Your Grace-Filled Guide to Relationships
It’s hard, sometimes, to get over that thing your husband said weeks ago; or to resolve that tension with your colleague at work; or to fix a lifelong friendship that’s taken a bad turn. The biggest problem with relationships is they always seem to involve sinners–including ourselves. So how can we form strong, resilient bonds with people who, like us, are bound to mess up?
Thankfully, it’s not all on us. Through stories and biblical teaching, Jessica Thompson helps us move beyond trying to “fix” the people we interact with, and shows us a better way. Though our relationships may be marred by tension and frustration, because we are welcomed and known by Christ, they don’t have to stay that way.
This is a nice book, but not one that I am super excited about. I was really intrigued at the beginning, where Thompson states she will not be giving advice about relationships, but showing us how to be alive in relationships by invigorating our soul. I enjoyed reading her thoughts about how we view relationships, which was really spot on. I personally tend to “keep score” and think, “I did all this, the least you can do is ______”. Not pretty (or fair), but honest!
This book did provoke self-assessment and reflection, which is the best thing a book about relationships can do for us. However, I found that as the book went on, I was less engaged and less challenged for that self-reflection that I enjoy in nonfiction books. It might have been the structure of the book that created the disengagement. For example, I would have enjoyed more examples of grace in action when confronted with that person that you want to avoid when you see them at the supermarket, rather than a chapter on dealing with difficult people in our lives.
I did particularly enjoy the chapter on relationships with our co-workers. Thompson’s thoughts on the idea of the American dream and finding our passion was really refreshing. I’m still mulling over some of the ideas that she shared and have incorporated them into discussions with my children as they are at the age where they are frequently asked, “What are you going to study in college?” Any book that stimulates discussion is one with value!
The best part about this book is that it really provoked me to thoughtfully consider the meaning of grace and challenged me to extend it more to the people in my life and myself. It is an area in which I have always fallen short and have a lot to learn.
Overall I have mixed feelings about this book. It definitely has value and encouraged self-reflection. However, it didn’t excite me or ever give me that moment of “I have to tell _____ about what I just read”. If you are currently experiencing a lot of turmoil in your relationships, you might benefit more from this book, but it just wasn’t that exciting for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.