Saturday, August 20, 2016

Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

My first week of college I had a professor during orientation who declared his wish to hold a class for overcoming loneliness. He then went on to declare he'd tell all the attendees to simply talk to each other.
It was a simplistic formula but showed a lot of wisdom.
 In that first week we were all lonely and for the vast majority of us it was a fear of rejection that stopped us from reaching out to one another.

Loneliness is a growing problem in our over-connected, media driven world and one with which I'm intimately familiar. So, I was curious if Lysa Terkeurst's new book Uninvited  had anything valuable to bring to the table on this timely topic. 

The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers: • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt. • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence. • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging. • Stop feeling left out and start believing that "set apart" does not mean "set aside." • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.
(description provided)

Although I found myself pushing back on a few of Lysa's points, overall Uninvited provides a solid insight into loneliness and the aspects we can control - our beliefs and our reactions- inside the complex, craziness of life in relationship.

First off, I loved the format of this book. Appendices are brilliant and I've never seen a book utilize them quite so well. In addition to some self reflective checklist, the appendices provide a complete list of every verse and key phrase in the book. For those of us raised not to mark up a book (oh college was hard on this book lover) it almost made me giddy to see these relisted for easy reference as there were many instances that Lysa brings up worthy of deeper reflection.

I also enjoyed how Lysa's thinking breathed new and helpful life into areas that had previously felt hopelessly beaten to death. Her insights into the  story of David, Nabal, and Abigail still have me pondering. Her chapter where Hannah makes an appearance had  me scanning the room to see if she  had, somehow, gained access to my life. 

Lysa takes these topics and allows vulnerability to enter into them while steadily pointing readers back to God. Her Biblical foundation reads solidly while her compassion enters the picture as both recognizing the pain of the situation while still cheering readers on into a better space, a delicate place to stand and one she does with grace. 

As I said, there were a few points I wish I could sit down with a  cup of tea and push back with her face to face, see which elements of the argument space did not allow for - most notably her views on forgiveness (which I expanded upon in a different review, I think what she lays out is important but not necessarily forgiveness and reconciliation- Thanks Dr. Guretzki) as  well as those situations where they are truly out of one's hands.
I think that conversation would be interested for both of us :)

I really feel Uninvited is the book so many of us have sought out and yet if one truly chooses to open themselves to what Lysa's shared it won't be an easy read. Sometimes  it's the difficult reads that stay with us and are the most valuable.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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.