Monday, April 14, 2014

Why I Want to Be a Spiritual Misfit {a book giveaway}


I asked my preschool Sunday school class, "Who puts band aids on your elbows and kisses the hurts away when you fall down?" Most of them raised their hands into the air about to burst at the seams with the answer. When I smiled Addy's way, she proudly exhaled, "Jesus!"

Have you been a Christian long enough to know the Sunday school answer? Everyone knows Jesus is the answer and everything else is wrong.

Everyone, that is, except Michelle DeRusha. This girl says what no respectable Christian would about her faith in Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith.

Finally, there is someone brave enough to say all the things we Christians have thought then promptly suppressed, thinking them inappropriate. Michelle says it all and confesses it loud.

She's no stranger to confession, and she's found it much more freeing and absolving to shout her shortcomings and flaws, her mistakes and misgivings, her timid baby steps toward God and her skepticism to the whole word rather than whisper them shamefully behind the veil of  the confessional.

She stares her uneasy, fragile faith in the eye. With an equally scant measure of defiance pitted against her paltry faith, Michelle plods on in her awkward and jolting relationship to God. She's determined to hammer out her Christianity no matter what it looks like, even if she misses and hits her thumb — or worse, God's — in the process.

If you are one who learned long ago to sensor your answers and substitute them with the Sunday school answer, whether it's the truth — your truth — or not, meet Michelle, the girl with your story, give or take a few details. You will love her instantly because you will see yourself in her, and you will cheer her forward in her faith. She’s the underdog, and aren't we all suckers for the underdog?
“And that's when I prayed. I'll admit, it was a combination of cursing and praying, but that was progress. A year or two prior, it would have been entirely cursing under my breath. So when I was blasting Brad in my head—Stupid, stupid idea. Mr. Stupid Nature Man dragging us out here in this stupid wilderness...—I was praying, Please God, please God, please don't let the canoe turn over; please help us get to shore safely, please give me the strength to keep paddling, please keep my children safe. I even thought about suggesting to the kids that we pray out loud together. But I ditched that idea when I realized it probably would have panicked them further. "What?! Mommy's praying! Mommy's praying! We're all gonna die!!" (Spiritual Misfit, p. 150)
Maybe if we as Christians were more honest about our messy faith, those still searching for their faith would see themselves in us, see an underdog and a God who loves us all in spite of the mis-fit and the fall-short.


I've always thought I wanted others to see Jesus in me. I still do. But after reading Michelle’s book, I also want people to see the flawed and beautiful battle of dying to myself and groping my way in the darkness by faith to a very real God who loves me anyway. It's comforting to know we are not alone in this, especially when our real life faith often doesn’t look like the Sunday school answer.

Maybe you haven't yet embarked on Michelle's journey. You haven't found the courage to hold your feeble and fragile faith-baby still gestating inside you. If that’s you, you’ll find in Michelle's story the courage you've been searching for. Her experience is flawed and human and wanting and very, very real. You will find yourself in her words.

You could win a free copy of Michelle’s book. I’m giving away Spiritual Misfit to one brave commenter.

So, tell me, what makes you feel like a spiritual misfit? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let’s be brave and talk about it. I’ll be right there with you to say, “Yeah. Me, too.” Or you can just tell me why you'd love to read this book. Any comment will do.

You can also find Spiritual Misfit on your local bookstore shelf starting today or order online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or ChristianBook.com.

Spiritual Misfit Giveaway Details:

1.      Enter to win by leaving a blog comment with a way to contact you in case you win.
2.      Entries close Thursday afternoon at 5PM EDT.
3.      I’ll announce the winner on the blog on Friday.  


In community with Jennifer.



19 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First, Dawn, I am so grateful to be right up next to you at Jen's place today. I love your words here--how you encourage us to be real and open and not hide. I know now I will just love Michelle's book. We do need to reveal our brokenness--for those stories are where we can see the Jesus we all share. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, thanks for stopping by! Michelle's book has been one of my favorites this year. Her voice and her "tell all" style is refreshing. And apparently, contagious.

      Delete
  3. Love this. I feel like a misfit when I am honest about my failings or doubts and people try to justify them away for me. I am a pastor's wife and as much as people say they want honest wrestling it makes them feel uncomfortable. I love Madeleine L'Engle for her courage to love questions and doubts. She gives me courage to keep walking and embracing the st r juggles. I like Michelle's honesty on her blog. She feels like a kindred spirit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R, T, and crazy cat G, I am a pastor's wife too. I think it unnerves people when they find that we struggle just like they do. For some reason, other Christian women have this pre-conceived notion that we have it altogether, at lease more than they do. I'm not even sure they realize that until it comes up like in your scenario above, when we reveal it and people don't know what to do with it. Thanks for stopping by with your brave comment. Glad to have you here.

      Delete
  4. Oh my word I love this, Dawn - it's so true, every word of it. You hit the nail right on the head with this book. I am SO honored and touched that you would take the time not only to read it, but to write such a compelling and authentic review. Love you big!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your review of the book. I think as a pastor's/missionary's kid, it was difficult for me to embrace my wrestling with the faith as a good thing. Michelle's book definitely helped me do that. (Thanks Michelle!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you stopped by with your pastor's/missionary's kid perspective. I was not one of those, but my kids are. They dynamics are real and lasting.

      Delete
  6. Wonderful book review for a wonderful book! So glad to have "met" you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The "real" is what speaks louder to people than anything else. When we're transparent with our struggles, successes, and failures in our faith journey, no one can contradict a life of proof. When I shared my own secret, which I only shared with Jesus for 28 years, my eyes were open to the deep hurt of others and their desire for real honesty and someone who understands. Dealing with what I dealt with helped me to connect and empathize with those struggling with the same battle. Hard? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This issue is so dear to your heart, isn't it. Our "real" stories that God can use. You have devoted your days to the cause, Mel. You still need to get me about 30-40 copies of the Spring Issue of Living Real. Can't wait to see it and share it.

      Delete
  8. Being honest with my brokeness is not always easy. I grew up in a "let's be positive" family. I'm looking forward to reading Michelle's book. Great review.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glenda, you will find it freeing and you will see evidence that God takes our less-than-perfect and makes it beautiful.

      Delete
  9. Can't wait to read this book! I read something years ago about "less than perfect" Christians that has stuck with me. What is the one thing Jesus kept from his time on earth? ...his scars. (We know this because he showed them to the disciples after the resurrection.) So why do we Christians feel we must "cover our scars" to other Christians? We must be willing to "bare our scars" and be vulnerable if we are to be authentic, not just to other Christians, but also to the world. If fact, authenticity may be the thing that attracts the world to Jesus more than anything else. OK, so here is one of my scars... even though I know with certainty that I am of infinite worth to God, I still struggle at times with insecurity and low self-esteem. This inner critic reminds me of stupid or embarrassing things I have done or said, or not done or not said. (Even though I realize that I am probably the only person in the world who even remembers it!) This inner critic talks me out of taking risks for fear of failure. I am 60 years old, and think to myself at times, "Shouldn't I be OVER THIS by now?!?!?" ***deep sigh*** So grateful God continues to work with me! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Ann, don't you dare think about deleting this comment. You are NOT alone in your struggle. I think it only ends when we see him face to face. I think we all compare our view of ourselves — which is full of angst and second guessing — and compare it to someone else's outer exterior — which doesn't reveal to us their angst and second guessing. I think the enemy uses that weakness to his greatest advantage. This may be one of the dearest comments on my blog ever. XOXO, brave woman!

      Delete
    2. SO glad Ann didn't delete her comment. Beautiful!!!!!

      Delete
  10. Uh oh! My insecurity is making me want to delete my previous post, but I'm trying to be authentic...insecure but authentic! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two hours later and you're still being tortured. Let it go already. Saying it out loud should have taken its power over you away. Yeah, let's go with that. LOL. PS — I've never heard that said of Jesus' scars before. Very insightful. I'll never forget it.

      Delete
  11. I love your post, Dawn. I've been looking at this book for awhile and now I know I have to read it. I was having lunch with a friend today and we talked about how important we feel it is to be authentic. "Perfect Christians" are of no help because, for one thing, they're clearly liars. ha! Thanks for your continual encouragement through your real and authentic posts. :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...