I've been a voracious reader for most of my life. I would read on the bus, at the dinner table, and even during lessons in school... which led to two things: Bad eyesight, and a poor grasp of my mother tongue, Mandarin. Whoops.
Anyways, I thought I'd start to share some of the great Christian books I've read on the blog. While I was recently exposed to the writings of theologians like Walter Brueggemann and Jeremy Begbie, pastors like Steven Furtick and Timothy Keller have published good reads that are also worth recommending.
Furtick's 2016 book "(Un)Qualified: How God Uses Broken People To Do Big Things" is one that really speaks to people who struggle with insecurity and identity. This short summary, taken off Amazon, explains the premise of the book:
I bought this book because I really identified with everything that was said in the quote above. I felt dissatisfied with my current state. I felt unworthy of God's love at times. In short: I felt broken.
Here are a few things that God revealed to me in the course of reading it:
I was holding on too tightly to my "third words".
In the book, Furtick defines "third words" as phrases that "anchor our identities to specific, tangible, descriptive terms". Words that exist in our subconscious, that have snuck in and made a home there.
I realised that the "third words" I was using to define myself all focused on my shortcomings. I had let what others say about me sink their roots in my mind, to the point that I believed in what they said. I had placed too much stock in these words, and they had damaged me inside.
Now, I am learning to recognise them. I am learning to refuse to let them define me. I am learning to release and replace them with who God says I am. I'm not perfect, but I'm loved just the same.
I was striving too much.
The desire to prove one's worth is something so human. But a lot of my time was spent trying to do it apart from God, and using my own strengths. The end result? Burn-out, disappointment, angst... I could go on. (Tell me this doesn't sound familiar!)
I like how Furtick says that if we are rested and assured in our identity in God, we have nothing to prove to anyone. And what people say or think about you won't shake your identity either, because you know that you're not living for them, you don't need to please them, and they have no authority over your life.
Weaknesses aren't necessarily a bad thing.
"God lets some of our weaknesses hang around because they offer us a window into our need for him," Furtick writes. "They remind us to turn to God constantly instead of trusting solely in ourselves."
When I read these lines, all I could think of was: Heck yes. Perhaps my weaknesses aren't just pain points. Perhaps they are there to remind me of God's continued redeeming work in my life.
There are so many times I've wished to be better at this or that... but I've come to realise that when I accept and acknowledge my weaknesses, I free myself from judging, comparing and such ills. I understand that some people will be better at me in some areas, and I will be better than other people in other areas. And that's perfectly fine.
Overall, the book is a very easy read (you won't face any theological jargon or overly complex concepts). It's filled with a lot of personal anecdotes and stories, and I appreciate Furtick's honesty in sharing his struggles.
However, I would say that it's not meant for the person who's seeking to go deeper in knowing God. But it will re-affirm and re-align you with the knowledge of who God is and who you are in Him!
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