Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. This month we’re sharing book notes on Elizabeth Woodson’s new book, Embrace Your Life Enjoy!
We can all relate to those times in our lives when things aren’t going as we imagined they would. Maybe your unmet expectation is that your dream job still hasn’t arrived. Maybe you still haven’t found the house your family craves. Maybe you’re praying hard for a baby. Maybe you’re desperate for a community of believers. Maybe you’re waiting on more financial security so you can finally open your own business.
For Elizabeth Woodson, that unfulfilled dream was marriage. After years of waiting and praying, God still hasn’t answered her desire for a husband. Yet, she’s found joy that transcends her picture of an ideal life, and she’s graciously sharing that discovery with us in Embrace Your Life.
Elizabeth’s candid words and teachings remind us that even if our realities don’t align with our desires, we can trust in the One who is always at work.
She encourages us to identify, rather than avoid, our emotions and our longings. Living in a fallen world means that we will encounter suffering and tribulation, trials that are not dictated by our own merits or lack thereof. And Elizabeth reminds us that feelings and hardships don’t have to be ignored. Throughout the psalms, David cried out to God. In fact, there are more psalms of lament than of praise! And in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out, too. Yes, even Jesus had longings and desires.
But their ultimate desires were for God’s plans to be fulfilled, which is completely countercultural to the instant gratification-obsessed, American dream-centered ways we are used to. We picture our lives being perfect, with our dreams being fulfilled and our Instagram feeds reflecting that. While that’s clearly not our reality, Elizabeth shows that contentment with whatever God has called us to is still possible.
Throughout this book, she dives into six themes: self-examination, lament, hope, remembrance, faith, and joy. At the end of each chapter, Elizabeth offers a time and space to implement these teachings into your own life. You won’t just read about how to embrace the life God has planned for you; you’ll actually practice embracing the life God has planned for you. Through writing prompts and guided questions, you’ll be challenged to:
- No longer run away from God with your longings, but instead lay your longings at the feet of Christ.
- Step out of fear and into faith.
- Stop fixating on disappointments from the past and anxieties about the future that stall you from being present.
- Not ignore your emotions but name them.
- Trust in God’s timing—because He is good and only good!
- Cling to hope that isn’t reliant on your circumstances.
- Replace the idols that grant you momentary joy and instead seek everlasting joy that can come only from Christ.
- Take hold of the unique life God has called you to and use it for His glory.
I can’t recommend this new read enough. Elizabeth’s words are a pertinent reminder to find our ultimate fulfillment in Christ, not our circumstances, and to be content with the plans He has graciously and intentionally orchestrated.
Our Author and Creator has us in His palm. Let’s embrace this truth together!
Olivia Thames is a writer and real estate agent in Nashville. She loves interior decorating, reading, laughing with friends, walking but not running, and eating Mexican food with her husband. You can find more of her work at oliviathames.com.