Our world is addicted to bigger, faster, higher, further. We spend much of our lives in the endless pursuit of more. This is no surprise to many of us: we know what we're like. We recognize our drive to be more or better. In our eyes, there are endless possibilities ("Reach for the stars!" "Anything is possible!"), and we are certain that we must reach these infinities. For if we don't -- what does that make us?
I, too, have fallen victim to the belief that if I am not constantly striving to be more, then I am a failure. I have been a slave to my idea that if I'm not constantly getting better, then I am never going to be anything worthwhile. There is value in work, yes, and we need to do the work that God has placed us on this earth to do -- but what if our work does not seem big? What if we feel that our work, our impact, our life is small?
In Simply Tuesday, Emily Freeman assures us that it's okay. It's okay to feel small, she says -- because we are. In fact, she encourages us to embrace our smallness. With the fresh air of a morning breeze, she brightly tells us that since we are not in control, we can relax into the smallness that we feel, treating it as a blessing from God.
This is counterintuitive to me, and maybe it is to you, too. Our first impulse is to seek recognition, validation. We yearn for greatness in our hearts. But what if, instead of building our lives, we sat down on the inside and gave all our glory to God?
It's what we see Jesus doing all the time. When He was on earth, He gave all His glory back to the Father. He does what He sees His Father doing. And what His Father does is advance the Kingdom of God through His own ways and for His own purposes. We may not understand why He does what He does -- we may not even like it (I know that I don't sometimes), but we can trust that He is working with Kingdom purpose. And because of that, we can know that He is working out His purpose in everything, even in our smallness, even when we feel ordinary. Because of that, we can embrace silence, stillness, frustration, roadblocks, impatience, long days, awkwardness, and even rejection -- for God is with us.
Simply Tuesday is a breath of fresh air. It has encouraged me in a multitude of ways. It has reminded me to listen closer to my soul, to be still, to be okay with smallness, to look for the Kingdom of God in my midst, one inch above the ground. Reading this book is like sitting outside awash in morning sunshine. Emily's words are simple yet profound, and God speaks through her. Her words and imagery are charming and enchanting, and her tone is sweet and conversational. Every time I read one of Emily's books, it's like chatting with a loving big sister in Christ who knows exactly what I need to hear. She is tenderly vulnerable and does not shy away from sharing her heart with her reader. She sympathizes and empathizes with the struggles of being human and being ordinary. For that is what this book is about: embracing the ordinariness and smallness of the right now, because that's where God is seen at work.
If I was giving this book a review (which I am), I would give it approximately 11.5 stars out of 5. It's absolutely excellent. Reading it is like talking to a best friend who gets you 100%. It is a reminder that God is our safe place, and that there is beauty and purpose even in our ordinary days (there's a musical called that).
Simply Tuesday will be released on August 18, but I happen to know that it's on sale on Amazon right now (for, like, $7 -- what a steal). Click the link to preorder it! You can also preorder it on Barnes and Noble, as well as a few other places. If, as Emily says, you feel like your soul is being held hostage by hustle, or even if you would just like to see what I've been raving about for the past month (as well as why I generally love Emily's work), go buy it. It'll change you.
P.S. As I've written here before, I am part of a team that is helping to launch Emily P. Freeman's new book Simply Tuesday, out next month. I finished this book last week, and immediately afterward I started reading it again -- that's how good it is. Y'all, this never happens. This should speak volumes about Emily's writing and the beauty of this book.