Do you ever feel like, just maybe, there’s something more that you’re made for? I think we all do. After all, there’s a pull in us, an acknowledgment inside that this life isn’t all there is. Even those of us who follow Christ can sometimes feel that we want more–more of Christ, more impact on others, more of God’s blessings. Because I think that feeling is universal, I was pleased to get the chance to review I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact by author Gwen Smith.
Gwen divides her book into three sections: All the Faith, All the Power, All the Impact. Throughout these chapters, she addresses all the areas of life that many of us deal with throughout our days. It’s wide-ranging, with additional questions for reflection and response at the end of each chapter. There’s also a study at the back of the book that includes additional scripture readings and reflection questions, and I think it’s quite a valuable addition to the book.
I loved the sections on prayer, temptation and our speech. I especially took to heart her advice on nagging!! However, at the end of the day, my favorite words in Smith’s book deal with pride and bragging. Many times I’m guilty of thinking that, just because I’m looking for status in a Christian world and not by worldly standards, I’m okay with God for indulging my pride, and I’ve seriously missed the mark here. Confidence, pride and bragging are so easily confused, and it’s often hard for me to see my own sin until the words of affirmation that I’m given are taken just a little too smugly or to heart. I sometimes forget that I do what I do for an audience of one.
I wanted to quote just a little from Smith’s words to show you the honest correction that I needed to hear:
If we’re striving for excellence so that others will be oh so impressed with our accomplishments, our relationships, our homes, our sins, our service, our bank accounts and our Bible studies then we’re acting out of pride. Instead of elevating our Lord, we’re electing ourselves. Lord, forgive us.
I think the best books can make you feel the sting of conviction without making you feel that you’re being preached at, and Smith’s book meets that qualification for me. There were occasional places that dragged, but those were the topics that weren’t as relevant for me in my faith walk right now. If you’re wanting a great book to do a spiritual checkup with, this is wonderful book to read and to complete the scripture readings and reflection questions as you go.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.