There is a lot of fakey-fakey niceness in the Christian community, even by people who don't mean to be hypocritical. The misbelief that "nice" equals "good" has plastered smiles over the top of gritted teeth. It's an excellent reminder that there are times when "good" has far more to do with "beneficial" than "pleasant" and therefore can have a bit more of an edge than is comfortable in many Christian camps.
This book is setting me free from years of trying to live a life where everyone is happy with what I do or say. The authors do a great job of pointing us to Christ, showing not only his gentle side, but the other side too, the one that got angry, frustrated, impatient and weary. I am so encouraged by reading this book, and am thinking of leading a Bible Study at church on this material.
Sugar and Spice and all things nice - that's what little girls are made of. So we've been told, and have been expected to be in society for centuries. But Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Deglen say differently. Jesus expects Christians to be like him and although he was always loving,he was not always what today's society would consider nice. He was instead, GOOD. He did what was right no matter who was offended or who got upset. He was not afraid of whether others perceived him to be nice or not. And he expects us, as women, to be like him.
Coughlin and Degler give examples of how we are nice but not good in our marriages, friendships, churches and workplaces. When we try to love up to every one else's expectations instead of obeying what God has for us we damage the relationships around us and instead end up burned out and resentful of all those that take advantage of our "nice-ness."
I thought this book had some good things to say about being an authentic Christian. I especially liked their explanation of how conflict increases intimacy when handled correctly. I wasn't the biggest fan of their writing style, however. I thought the examples were a bit cheesy and I didn't like that they used acronyms for everything. It was a bit over the top for me - almost seemed a little condescending. But I thought they made valid points and I'm sure others would enjoy the writing style - it just wasn't my cup of tea :-)
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.
No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin & Jennifer D Degler, PhD is a wonderful read for the woman who does too much and is feeling stressed in life. If you are woman who has trouble saying "no" because you do not want to hurt other's feelings or have anyone disappointed in you, then this is the book for you. I am quite capable of saying "no" or "enough is enough" but I always feel guilty and do not want anyone upset with me. However, this book clearly shows that you can be nice but be firm in setting limit. The authors demonstrate that you can do good for others but also set limits on what you are willing to put up with from others especially those needy people who seem to want and need constantly which, in turn, literally sucks the life and energy from you every time you talk to them. The book touches on these issues in many situations such as friends, family, marriage, work, and intimacy. They use Biblical examples of women who have walked before us who knew when it was okay to be tough in a situation. We forget that Jesus was not even "nice" all of the time - remember when he overturned the tables in the temple? I learned a lot about myself in this book and Bible Study (there are questions at the end of each chapter). I learned that it is okay to be who I am a strong woman who helps others, is constantly busy but one who has learned to say no and without guilt. NOTE: I received this book from Bethany House as part of their Book Reviewer program.