: "always begin again", "the practice", "listening" as a practice, being "centered", "be present", "hold space for myself" terms that I've not been raised with to have the same priority as they seem to have today, but she also uses key theology phrases (I think in the same way I learned them) to share what seems to be a biblical world or self view- like "seal", "rooted", "breathed new life", "love', "God's grace", "mercy",... so this is part of my process- knowing that I am understanding the concepts.
The author is sharing how she has learned that in life- it is necessary to 'begin again' often, but it's not as simple as saying 'redo' like we might do with our children on a morning when everything has been off. For adults who are growing, communing with our Great Creator and God, it's a bit more introspective than that. She combines the liturgy, spiritual practices, and then creates her own terms from her life experiences that she uses from that point on.
Not only must we 'begin again' but we must be willing to make sure we know we are 'held', 'sit in the truth', "eliminate the dead trees" that our blocking our view- we may need to "burn away" some raw edges, and put our big girl pants on (my term she has a more poetic way of discussing her inner 9 year old self) and face who we are, who we want to be, and how we may need to see ourselves differently with grace as we would a friend, so that we can move ahead, grow, and truly find rest in the Lord and in living this life. She speaks poetically (similar to Ann Voskamp at times, but her own flair for words.) Mixed with words or concepts from "prophets, monks, and mystics" like "choosing the opening up," 'held-ness", "sit in this truth", "feel centered and rooted and you will feel connected to God and to your own soul," words that could be concerning or viewed as new age, but I am learning that we are in an era, where we find language that researchers will use, that people before our time used, that are religious or soul terms, and it seems we are mixing this language into our faith based practices because perhaps this language can articulate clearer, that which is hard to express and is within us. So I admit, that's part of my uncomfortableness in hearing and reading this book. I'm working through the meaning and implications of the concepts being explained or revealed. But I'm recognizing that it is a strength as I'm making this my own process and thoughts, and taking what perhaps on my own, I would never have found words to share.
My review is between I really liked it and it was amazing- because it's a book that draws you to think deeply (which makes it amazing in my thinking) but at times my own mind is too cluttered to really grasp all of the expressions and applications that the author used in her story telling, and I'm having to re-read and re-think as I internalize, and maybe that's an argument for marking it an 'amazing' book. Perhaps I need my own scale!
The book does whisper the Word throughout it, and the author shares how she comes to interpret and think about different people in the Old and New Testament and the process and message from the Lord as we have their examples to learn from in the Word. I didn't overly examine them, but none of her connections gave me pause theologically or hermenutically.
My first review a month ago, after only listening to it...
I'm still processing this book, and need to begin again-- as I listened to the book, and there are so many thoughts that if I were reading, I would re-read, take a note, process, etc. I have paused as I read to internalize, but this book I will listen to several more times I imagine. I was attracted to this book from the post on Ann Voskamp's blog, I was also interested as knowing that Shauna Niequist wrote the forward to it, and the title alone- it would have a language and feel that I've become familiar with through Brene Brown and Shauna Niequist books. The benedictine aspect intrigued me as I know that the liturgies and practices of old so often are still vital and essential.
I found this book more intentional, more biblically oriented than I expected. I sort of expected a level of cliche phrases that were pretty generic and undefined, and that is not what I got. I was so pleased to have "begin again" explained, modeled, evaluated and as well connected to truth. There are a few questions in my mind about some of Leanna's techniques to find herself, but that's real thinking and evaluating, so it is helpful.
The author and I are close to the same age- and I can envision her life easily and her attempts to embrace rest as well as releasing hurt-- it takes being brave- vulnerable-authentic and real and that's what I appreciate most-- her unguarded sharing of her learning and processing how to be herself and be the best person she truly is- all the time.
Thanks to my public library for the audio version of this book and to netgalley for an e-version to review and share my thoughts.