I was recently privileged to review "Good News for Weary Women" by Elyse Fitzpatrick at the Biblical Counseling Coalition website. You can see the original review posted HERE. I am now posting the review here as well because I have been telling every woman I know "YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK!" Here's why:
Women Are Weary
A few months ago, I saw a post on Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Facebook page asking for input. She said “I’d like to know the dumbest things people tell women they have to do in order to be godly.” Hundreds of women responded, and it was extremely insightful and also troubling. Those weary women’s responses revealed a need for a different approach than the average Christian bookstore offers. Many “Christian self-help” books on the market insist on giving women a step-by-step process towards godliness, but Elyse’s book, Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice, gives women a better way—the way of freedom and grace found only in the gospel.
I just need to do ______ (you fill in the blank) for God to be pleased with me. What list of “rules” do you use to try to make yourself feel good enough? Where do you go for advice? What step-by-step plan do you have for improving yourself? In Good News for Weary Women, Elyse shows us the way to freedom from the bondage of our lists, rules, and bad advice.
“There is good news for you. You don’t need to learn secret steps, try harder, wear yourself out in an attempt to be beautiful, snag Mr. Perfect, or raise perfect children. You are already welcomed, loved, forgiven, and completely okay....And you can love Him because He has already loved you” (xii).
There Is Good News
Elyse builds her case that the gospel has been forgotten when it comes to how and where women are getting their advice for how to live and please God. She accounts for the pressures from the media, things we watch and read, and even from our churches. These pressures have led women to have a warped view of “success.” “…as if success were a Christian construct or our sanctification depended on anyone other than Christ” (xvii).
Throughout the book, we are taken on a journey to see how we have succumbed to the temptation and tendency to be performance-driven women. In every chapter a woman will find herself both convicted and challenged to reconsider how she views the impact of the gospel on her own heart and life.
A look at the history of how women’s roles have been historically addressed reveals the lies we have believed that hinder our understanding of identity. We are then given a biblical view of our true identities as believers. “And belief in the good news is the only way for you to find freedom in your identity in Christ” (16).
A look at our strivings to earn God’s favor reveals a critical error in our thinking. Throughout the chapters we are presented with the Biblical antidote to our wrong-thinking. “God is already pleased with us if we are in His Son.”
A look at our self-effort to keep ourselves clean is countered throughout the book. The remedy, the gospel, is given. “…we need to remember the gospel every day: we are already loved, already perfected, already approved of, already justified.”
A look at the defeating ways that we try to assure ourselves that we are okay reveals our denial of Christ. Elyse walks us through scriptural teaching that counters our performance-driven mindset. “Our pursuit of self-perfection is a denial of Christ because it is His work to make us okay, to justify us.”
Every concept in every chapter points us to the gospel as the answer to our weariness. Elyse’s ability to point women to Truth from God’s Word brings hope to their struggles as she winds up the book with a replacement for our exhausting and impossible to-do lists. This new list is God’s list for us, and it IS good news to the woman who needs an escape from the bondage of performance!
Heart Change Through Practical Application of Truth
Elyse teaches us from a perspective of honesty and transparency about her own struggles and temptations through her life. She is entirely relatable, which makes it easy to recommend this book. It is full of applicable scriptural teachings throughout each chapter. There are also more Scriptures to study along with reflective questions at each chapter’s end. There are more Scriptures that target women’s specific struggles in the appendix for some deeper study and reflection. The questions are helpful to assist the reader to personalize and make practical the excellent teachings that are targeted to the heart of our weariness.
I intended to read this as a potential book to use as homework for my counselees. I also hoped it would be beneficial for the women I am training to be mentors to the younger generation. It did not disappoint, but it also became very convicting to my personal walk as I was challenged to look at the areas of my own heart that are given over to the idolatry of self as I, like all women I know, struggle with remembering the gospel every day as Elyse teaches so clearly.
Good News for Weary Women is useful for both individual and small group reading and study. It would also be an excellent tool for a counselor or mentor to read and discuss with a woman she is helping. I recommend every Christian woman read this book as it biblically addresses our desire to fully trust and rest in Christ.