Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: "Just Do Something"

Subtitled "OR How To Make A Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing In The Sky, Etc."

Amy, a missionary friend of mine, first piqued my interest with this book about a year ago when she reviewed it on Facebook. She mentioned that she found the premise--"just do something"--liberating as a Christian woman who has always struggled with knowing God's will and feeling paralyzed about it.

As soon as I read her post, I felt an instant kinship, because I've always had trouble with making decisions. Every major choice in my life--from which college to go to and which major to choose, serving as a missionary, to knowing where to go once I'd committed to serving(Japan or Brazil?), to deciding which guy was right to develop a relationship with or marry (!) has always caused anguish, sleepless nights, and lots of tears.

I should known by the impressively goofy cover (a guy in plaid chucking horseshoes) that the style of the author would be light-hearted and easy to read, but the clearly written text and brevity of "Just Do Something"--plus the foreward by someone as well-known and fairly orthodox as Joshua Harris--made this book a surprising read.

I think I devoured it all in one sitting.

The main premise of author Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, is that sometimes Christians try too hard to uncover a will of God that we think must be cryptic, hidden, and dreadfully difficult to discover. And instead of simply making good choices and "do(ing) the hard work of seeing those choices through," DeYoung suggests that we rely on other more ephemeral means like dreams, visions, signs, or "feelings."

The book is organized with ten short, punchy chapters with titles like, "Our Magic 8-Ball God," and "Weork, Wedlock, and God's Will" -- which kept me turning pages one right after another. I especially liked DeYoung's comments and interviews with his grandfather, whose generation raised him with quite a different approach to life and finding God's will, and didn't "hyper-spiritualize his every move." It definitely caused me to stop and consider where my own set of "finding God's will" beliefs came from--from Scripture? From the churches I was raised in? From my own thoughts about spirituality? A mix of them all?

The book was far from being staunchly literal, and suggesting that God does not speak through signs or dreams, and the author assures us that God indeed does work this way, both in Scripture and our lives today. I was also pleased to see that the author didn't denigrate other beliefs or spiritual activities (like dreams, visions, or putting out fleeces), and he also included viewpoints that were quite different for his.

In the end, I found "Just Do Something" to be a liberating book--like my friend Amy did--and one that has stayed in my mind for months since I first read it. Even if it's not your cup of tea or you think differently than DeYoung, I'd definitely recommend it as a bouncing-off point for focusing your thoughts and beliefs and considering another perspective.

For me, this will definitely be one of those (few) books that will make the journey from Brazil when we transition back to the U.S.

Jennifer Rogers Spinola lives in Brasilia, Brazil with her Brazilian husband, Athos, and two-year-old son, Ethan. She never in her wildest dreams thought she'd spend seven years in South America. Jenny teaches ESL private classes and is the author of Barbour Books' "Southern Fried Sushi" series (first book released in October!) and an upcoming romance novella collection based on Yellowstone National Park (also with Barbour Books).


  1. Just the sub-title of this book is enough to make you want to grab it and read! Very good review, Jenny.

  2. Thanks, Sally! That's what got me, too. That and the guy in plaid throwing horseshoes. :D

  3. I'm at a place where I'm pretty well doing nothing. This sounds like something I should read.