03 Oct Julia’s Book Club – Nothing To Prove by Jennie Allen
Do you ever feel like you’re tired of trying to prove yourself? Many of us women try to prove daily that we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, involved enough, hardworking enough (and so on), but thankfully Jennie Allen spends all 235 pages of her newest book Nothing to Provetelling us why it’s ok to believe we are not enough. Yes, you read that right… we are NOT enough.
Jennie’s message to readers becomes clear in her confession on page 23, “I am not enough. And I am done trying to be.” Coming to this realization didn’t sadden her but actually freed her. I hope it will free you too. We don’t have to try so hard to be perfect because we never will be… only He is. Only God is enough. Each of us experience demands in life and sometimes (or most the time for the moms out there) it feels like life requires more than we can deliver. Reading Jennie’s book filled me with her strong belief that we should be ok with the fact that we are not enough. We should stop being tired try-hards. There is freedom in knowing that only God is enough. There is freedom in confessing that we will never be perfect because that requires surrendering what is out of control “to the One who is in control.” Jennie does not demand that her readers understand, but she gracefully tells part of her story and admits that she didn’t always understand where that freedom came from. I hope your soul fills as you read her words and God’s words together.
If you’re looking for a book with advice on how to manage all the demands of everyday life, this is not it. This is a book to reconnect you to your faith, or to bring you to the realization that your worth is not in what you accomplish each day. Hopefully, you, dear H is For reader, already know that God’s grace never runs out and He never stops pouring love into you. You just need to allow yourself to accept and feel his love and grace. This book includes pieces from the Bible (specifically from the gospel of John). These stories are artfully written by Jennie, and they are helpful for facilitating reflection. Nothing to Prove would be an excellent book for a Book Club or bible study group, I wish I read it with a group so we could reflect together. (Any Fort Worth friends that want to start a book group with this one!?) Part 2 of the book has 12 chapters each opening with a retelling of a scene from the gospel of John. Each story reveals Jesus’ work in people who know they are not enough. We are not enough, how will Jesus work through us? I think that God’s work was done masterfully through Jennie’s hands on this book.
Some reviews note that Jennie’s book is redundant in the chapters, but I defend that each chapter has a purpose. Each chapter points you back to Jesus and encourages you to grow your relationship with Him. This book isn’t just a reminder that Jesus is the only One who is enough, it is also the way to change your thinking about what you have to achieve. If you are a perfectionist, this book will bring you freedom! If you are an achiever, this book will encourage you to be filled with His strength and remind you that you are working alongside Jesus. If you are suffering, this book will pour His streams of hope into you. If you want to learn more about Jennie Allen, this book will give you a peek into that way she thinks and how she has handled some of the tough stuff in life. I want to encourage you to pick up this book and read it on your own as I did (and definitely participate in the experience guide) or read it with a small group. Let me know what you think and let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Jennie continues writing!
“He is enough, so we can live fearless – unshaken by darkness or death or danger.”