We all know that my dream side hustle would be to help authors launch their book babies into the world. I blame Jen Hatmaker for making it such an amazing experience. And while I’m not always timely with my reviews and updates about said books, I promise I’m bragging about them in my real life to my in person people. All that to say, I’m long overdue to review this latest one, but better late than never right?
I had been following Jo Saxton via the internet for about a year before I was ever in the same room as her. I had read parts of her book More than Enchanting and listened to her voice on the Lead Stories Podcast. I had the privilege of attending the Lead Stories Live recording and a leadership conference that she had created for women. After that I signed up to be a part of her launch team for The Dream of You: Let go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For. I was so excited to read this book and from the moment I received it in the mail I started devouring it. It’s taken me this long to be able to really process what to say about it other than, “Oh my goodness – read this book.”
“When our voice has been taken, we redirect our lives toward ‘more acceptable’ interests. We excuse the damage caused by having been silenced by saying we are only being realistic. We downplay our gifts and subdue our talents. And instead of the life we were designed for, we live the life we think we can get away with.” – Jo Saxton, The Dream of You (Emphasis added)
When I read the above portion I felt my heart drop into my stomach. It was like looking into a mirror under the worst lighting while trying on clothes that are not right. I think I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes before I could go on.
I have always been a wildly passionate person. I have opinions and feelings about all the things. Because of this, I have found that there are times when people don’t really know what to do with me. I’ve been told I’m intimidating, off putting, too much, negative, etc. I’ve been told that because of these things I’m insubordinate, I’ll be single forever, I’m not a godly woman, I’m not good enough, etc.
And while I’ve always known those things to be lies and not true about the person God created in me. I’ve let them into my brain and into my heart. I’ve allowed these messages (and many others having to do with my gender, my race, my singleness, and my broken pieces) silence my voice.
In The Dream of You, Jo calls these things for what they are – lies and stumbling blocks. She battles insecurity with the truth of God’s love for us. She replaces the lies of the world around us with the soft whisper of the Almighty who created us. She calls out injustice and points to a God who longs to redeem even the most broken areas of our hearts and spirits.
Each chapter starts with a letter from Jo to all women who have ever felt as if they had to apologize for being who they are. Then she dives deep into biblical narratives that help us to see God’s agency in our world. Her vulnerability in sharing her own struggles in all of these areas and her wisdom gained from walking these difficult paths help us all to take a deep breath in and remember we are not alone.
The journey that Jo takes us on in this book is one of dismantling the coping mechanisms we’ve learned to live within. As you read through the book, you’ll feel as though the weight of years of striving to measure up are falling off. Then Jo helps us to see the tools to unlock our true God-given identities. Jo helps us to imagine a whole where we are all encouraged to live exactly as we were meant to – in close community with our God who created us exactly as we are.
If there is one thing I know to be true it’s that God sent Jesus to walk this earth so that we may have life to the fullest. So that we may be truly free. The other thing that I know for sure is that there are forces at work trying to make sure we don’t live out of that freedom. This book is a great tool in helping us remember that God sees each and every one of us. It is a step toward letting God redeem your story.
*Blog title from Nichole Nordeman – “Sound of Surviving” off Every Mile Mattered