"What if who you are right now is exactly who God meant you to be? What if the weirdest, most annoying things about you exist on purpose--for a purpose--to bring life, joy, strength, and healing to this world?"--Laurie Wallin
Did you flinch as you read that? If so, you're not alone. It challenges me every single time!
In a world where "change" is constant and "self-improvement" is highly acclaimed we are always being encouraged, maybe even pressured, to transform ourselves to fit into one mold or another.
Quirks or annoying behaviors? God forbid! We'll do anything to try to cover those up in an effort to become who we think or feel others would like us to be and maybe who we assume God wants us to be. Or at least we'll wear ourselves out trying.
In her book "Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful" Laurie Wallin presents readers with another way of viewing their lives. One that allows us to stop lamenting our weakness and instead encourages us to allow God to use those tendencies on purpose.
This idea, that God uses our natural design (including our most frustrating behavior) for His purpose is something that many of us have never considered. But it is definitely something worth pondering AT LENGTH.
The book is broken into seven parts which comprise 34 very short chapters. Each chapter ends with reflective questions which are very helpful.
Part 1-Yes, You're Weird--But It's A Good Weird
1. To Question Our Quirks
2. To Be Loved, Quirks and All
3. To Love God--Heart, Soul, Mind (and Weirdness)
4. To Live Weird with (Not for) God
5. To Feed Your Best Weirdness
Part 2-Opening The Door To Wonderful
6. Wrestling with Quirks
7. Squashing Wonderless Self-Talk
8. Letting Go of Borrowed Quirks
9. Seeing the Dark and Life Sides of Your Weirdness
10. Trusting God with Your Quirky Heart
Part 3-Owning The Wonder You're Wired With
11. Your Designer Quirks and the Three Rs of Life
12. Your Wonderful and Why It Matters to the World
13. Your Tools for Living Strengths and Discovering New Ones
14. Your Known Strengths and Discovering New Ones
15. Your Life's Wonderful Story
Part 4-Digging Deeper Into Your Wonderful
16. Follow the Leader Toward Wonderful
17. Living Wonder When You'd Rather Not
18. Learning from Some of History's Best-Known Weirdos
19. Letting Criticism Strengthen Your Quirks
20. Riding the Sleep Train to Wonderful
Part 5-Handling Weaknesses and Waywardness
21. The Difference Between Weirdness and Weaknesses
22. The Invisible Battle Behind Your Weirdness
23. The Way to Keep Worry from Weakening Your Strengths
24. The Way to Prevent Quirks from Becoming Weaknesses
Part 6-Bounding Back From Wonder Busters
25. Using Mistakes to Shift Weird into Wonderful
26. Releasing Perfectionism's Grip On Your Quirks
27. Overcoming Fear to Live Quirks Well
28. Changing Your Rules to Let Wonder In
29. Discovering Wonder in...Discipline?
Part 7-Learning From Real-Life Weirdness And Wonder
30. When Your Quirks Don't Play Nicely Together
31. When Their Quirks Rub You the Wrong Way
32. When You Wish You Had "Better" Quirks
33. When One of Your Quirks Is Too Loud
34. When We Can't Do It All
I'm certain that just by scanning the chapter titles it will quickly become clear that this book offers something for every reader. In just the right amounts Laurie relies on Scriptural examples, personal experiences, and the wealth of wisdom she has accumulated, as a life coach, speaker, wife & mom, to lead readers down a path toward embracing some of the very things that they have fought so hard against.
It is a wonderful journey albeit very challenging. But, then again, who doesn't love a good challenge?
Here is a little snippet from the journey... "When God is in our tendency to over-think, over-analyze, over-plan, get too emotionally wrapped up in life, and constantly think about the future (or never think about it), God's strength shines brightest and purpose unfolds most clearly. The over-thinking becomes strategic planning. The worrier's tendency to stew over eventualities becomes prayer over possibilities. The chatty one becomes the connector in a group or the one who introduces souls to Christ. The one who doesn't much consider the future becomes the one who reveals to us worrywarts the joy and beauty of this moment. You see God doesn't want to work around you or your quirks. He wants to work through you--through them." (Laurie Wallin)
What a refreshing thought. It is one of the many statements in the book which I highlighted. I could share quotes for days as page after page of my copy of "Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful" is highlighted. There is so much wisdom packed inside this book.
If you are a life-long learner, as I am, you won't be disappointed with the contents. There is very little fluff despite yet it is an enjoyable read despite the fact that it tackles emotionally charged issues. And, it is full of grace and encouragement.
Although I finished reading this book several weeks ago, it is far from finished with me. I read a lot of books, but not very many of them read me. Don't let the cute little cover fool you. This book is going to take you deep into the recesses of your heart and mind.
"Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful" will ask you questions you never thought of. It will provide answers you've missed along the way. It will, also, create some questions of its own which will lead to positive life changes should you be willing to embrace the possibilities. Changes to make life more "wonder-full."
I can't recommend this book highly enough. While it has been written by a woman, with a female audience in mind, I believe that the message applies to men as well. Though written from a "faith perspective" anyone who picks it up and embraces the concepts would benefit from it.
It would be excellent for book clubs, Bible studies, and small groups.
(I was provided with an e-copy of this book from Abingdon Press. My review was an opinion.)
If you're like me, you've got some quirky personality traits. You probably think you should try to get rid of them, at least hide them. But Wallin asks, "What if the weirdest, most annoying things about you exist on purpose - for a purpose - to bring life, joy, strength, and healing to this world?"
You mean God designed me with these quirks to reveal Him to the world in a way only I can? You mean God will actually use my quirks and show His strength through them?
The answer is yes! Wallin helps us discover our strengths and see the worth of those quirky parts of us. She also helps us love those weirdos around us. She addresses the traits we may have taken on, perhaps as a result of pain. Those are false quirks and she helps us break through them. She looks at Jesus' quirks and people from history who put their quirks to good use. She helps us make use of criticism. She identifies the difference between quirks and weaknesses and much, much more.
This is a very personal book. Wallin tells lots of stories on herself. That helped me understand that even a life coach like her needs to identify her quirks and then work through the process of understanding how God will show His strength in them. She has also included lots of questions, providing a means for us to discover our quirks. Then she gives us the tools to begin to live those strengths in confidence.
I like this book. It really helped me understand why I have the quirky traits I do and how to use them for God's glory. This book has also helped me appreciate the quirks in others. I am learning that, rather than be irritated, I want to embrace their weirdness and watch how God is using it. If you want to understand your weirdness and be more loving toward your weird friends, read this book.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this independent and honest review.
What makes us unique from others may seem weird to us but God may want to work through those quirks. Laurie Wallin, a Life Coach, writer and speaker, focuses on helping people discover what make them different from other people and embrace their "weirdness" in her book Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful. She talks about how strengths have a dark side as well and people have to be aware of them to better serve God with the strengths He has given them.
This book is a short read with short chapters. There are questions at the end of each chapter to get the reader thinking and discovering their strengths but also how they can use them. I liked that Wallin used examples from her life as well as from the lives of people she knows as it gives something for the reader to hold onto and helps explain what Wallin is trying to say.
I found the book is a little forgettable as it's not that different from other strength finder/spiritual gifts books out there. I finished the book yesterday and I found that I remember the overall message Wallin was trying to get across but I forgot many of the finer details as well as some of the things she was wanting me to put into practice. However, I did enjoy that she used the words "weirdness" and "quirkiness" because it seemed like something I could relate to more. It also acknowledged that some of my strengths might be what I would consider weird in myself.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend the book for those who see their weirdness as weaknesses. With the wording Wallin uses, it could really appeal to people who think of themselves as weird and struggle seeing their strengths.