Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: "I Tried Until I Almost Died" (Sandra McCollom)

Can you put your finger on what it is that's holding you back from experiencing the kind of peace, rest, trust, and confidence that your Christian faith promises you?

Things like anger, addictions, betrayal, broken relationships, and grief can become obstacles, blocking the believer from the abundant life that Jesus offers (see Matthew 11:28-30 in the New Testament). But are those the real problems?

Author Sandra McCollom, daughter of the well-known Dave and Joyce Meyer, suggests in her book I Tried Until I Almost Died that the problem goes deeper than just surface-level challenges and trials ... that the problem, indeed, has to do with our innate understanding, or lack thereof, of the gospel of grace.

McCollom's Christian nonfiction work is partly a memoir, laced with her own personal experiences with a life defined by her vain attempts at perfection, control, and adherence to rules (what Jesus calls the law). With total honesty, transparency, and fearlessness, she paints a picture of the life she and her family had --- miserable, condemning, ashamed, pressured --- before they encountered God's grace in ways they'd never before imagined.

If your struggle is with frustration, why not stop and ask yourself whether you're living under the freeing grace of God, or still trying to make it on your own according to your own or someone else's rules?

If your obstacle is anxiety, perhaps debilitating enough to prevent you from taking any action at all, then you haven't yet met the God whose perfect love casts out all fear and gives you every reason to rest in Him and His promises, whether the world agrees or not.

If you find yourself snapping unnecessarily, or your temper so often out of control that people have to walk on eggshells around you and still never quite feel safe with you, there is a pressure on you, a weight on your shoulders, that God didn't put there and never intended for you to carry. The boulders of control and perfectionism are two of the most crippling that a Christian will ever struggle, and ultimately fail, to carry.

Don't be afraid to fail at carrying those boulders, McCollom says with compassion, patience, and tenderness. You're not designed to carry them at all, anyway.

Her work is beautifully written, approachable, not at all preachy or dry. Readers looking to expand their connection to God and really experience His promises and His love will, perhaps for the first time in their lives, find the kind of eye-opening honesty and mercy that will lead them back to Him, from McCollom and her own failures and mistakes.

If any of the aforementioned descriptors applies to you ... if you're empty, I invite you, with equal parts tenderness and excitement, to pick up a copy of I Tried Until I Almost Died. There's only One who can fill you up again, and He's more than willing.

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Author: Sandra McCollom
Title: I Tried Until I Almost Died: From Anxiety & Frustration to Rest & Relaxation
ISBN: 978-1-60142-578-2
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1hwkvBE

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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