Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: An Exceptional Arterburn Read

    Bethany House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of The Exceptional Life: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God's Best for You in exchange for an honest review. After authoring so many books one would think Stephen Arterburn would run out of topics to cover. Yet, in this volume he delves again into the human psyche and all of the baggage people pick up in their lifelong journey. In The Exceptional Life Arterburn shows you how to dump your emotional baggage and gain what you have been missing out on. For instance, if one gives up the guilt and shame that has been hunkering them down, they would gain hope. Or how about isolation in exchange for connection. Between the other topics of resentment, anger and addiction there is truly something that will strike a nerve in everyone. Who wouldn't want to trade those in for a life marked by love, forgiveness and freedom?
     I really appreciated the order given to each topic covered. He explains what guilt and shame are, why they need to be released from our lives, how to, what God will grant you in return and the empowerment gained to accomplish life's journey in new ways. The chapters are all sprinkled with personal experiences in relation to the issue at hand from different people. The brief summaries of these experiences aren't from one set of people, but are derived from people of all walks of life. The issues covered are universal.
     Overall, The Exceptional Life was an enjoyable book beginning to end. Arterburn's gift to understand the internal workings of our minds and hearts is astounding. It is nothing less than a gift from God to be able to be such a prevalent voice in the Christian self-help arena. Often, I have found self-help books to be wishy-washy and vague. They tell you that you can feel better if you do this with steps one to three and you're good to go. Arterburn respects personal disposition and leaves room for you to manoeuvre your healing as long as you do so with Jesus at your side. Complete healing comes only in and through Him. Arterburn points the reader in the right direction while giving guidelines, not strict rules, to utilize during the journey.
     One other thing I would like to point out is that though you may at first think some of the topics won't apply to your life, they do, did or will. Even if you are not personally suffering from a drug addiction, chapter eight can still speak to you if you allow it to. I was amazed and humbled as I read, realizing the information I did glean from it I can carry with me throughout my life. Maybe I won't even use the insights tomorrow, but someday I will. God didn't put us here to help ourselves, but to help others as we glorify Him. Anyone would be wise to want The Exceptional Life.

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