Unlikely Rebel by Kelli Gotthardt

Book description:

No formulas, no pat answers. Just real life. Real questions. Real transformation.

Approach many women in the church and if they re being honest, they ll tell you they
try hard to keep it all together;
are frustrated that being good doesn t deliver the perfect life;
feel trapped in expectations;
make decisions based on shoulds ;
feel selfish when they say no; and
are uncertain of their place in God s kingdom.

Between the desire to please God, the need to feel valued, and the compulsion to make everyone around them happy, women often find themselves denying their desires. It s safer to stay in the life of shoulds even if it means being spiritually and emotionally disconnected.

Kelli Gotthardt knows their pain. Always considered a good girl, she threw herself into every ministry, saying yes to every request her church family made. On the outside, her life looked completely together but she was drowning in self-doubt and shame. Unlikely Rebel is the story of how Kelly slowly shed shoulds and shame, learning to love God and love who He created her to be.

The journey from the comfort of doing everything expected of a perfect pastor s wife to the uncertainty of living authentically and true to her unique calling is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. Many Christians condemned her, responding with fear or anger to her greater intimacy with God s calling when it didn t match their own vision. For others, though, her journey inspired courage to embrace God s path for their own lives.

Now Kelli invites other women to discover God s leading in their lives, learning that if they throw off the despondency of undeserved shame, abundant life awaits.

My review:

So many times we do things because we “should” and not necessarily because we are led to do them.  I can only imagine that the pressure on her as a pastor’s wife was so much more than any pressure that I might experience.  However, as a fellow “good girl” I can identify with her in the fact that some of the greatest pressure to perform comes from within and not necessarily from a good place!

I enjoyed reading about her journey and especially about the resistance she met from others that didn’t understand.  It was very inspiring to read about her consciously making the decision to step back and listen.  We get so caught up in our day to day responsibilities that it is hard sometimes to be still and just listen!

This would be a great book for a woman’s group to read together and discuss.  Maybe not everyone needs to take the hard-line approach that Gotthardt did, but it would be worthwhile for anyone to take stock of where we stretch ourselves too thin and also what suffers because of it.  Every commitment we make has a cost, even if it is the cost of our time and energy.  I’ve made more thoughtful decisions about what I choose to do.

The only criticism I have about the book is the organization of it.  I would have enjoyed it better if it was more chronological.  There was a little bit of looking back in the past in the middle of it.  I would have felt a better connection with the author if I had read her backstory and how she got to the place she was at to make the decision to say “no”, instead of starting at the beginning of her journey of saying “no” and then looking back at the whys.

However, I appreciated her sharing how easily “stuff” crept back in at the conclusion of her year.  I could totally identify with how easily it is to say “yes” to one thing, then there is something else, then something else, and the next thing you know you are overtaxed.  We can do it all, just not at the same time!  Some of us have to constantly be on guard.

If you are looking for a book to help free you from the cycle of biting off more than you can chew, check this one out.  It doesn’t have a lot of instructions, but there is a lot of wisdom in the pages of this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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