Joyce Meyer • Faith Words • September 11, 2018 • 272 Pages
I picked this book up out of curiosity. I grew up in a very religious, evangelical Christian home, and, quite honestly, I can’t stand that bullshit now. It makes my skin crawl. But when I saw this book, I thought it would be interesting to see how I reacted to a popular, mainstream Christian author.
Healing the Soul of a Woman is pretty much what I expected it to be. There’s a lot of Christian-ese talk about communing with God, accepting Jesus as your savior, reading the Word, healing your soul, claiming your inheritance, laying it at the cross, and letting “it” go. But behind all that religious jargon, unfortunately, there’s just not much clear advice on how to, you know, feel better.
I also find it curious that author Joyce Meyer rarely gives specific examples of trials in her life. She will say, “I recently went through something that was troubling me and stealing my peace,” but she doesn’t like to reveal details. I don’t need a play-by-play of every petty moment, but sometimes those details hold all the power. If Jesus has taught us anything, it’s that a good story is how you get people to relate to your situation, to empathize with and learn from you. Without that human element, her advice often rings hollow.
Still, Meyer makes two points in the book that I did appreciate. First, that you should keep moving forward, even when you’re down in the dumps. You may just want to stay in bed post-breakup, -divorce, -death of a loved one, etc., but it’s important to get yourself up and out so you can live your life. I also found it encouraging when Meyer says that people who’ve suffered abuse or some other tragedy don’t have to believe their lives will never be “as good as…” just because they’ve experienced setbacks that others haven’t. In the end, we’re all on the paths we’re on, but we each have good things coming our way.
There are also some empowering chapters in the back that cover topics like standing up for yourself, establishing boundaries, and being your own best advocate, but I so wish these chapters had been presented in the beginning of the book. Why do we have to cover the meek and mild “you were taken from Adam and created to be his helpmate” BS first? I hate that that is the stereotype (and really, let’s face it, the standard) of the godly Christian woman. What a waste.
In short, this book is predictable, best for the religious crowd, and sure to be a bestseller. As for real substance, so many other books do it better. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein
- No Mud No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
- The Fatherless Daughter Project by Denna Babul and Karin Luise
- Toxic Parents by Susan Forward and Craig Buck
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- The Martha Beck Collection by Martha Beck
- Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
- Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride
- Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin
Thank you to Faith Words and Amazon Vine for the Advanced Reader Copy!