Exhale – A Book Review by Steph Nickel
Exhale is written by Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory. Steph Nickel, our “Book Butterfly” says she was “almost afraid” to read the book. Here is her review.
Afraid to Read Exhale!
While potential readers may question the biblical nature of the subtitle, “Lose who you’re not; love who you are; live your one life well,” that isn’t what concerns me.
I trust that these ladies desire to honour the Lord and bring Him glory. In fact, the last two lines of the blurb on the back of the book say, “Then you’ll be able to live the combination we all long for: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God. Live the life you were created for.”
I’m sure many of use can relate to the first paragraph on the back of the book.
Exhale is For Women Under Pressure
Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, making decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.
I learned in the book You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, which Cheri Gregory coauthored with Kathi Lipp, that of the four categories—the Expressive Rebel, the Analytic Rebel, the Driving Rebel, and the Amiable Rebel—I am, without a doubt, of the expressive variety. (Perhaps you guessed that already.)
While categorizing ourselves can oversimplify how we approach life and what God may be calling us to do, it also helps us understand ourselves, and others, better.
Four Personality Types in Exhale
In Exhale, the authors also refer to four personality types: the Connector, the Inspector, the Director, and the Reflector. I was certain, of the four, the quiz at the back of the book would show that I was a connector—which it did, but not until I had answered several of the questions. I scored 12 points as a connector and 6 as an inspector. I do have some organizational skills, but organizing is not necessarily “my happy place.”
Interestingly, I answered the questions as I believe my husband would and found out that he’s clearly a reflector, which didn’t surprise me in the least. What did surprise me was that, at first, the answers I believe he would have given were evenly divided between reflector and inspector.
It makes perfect sense that a connector would need a reflector in her life. Maybe the saying “opposites attract” isn’t far from the truth.
A Glance at Other Chapters
How we can better relate to one another is only one of the insights to be gained in Exhale.
Among others, chapters include “You’re Not Stuck Forever, So Celebrate Change,” “You’re Not Alone: So Join the Women Flipping Their Flops,” “Love Your Uniqueness: Because There’s Only One You,” “Love Your Humanity: Because It’s Better to Be Lost and Found,” “Live in Animation: You’re Meant to Be Fully Alive,” and “Live in Celebration: You’re Meant to Seize the Yay.”
In the introduction the authors discuss the reality of feeling as if we’re not enough—or too much. And when it comes to our relationship with the Lord, this is what they have to say, something you may be able to relate to:
… she’s fervent when she does spend time with God. She’s sincere and really does want to experience more of God’s presence and power in her day-to-day life.
She knows God offers freedom and joy. She believes God has given everyone gifts and a calling. She trusts that God is big enough to create change. But all these blessings seem to show up in other people’s lives, not hers.
Instead of relishing an abundant life, she’s drowning in an endless sea of meaningless “have-tos.”
She does so much for so many, longing to be one of those legendary world changers, but she sees so little evidence that she is making any difference.
She feels anxious, overwhelmed, and (if she’s honest) resentful toward everyone in a five-mile radius.
I Can Relate to This Book
While I don’t relate to everything in this passage, I do relate to some of it.
And, as I said, I’m a little concerned about reading the entire book.
I am so eclectically interested and eclectically involved, I may have to face the fact that it’s time to set aside some of the things on my To Do and my Want To Do lists in order to truly exhale and live the life God is calling me to.
Will I always be spinning several plates at a time? Likely!
Will they always be the plates I’m currently spinning? Highly unlikely!
Will I agree with the authors’ perspective about everything? Probably not!
Will I learn from this book? Without a doubt!
We must be discerning when we pick up a book—any book. We must prayerfully ask God to teach us the lessons He wants us to learn, to show us where the book lines up with His Word and where it does not.
One of my goals this summer is to watch less TV and read more books, including Exhale as well as You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, which I only got part way through, and Reclaim Your Happy Space, the book I reviewed last week.
What’s on your summer reading list?
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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Images courtesy of:
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Stressed Woman – Pexels