I’ve said more than once that one of the biggest blessings of being homebound is the people I’ve come to know and respect through the internet. Being sick and isolated would appear limiting, and for the most part it is, but in some ways it has opened my world wider than I could have ever imagined.
In searching for a place to worship, I have found homes in two churches. One is in Oregon and the other, Cross Point, is in Nashville. Each week when I download the Sunday sermon podcast, Pete begins talking and [in my mind] we start having a conversation. We are discussing different aspects of life – real life – and how to live through it. He doesn’t offer a list of Christian do’s and don’ts, but instead offers perspective and the chance to choose to live a life centered in Christ.
When I opened his first book, Plan B, it was clear Pete wrote this book the same way he presents his sermons. He spoke with me, not at me, and offered me the chance to look at my life with a fresh set of eyes.
Obviously, with a title like Plan B, I was more than interested in what the pages contained… my life is a Plan B. Everything I had in my Plan A slipped away. Every talent I used was taken from my grasp. Every freedom was somehow chained, and I fumbled my way through it while trying to stay focused on what I believed and Who I believed in. I’ve tried in so many ways to talk with you all and find the words to explain where my heart has been and the choices I make daily. And if any of you have found any benefit in what I’ve written on this blog…
… you MUST buy this book. Because he often put simply into words what is my story. I don’t know how else to review this book for you than to tell you that, in every single chapter, I was shaking my head in agreement. At least once every chapter I said aloud, “Exactly.” And many times throughout the book I read excerpts from bible stories that I now want to go dive into and learn more about.
Honestly, it’s hard for me to sit and write this review simply because I want to go chapter by chapter and tell you a story of how I related. And that would make this about me and not about the book… because you will, without question, have ways to relate it to your own life. But I will tell you two of the themes that resonate with me the most.
The first is not one that I think Pete actually point blank said in the book, but it’s what kept jumping out at me:
1. It’s not all about me. Yes, it’s my big plan that didn’t work out, and it’s my life that is turning into this Plan B because of it. But my life isn’t mine if I choose to surrender it to God. If I step out of the way of my own demands and expectations and impatience, and instead allow God to work in my life in His time and with His plan.
That is not as simple as it sounds, I know. But I can tell you from experience that the more you choose to step back from your life and consciously offer it to God, the more it becomes habit. The more it feels like second nature and the more free you become under His control.
The second one Pete spells out early in the book, and it resonated with me throughout the rest of the chapters:
2. We don’t have a fear problem. We have a faith problem. When you are looking at life and you are afraid to keep moving forward, afraid of what may go wrong, fearful of failing or hurting or losing – what you are really saying is that you don’t actually trust that God has it handled.
Ouch. Go ahead. Let that sting for a second.
Pete asks the question, “What would you do if you were absolutely confident God was with you?’’ Because the truth is that He always is. It’s not our fear that holds us in place, that binds us in our complacency or paralyzes us in our troubles. It’s our confidence that He is with us.
Honestly, those two themes alone could keep me thinking for days and teach me lessons about my constantly upending life. But this book offers so much more than that. It offers you a way to look at your life with new eyes, while having this conversation with a pastor who wants nothing more for you than to live the life God intended for you.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”