Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles

Quite quickly after diving into this artistically covered (the lime green Adirondack chair located half on sand and half on surf made me smile as well as the conchshell next to the author's name was a nice touch along with the texture of the cover and the matching black and white photos in each new chapter) work by Tracie Miles, the theme was clear. We all have stress. We all will have stress. But there is a solution. Jesus Christ. With more focus on Jesus and less on us and our situations, we can have less stress and more victorious living!

I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but beginning on page 146 was when I rolled up my sleeves and started taking notes.The subtitle Running by Faith was an an Aha! moment for me. The author's account of running with her eyes closed was intriguing, inspiring and to me a wonderful challenge for all of us. Close my eyes and take a jog on the beach? An addition to my bucket list for sure!

Another poignant tale was of a woman in a wheelchair (don't want to be a spoiler) and though I guessed the ending for some reason (most likely I saw myself more as the woman who looked the part of someone who "had it all together but didn't" oops I may have been a spoiler after all) I was touched. This was just one example of the many unexpected endings in this book. I considered these "takeaway" stories a sort of parable which I will not soon forget. Priceless.

Chapter 8 offered up Kaitlyn in the attic - oh my goodness! Although I am not a Mom, I held my breath and nothing existed in my world until I finished that story. Also in that chapter, I so very much appreciated the description of the four types of adrenaline junkies. I saw someone I knew in one of those categories but am still trying to figure out where I fit in those categories. I have concluded I have a little bit of each of those traits in me and possibly need to have a fifth category created just for moi ;)!

Loved the Biblical discussion of Martha and Maty as well as Scripture throughout. Also everyyone everywhere would lead a stressed-less life by heeding the six action items which were supported by Scripture. They were: realign your life, recognize your need, adjust your focus, be filled with the Spirit, be faithful in your prayer life and believe God is who He says.

Tie for my favorite quote was (page 229), " We just need to bear in mind that, no matter how good those things feel in the moment, they will always bring temporary peace, while real peace, the serenity that changes the course of our lives, will come from Jesus alone", and (page 230) "Friends, your life is not going to change because you read a book about stress. Your life is going to change when you realize that the absence of God in your life is intensifying the presence of stress in your heart." Amen!

The theme of the book was reiterated int the last chapter with Isaiah 26:3 which says, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

I heard her heart beating on many occasions, especially when she sat in her car and wondered what was she supposed to do. She felt stuck on so many levels! So many of us can relate to feeling lost and trying to fill that hole in our heart with all kinds of stuff. Nothing worked for me, except when I sat in the lap of my Jesus and poured out my soul to the author and finisher of my life (who knew me before the foundation of the earth might I add!). Tracie Miles got the coming-to-the-end of her "doing and being rope" and decided to bless her readers by sharing her story. Her lessons learned rang loud and clear in Stressed-Less Living.

My only negative comment was the mention of Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa and promotion of Yoga Journal. I reviewed his website and surfed around and stumbled upon a concerning statement by Dr. Dharma as purported to be quoted in his book The End of Karma, "Rather than a debt owed from a past life, karma is what's happening right here, right now. Karma is both action and the consequence of that action; it is cause and effect all in one go." The reviewer of his book goes on to say, "Moreover, according to Dr. Dharma, your best self is to live your dharma, which means that your ultimate destiny is to always remember that God and you, you and God are one. Doing this will help you end your karma and experience peace and oneness."

If I were offered the opportunity to review the above book by Dr. Dharma, being the Berean that I am, I would provide the evidence to support or dispute my concerns above. However, this inclusion of the author above was unfortunate as well as unnecessary in my opinion. I still enjoyed the book and will recommend it. No doubt this man has done great things, but God reminds us in His Word that "apart from Me you can do nothing." And this Truth was the thread woven throughout Stressed-Less Living so I could not leave this negative comment out of my review.

Having gotten my one negative point off my proverbial chest, I have to say that this book was a dayspa for my soul. Everything from the feel of the cover, the image on the cover and throughout allowed me to glean from the authors experiences and also to dig into the Word. I felt loved reading this book because the tone was caring and not preachy or condescending. I truly felt Tracie Miles bared her soul on many levels throughout the book.

Stressed-less Living would be great for a Woman's Bible study as it included discussion questions at the end of each chapter as well as Scripture verses which would be great to challenge participants to memorize. Check out her website So many free devo's and a chance to sign up for her 10 Day Stress Detox. So many choices to suffer less stress and experience more of Jesus!! Now that's better than any day at the spa, isn't it?!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Leafwood Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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