Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge

I received the advanced copy of this novel from the Amazon Vine program in return for my honest review.

Becoming Myself is an encouraging book written to help Christian women "lay down their past" and embrace who they are in Christ. Eldredge writes frankly about her feelings of failure and short comings. She directs comments to the reader as if she and the reader were carrying on a conversation, creating a very personal feel to the book.

Eldredge's first chapters deal with finding healing for the emotional wounds that can be caused by one's mother. She is very open about her own experience, and bases her advice and encouragement on those experiences. Happily, this is not a wound I have, so I was not able to connect with this, but it did seem that it would be beneficial for adult women who bear scars from childhood.

She also discusses the importance of female friendships and how best to nurture and keep those friendships. Though this has been presented in other contexts by other writers, Eldredge does a nice job with this and again makes it very personal.

Her main theme throughout the book is to find self-worth through Christ and not through the eyes of how one perceives that OTHERS see her. Despite this, Eldredge still, most likely unintentionally, connects self-worth with beauty, size, weight and even marriage. She frequently mentions her size, how her self-worth was caught up in her larger size but now it's not, all the while mentioning that she has lost quite a bit of weight. As another example, the word "beauty" is used to mean both how God sees us, and the standard the world sets for women. Her good intentions are there, but her actual meaning becomes fuzzy at times; it seems almost as though she, too, is still trying to find self-worth outside of society's view of what a woman should be.

In the final chapters, Eldredge focuses on freeing oneself from fear, becoming a Godly woman like Mary, and seeing the vision that God has of you. She gives lots of Bible verses, personal anecdotes and stories from friends, but I never felt like she actually gave solid information on how this was to be done.

The premise of this book is great, and she does provide good insight in some areas. However, in the end, I came away with a "feel good" message, but no actual working plan of how to achieve the goals she suggests.

On a personal note: for those that have "mother wounds" and that still have any sort of difficulties with or stemming from their relationship with their mother, I recommend borrowing this book from the library when it is released and reading those first chapters.  I was struck by how open Eldredge was with that issue and to me, it seemed that it could be very beneficial.  The rest of the book contained, for me, nothing new or revelation-ary that couldn't be found just as well explained, if not much better, by other Christian writers.  

Note: This is my opinion; on Amazon, 78% of the reviews were 5 stars.

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