Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: My Own Worst Enemy

I recently finished My Own Worst Enemy:  How to stop holding yourself back by Janet Davis.  This book explores many facets of the Christian woman's story.  How life, marriage, decisions, career, family, and talents get segmented, bottled up, and often left unattended.  Women have emotions and stories that should be shared.  Davis is very clear on her intentions to lift women up and receive the power from God to do things they have only imagined.  She indicates that the church and society has downplayed the woman's role and influence in the family structure, work place, and church. 

I loved the way Davis structured her book.  It made it easy to read, relatable, and easy to find sections again for places that I wanted to reread.  Each chapter of the book starts with a specific woman's story, followed by a portion of scripture (primarily a woman in the Bible), ending with the conclusion of the woman's story and some takeaway points.  This structure worked very well.  . 

I was distracted with the feminist undertones of the book.  Davis presents a lot of her personal story and journey.  It came across very selfish.  I cannot imagine choosing a church based on my sole position on how I worship without taking my family into consideration.  There was such a tone of what I call the 'gospel of self'.  Worshipping and living in a way that suits MY needs, MY desires, and seeking out ways for MY fullfilled life.  This book was all about self, and how we as women need to elevate ourselves for the sake of ourselves.  I agree that women have more to offer than sometimes given credit for, but I also believe that women were given a certain position within the societal, church, and family structure that directs them to focus on being the 'helpmate' not the shaker and mover of their families. We should find fullfillment in what Christ has done, where God has placed us, and reaching for the life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6) which is being fulfilled by Him alone, not by anything I can or ever will do.  I feel Davis also made too many assumptions in her interpretations of the bible stories.  She was trying too hard to dig meanings out of words that I feel were out of context.

I was particularly drawn to some great one liners and segments in the book that really spoke to my situation, without the feminist undertones:

"Ironically, we are worried and bothered as we constantly prepare to live the life we never quite get around to actually living....God does not relate to us as objects to be fixed.  We are children who can both love and be loved....we are gifted and talented women to be taught, received from, cherished, partnered with, pursued, comforted, and enjoyed." p. 65

When we see God act in our moments of faith stretching, we sometimes translate "our insufficiency in unimportance." p. 117

"The obedient life is less about our skill at guessing the right place to put our feet at each moment and more about knowing who we are made to be and offering ourselves to God without reservation, wherever our feet happen to land." p. 232

This book presents very interesting points of discussion, but is too dangerous for faith seekers.  I would only put this into the hands of women who have the maturity to put it up to the test of scripture.  It is too self absorbed and self seeking glory than it is about living a life that Christ has asked us to live.  

As a Bethany House Publisher's reviewer, I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.

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