Sunday, December 8, 2013

"A Million Little Ways" by Emily Freeman

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to LiveThe majority of us would not necessarily define ourselves as artists. We're parents, students, businesspeople, friends. We're working hard, trying to make ends meet, and often longing for a little more--more time, more love, more security, more of a sense that there" is" more out there. The truth? We need not look around so much. God is within us and he wants to shine through us in a million little ways.
"A Million Little Ways" uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas--with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships. Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.


Books which encourage people to continue our art, especially from a Christian perspective, are always welcome on my shelf. This one by Emily Freeman has several aha moments. She talks to all kinds of artists; the type who know what they want to do but are too scared to step out, and the type who launch out, confident in their mastery of their craft, but are disappointed by results.

It begins by explaining how anything at all can be made into an art form - hence the title. Our divine image bearer is reflected through the distinct lives and work of millions of people.

Freeman gives us tips on figuring out which of all the millions of possibilities will suit us. Joy and enthusiasm is the key. She suggests that our heart's deepest desires are imprinted into us. Hints of our passions shine out of us while we are still too young to think about meaning and vocations. They are woven into the fibers of our being.

She talks about the way we get seduced by the human habit of measuring our productivity. We assess our perceived usefulness and the impact we're making by using attention and appreciation as our gauges, which makes us miserable. I loved her statement that 'small is fast becoming my new home.' Working hard to become big is not a wise way to operate. If Jesus came down as a baby and became way less, why is it strange to think humans might be called to do a fraction of the same thing? I think this attitude may be the key in freeing us up in our work, helping us keep the important things forefront.

There's more. She discusses dealing with criticism, getting into comparison mode and considering other people's art a threat to ours. I liked was her admission that sometimes she hates her calling. As a writer, mine is similar enough that I could relate to her. Difficult to summarise, too complicated for an elevator pitch, I get it all. Yes, I admit I've looked at the fine arts and wished I could do some of them. Yet Emily Freeman says that, deep down, we know what makes us tick and brings us joy. She's right, I probably wouldn't really change for the world. It's touching that somebody else gets that we aren't always in love with our craft, though.

I'm sure there's something to get everyone thinking in this book, and I'd recommend it.

I received a copy from NetGalley and Revell in return for an honest review.

4 stars

  Million Little Ways, A: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live available from Amazon

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