Monday, January 6, 2020

Book Review: "Still: 7 Ways to Find Calm in the Chaos" by Jenny L. Donnelly

Have you ever gone through something really hard and wanted to give up? Have you ever thought you didn’t have what it takes to overcome an obstacle in your life that came crashing through your front door? Have you ever felt like you were losing your grip as your life’s circumstances swirled around you?

Well, what if I told you that you have everything you need inside to get through, push through, pull through, grasp tighter, hold your head up, and look that tornado in the eye and even be STILL. Well, we know Jesus can do that as told in Matthew 8:23-27. In this story, Jesus is riding in the boat with the disciples when the wind and waves were whipping wildly and water was pouring in the boat. In this story, Jesus stands up and asks profoundly, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” 

In Jenny L. Donnelly’s new book, “Still: 7 Ways to Find Calm in the Chaos”, she beautifully paints a picture, even on the front cover of her book, of a silent and still eye of the storm seated in the middle of a hurricane.

Think of this statement Jenny makes in the book, “Water may be in the boat, but Jesus is too.” Sometimes I think we, as Christians, forget that we are in this boat of life with Jesus. Even when the storms are raging and He doesn’t calm the storm, He can calm the storm inside of us. Learning to be still and accessing God’s REST helps us to have the strength, perseverance, and endurance needed to pull through and come out of the storm and to the other side. 

She does an incredible job of capturing God’s REST for us, even keeping the word in all caps throughout her book, to remind you that it is possible to walk through the most anxiety driven, fearful, and even depressing times with REST in our minds, spirit, and soul. 

Jenny says,“If we think fear makes sense, then we will lend it power. We will say, “This is a fact, so it must be the highest truth.” In what seems like a logical conclusion, fear wins the moment. Even worse, the longer we believe in the fear, the more power it gains, eventually becoming a stronghold of the mind. A stronghold is a fortress of fear that becomes very strong and difficult to tear down. 

At Universal Studios, we toured the movie sets. The buildings looked like solid brick and wood, but our guide said they were made of foam. Have you thought that maybe what you determined to be stone or fact is really foam? Fear is fake.”

What a powerful quote from Jenny’s book especially for someone like me who has experienced anxiety, fear, and worry of the unknown, the future, or other things that are uncomfortable to me. In doing so, I have allowed fear to incapacitate me and keep me in the fight, flight, or freeze mode of stress.  Have you ever felt that? It’s a terrible feeling. 

She tackles worry, fear, anxiety, dread and how putting on our garment of praise and being reminded of God’s grace that is given for every day as just a couple of examples to keep us grounded. These may sound like very spiritual terms for non-believers and new believers, but she really breaks this down into practical examples and scenarios of how and when this can come into play.

Most of this book is a perfect example of how we are to renew our minds and replace the negative with God’s promises and reminders of who we are- daughters and sons of the King of Kings. I love how this book brings all the glory ultimately to God. She doesn’t glorify herself or make remarks that she has this down to an exact science but talks about how she is still putting this into practice herself, slipping up at times, and falling into some of the same pitfalls as before, but keeps her focus on God. In doing so, it rearranges her perspective.

This book is filled with scripture, prayers, places for you to reflect, and keeps your eyes pointed towards the Lord. When we can get outside of our own heads and instead focus on the Lord and keep a kingdom perspective, we can better equip ourselves to handle life’s turmoil from a place of REST. 

There are a million little nuggets of wisdom I could quote and share, but I highly encourage you to get a copy yourself, here. The very last chapter even has a beautiful prayer that wraps up the book while asking God to help our hearts and minds be still and remember to operate from our place of REST in God. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures on the subject of entering God’s rest and being still. I will also leave you with one of my new favorite songs by Brian and Katie Torwalt that helps us remember to put on our garment of praise, even before our breakthrough fully comes. 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I will always have everything I need.
He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water.
He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.
Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger,
because you are with me…” Psalm 23:1-4

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful message in your blog, Michelle! So glad you are blogging again.
    What a beautiful worship son. It brought me to tears.
    Love my daughter.