4 out of 4 stars
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"Is anxiety keeping you up at night? Are you living the dreams that God has placed in your heart, or are there still untended dreams lying in the soil of your soul?"
These are a few of the questions that Anita Agers-Brooks addresses in her inspirational guide, Exceedingly: Spiritual Strategies for Living on Purpose, with Purpose, and for an Abundant Purpose. Agers-Brooks examines what abundant living looks like and offers powerful insights on fulfilling a passionate purpose. Through true stories, supporting scriptures, and examples from her personal journey, she illustrates how readers can find the significance they seek. Agers-Brooks clarifies that God's promises aren't dependent on social status. Instead, we must believe and learn to view ourselves through God's eyes.
I read quite a few books in this genre, and I must confess that many leave me disappointed; spiritual self-help books don't always ring true. As Beyond Beautiful podcast host Becky Harling so aptly puts it, I "want to be sure the person who wrote the book has actually experienced a few problems." Agers-Brooks refers to "being cured in the oven of adversity" and credits these experiences for increasing her compassion, understanding, and wisdom for how to help others. The author's authentic approach sets this book apart from others promising an abundant life. Agers-Brooks is not just another author "presenting an unrealistic plan for a safe, problem-free life." She challenges readers to respond with gratitude, purpose, and passion despite inevitable bumps in the road.
In addition to Agers-Brooks' down-to-earth writing style and emphasis on gratitude, I also like the segments at the end of each chapter called "Mind, Body, and Spirit Strengtheners." Concluding chapters with abundant purpose challenges, exercises, scriptures, promises, and discussion prompts makes the book ideal for journaling, personal reflection, or as a group Bible study. For instance, here's a discussion prompt that speaks to my heart: "Are you grumbling and complaining about delays, or are you looking for the lessons, miracles, and beauty in the scenic route God is taking you on?"
I honestly can't name anything I dislike or suggest any improvements for this well-written and uplifting book. It is exceptionally edited and contains no profanity. I'm pleased to rate Exceedingly 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to Christian readers, particularly those who enjoy journaling and Bible study, and those who are so inclined will appreciate the contemplative segments at the end of each chapter. The book will also appeal to readers seeking significance in their lives. Country music fans will enjoy the author's account of her meaningful encounter with the late Troy Gentry.
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