Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review: Embracing Your Second Calling

This book annoyed me. I hate to put it so bluntly, but that’s what perfectionists tend to do—especially when encountering other perfectionists who devote an entire book to telling them how to intensely over scrutinize their lives in order to be ever more perfect. That’s what Embracing Your Second Calling does, and for most women, especially those with perfectionist tendencies, this usually does more harm than good.

In this book, Dale Hanson Bourke compares the mid-life, empty nest season of a woman’s life to Naomi’s experience in the book of Ruth. Naomi lost her husband and sons and found herself feeling lost and bitter. For each chapter of Embracing Your Second Calling, Bourke tells her readers something she sees in Naomi that compares to women in mid-life, then she tells how she has applied this observation to her own life and how her readers can do so, too. The book isn’t a Bible study, but speculation about what Naomi may have been thinking or feeling or doing as she moved through this difficult time.

Personally, I don’t think mid-life is a bitter time. It’s a transition, but unlike Naomi’s sudden loss, it’s something we see coming. (And, while losing a husband and children is tragic, successfully launching children into adulthood is something to rejoice about!) If we let Him, God prepares us for this next phase of our lives all along. We don’t suddenly leave one life for another. We don’t stop, evaluate every aspect of our lives, rearrange, and start over again. Instead, we draw close to God and let Him lead us happily into new opportunities and ministry tasks.

Bourke does provide quite a bit of useful information and several good ideas, but we don’t need to take ourselves so seriously all the time. Rather, we should focus intently on God, allowing Him to work His Will in us. To someone whose life is suddenly and traumatically changed, I might, with caution, recommend this book, but I don’t think it’s really for women naturally moving through mid-life.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review.

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