I’m on a roll – two reviews in one week! I received Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess by Vicki Courtney from BookLook Bloggers to review, and I’ve actually had this book for quite some time. I received it back in 2014, and it’s taken me this long to finally review it because of, well, life.
I read the first chapter or so right when I received the book, and finished the remaining nine chapters over two nights of broken up sleep due to a nursing newborn 🙂 In other words, this is a fairly quick read, if you’ve got the time to set aside and dedicate to it.
The premise of this book really intrigued me – the idea of coming to terms with the messy parts of your life, admitting where you’ve messed up, allowing God’s forgiveness over your life and believing his truth, then simply moving on and walking forward. I don’t know why, but that entire process is something we overcomplicate on a regular basis – not just in our faith, but in our day-to-day relationships. We hold on to things, we won’t let go and we sometimes take it so far as to allow those feelings to permanently damage a relationship, or even ourselves. This book is about challenging you to change that approach.
Vicki set this book up in such a way that each chapter addresses an area in life where you might struggle with not letting go, whether that be letting go of something you’ve done, or just letting go of a mindset you’re trapped in. She usually shares a personal story, then delves deeper into the topic, backing up her assertions with scripture, and then finally closes with questions that challenge you to apply what you’ve read to your own circumstances. Just to give you an idea of the topics she covers – emotional baggage, shame, legalism, looking to others for approval, etc.
What did I like about this book?
I liked pretty much everything about this book. Vicki’s voice is very relatable; I liked her narrative style, the stories she told (some of which made me laugh out loud), and her transparency. As a result, this book moved quickly and I was eager to finish it.
I really enjoyed the questions at the end of each chapter. I didn’t really work through them deeply, because I was mostly reading this book in the middle of the night, in between nursing my little newborn girl, but what’s nice about them is you can marinate the questions in your mind, or you can take it a step further and approach the book like a bible study and really work through the questions.
I also feel like Vicki did a great job tackling subjects that are often very touchy in Christian circles – such as being trapped within a legalistic mindset, feeling shame over past (or current) choices, and the desire to be accepted.
What did I not like about this book?
Any favorite quotes?
Quite a few, actually! I’ll share just a couple –
The truth is that, for many of us, using our voices to express dissenting opinion is tantamount to going before a firing squad. Maybe it’s time we quit this people-pleasing charade and get our voices back… Wouldn’t you rather be accepted for the person you really are than escape into a silent shell of yourself? Because what happens when you lose your voice permanently? Now that’s a scary thought. – Page 130
If we define ourselves primarily as sinners, that title can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Author Steve McVey says, “If you believe you are fundamentally a sinner, your default setting will be to act like a sinner. To behave in any other way would be to act inconsistently with the person you perceive yourself to be. After all, what do you expect a ‘sinner’ to do? Sin. Sinning is simply the normal behavior for a sinner.” … My turning point came when I was overwhelmed by a deep understanding of what Christ had done. Filled with goodness and mercy, He met me in my mess and reminded me of my true identity as a saint. As a result, I wanted to live up to my new identity–one I didn’t deserve but had been given with God’s gift of mercy and grace. – Pages 163, 165
Do I recommend this book?
I do! But be prepared to be challenged. Vicki doesn’t spare any words, because the goal of this book is to have the reader open her or his eyes to the messy parts of life, the parts you keep back from view, and to bring them to the light in order to move on. Closely examining preconceived notions, prejudices, shame over past behavior… it isn’t easy! But it’s worth it, and that is why I recommend the book.