Saturday, July 2, 2016

'Distinctly You' by Cheryl Martin


Genre: Christian, non-fiction, personal development.
For Women Who Want More Than Comparing, Competing, and Coveting
All of creation is content to be what it was made to be except us. Fish flourish in water. Ants are not worried about their size. But we waste time on the three C's--comparing, competing, coveting. We aim at the bull's-eye on someone else's board, pursuing a race we weren't equipped to run.
Cheryl Martin shows women how to develop their God-given uniqueness rather than becoming fixated on what they are not or do not have. "Distinctly You" unveils the actions and attitudes that may be sabotaging women and explores ways women can engage and build up their unique talents, interests, and strengths. Readers will be inspired by examples in the Old and New Testaments of people who were exceptional for God's kingdom. As the author shares her ongoing quest to be distinct for his glory, readers see how God created them to thrive.
Includes end-of-chapter questions for individual or group use.

Being an Aussie, I wasn't familiar with Cheryl Martin, but found out she's a well-known American personality in journalism and media. Having read her book, I decided I'm not really the target audience, but younger ladies with a different life focus. Her many personal examples include tips on dating, job interviews and study habits, which may gel more with single millenial girls in their late teens and twenties, than Gen X mothers of young adults who consider themselves to be homebodies at heart. I might have got more out of a book like this if I'd read it in the early nineties.

Her book is quite heavy on giving Bible stories as examples. If these are new, or only vaguely familiar to you, you might find it hits the right spot. However if you've been around enough to hear them many times already, then it may come across as a lot of re-telling what you know so well. Cheryl Martin turns out to be one of those Christian authors who will write, 'God told me...' or some variation, without explaining how that looks to her. So if her intended readers are young or new Christians, she might have done well to explain the phrase with a bit more depth for those who would be inclined to ask, 'Huh, how does that work?'

Some of her main points include the following.
1) Just because you aren't the best, it doesn't mean that you don't have a right to be there or won't be a success. There are a variety of different skill levels in every profession.
2) God is never impressed by our accomplishments or discouraged by our weaknesses, so we assign far too much weight to these things.
3) God never uses somebody else's talents and abilities as a plumb line for our achievements. Getting distracted by what others are doing is pointless, whether or not we believe they are doing better or worse than we are.
4) The 3Cs lead to the 3Ds. Comparing, competing and coveting turn into depression, discouragement and discontentment before we know it.

Overall, I wouldn't want to mark this book down just because I'm not the target audience. I'd recommend reading the different reviews carefully before deciding whether or not this is something you may benefit from.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for my review copy.

3 stars

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