Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman


From the back of the book: The majority of us would not necessarily define ourselves as artists. We're parents, students, businesspeople, friends. We're working hard, trying to make ends meet, and often longing for a little more--more time, more love, more security, more of a sense that there is more out there. The truth? We need not look around so much. God is within us and he wants to shine through us in a million little ways.

A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas--with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships. Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.
Have you ever thought of yourself as an artist? 

I haven’t, not really. I like to take photographs, but to me that feels like capturing a moment in time, not creating one, and I think that in my mind, being an artist is associated with creating and cultivating something out of nothing. I look at other photographers and have no problem identifying them as artists, but somehow never consider that for myself.

A musician playing a song. A painter filling the canvas with color. A seamstress creating pants out of some fabric and thread. Those are artists.

My husband's an artist. My sister and sister-in-laws are artists. Not me

In hearing Emily Freeman talk about her book, A Million Little Ways, I heard her say once that this is a book for people who fear that they have nothing to offer the world, but secretly hope that they’re wrong. 

And that’s exactly it, isn’t it? So many of us, I think, feel like art isn’t something for us. It’s something for the painters and the musicians of the world. Emily Freeman argues that there’s already art alive within all of us; it’s art that we were born to make, and also art that we were born to live, and that our art can be expressed as a way to glorify God in a million little ways, whether we be moms and dads, teachers, cashiers, telemarketers, garbage men, or musicians on stage. Our life can be our art, if we let it.  

I read this book at a time when I felt weary and bogged down by the mundane. It was an encouraging reminder that we all have different giftings, and are called to do specific things at different times in our lives, but that regardless of what our gifting is, we can glorify God through it.

“I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” ~Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways

There’s no doubt about it, one of the ways that Emily Freeman has been gifted is writing—she weaves words and stories together in a way that is captivating and enjoyable. As if you began talking in your living room with your best friend at 3pm, and suddenly looked up and it was midnight. 

Actually, I think that the best praise that I can give for this beautiful book is to tell you that I received an advanced reading copy of the book to review, and sometimes, particularly with digital advances, there are little glitches still being worked out. In this instance, my copy was missing every single double f. Effort became “eort”. Offering became “oering”. Stiff became “sti”. But Emily Freeman’s prose is so beautiful that I was easily able to look past it, and to all that this book had to offer. It was worth it. 

Overall? Even if you don't think that there's any possibility that you're an artist....

PS- The amazing ladies at (in)courage recently used this as their Bloom Book Club book. If you do read A Million Little Ways, I highly recommend popping over to (in)courage--they walked through the book with Emily Freeman herself and have a lot of amazing videos available to watch and posts available to read!

Disclosure Statement: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. As you all should know by now, all opinions are my own--I couldn't lie about a book even if I wanted to.

1 comment:

  1. This is currently on my nightstand! Can't wait to dive in.


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