Monday, July 15, 2019

Book Club: Book Review of Exhale

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Another fantastic book I was blessed with reviewing is Exhale: Lose Who You're Not, Love Who You Are, Live Your Own Life Well by Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory from Bethany House Publishers. The 230-page paperback book is broken into three parts with alternating chapters written by one of the two authors as they share their wisdom and experience to help women who feel under pressure to "being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy" (back of book jacket).

About Exhale 

Each of the 18 chapters specifically addresses the three parts of the book (that are part of the title). For example, Part 1 examines the idea of losing who you're not by looking at how one can change because Jesus empowers change, how our failures help us grow, and how we are to help others and not meddle. As well, it focuses on the fact that Jesus is ready and waiting for us to trust His love and grace for help. Through scriptural references and Bible stories, we see how Jesus is ready to help us. For example, Amy relates the story of Peter's denial and how even with this Jesus still loved Peter. If Jesus can gaze "at Peter with love," He can show us compassion and mercy as well – no matter what our mistakes.

At the end of each chapter there is a brief part that asks the reader to "now breathe" and provides a jumping-off point for reflection. The chapter then closes with great quotes such as: "Lose Who You're Not, You're Not a hopeless case" (84).

There are also wonderful quick reference guides for each of the three parts. These refresh the quotes at the end of the chapters and the main idea of each part. There are two columns (Old Mindset and New Mindset) at the bottom of the page that help bring home the ideas to the readers. I really liked how this is broken down and written because it helped me remember what I had just read.

The book concludes with a prayer, a personality quiz (that is referenced in chapter 10), a glossary, and additional information about the authors and their other projects. There is also information about where you can get additional information on their website for group studies and resources for reading the book.

My Thoughts 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing Exhale by Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory. This was another book that I found to be extremely helpful in my own life. I sat there with a pen while reading it to make notations and underline ideas that I wanted to go back over and re-read to apply to my own life.

I think the chapter that hit home with me the most was: You're Not Really Wonder Woman: So Breathe a Sigh of Relief. This chapter by Cheri Gregory discusses the idea of meddling versus helping. I must confess I am a 'problem preventer' by looking at the story of Rebekah from the Bible and the distinction made between helping (asks and respects) and meddling (assumes and presumes). Truly amazing to be reminded that I am "not the fixer of every problem" (75).

I highly recommend Exhale: Lose Who You're Not, Love Who You Are, Live Your Own Life Well by Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory. I felt that the book helped provide me with a great framework for "fulfilling the desires of" my heart, loving my family well, and "bringing Glory to God."

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