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Are you ready to release your control of needing to be everything for everyone?
In Choosing REAL, author Bekah Pogue walks with us into life’s unplanned circumstancesspecifically frantic schedules, pain, transition, feelings of unworthiness, loneliness, and tensionand reminds us it is in these.very.moments where God invites us to notice, respond, and even celebrate an authentic relationship with Him through every.little.detail despite our own efforts or work. The result? A connection between real life and faith so that they are one and the same.
When we enjoy God's company firstthe heavenly Creator will transform our minds to view our schedules, work, relationships, parenting, and responsibilities as opportunities to dance in life's storms and honor how beautiful simple can be. Better than our ideal party, it is He who is inviting us, setting the table, breathing peace and freedom into details we aren’t in control of. When we recognize how He surprises us by using our greatest pains and detours to draw us to a beautiful dependence on Himfreedom and peace replace control and worry.
Put aside what-could-be and instead embrace what is? The invitation is yours. . .choose Real today.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
An everyday Jane, Bekah is passionate about encouraging women to find their identity and freedom in Jesus, to live intentionally, and to celebrate their created selves. As a writer and speaker, Bekah shares about how God is inviting His REAL self to be experienced through life’s pits and peaks. She communicates her heart with a relaxed, storytelling style, as if you were sitting on her couch and catching up as old friends. You can find her at the beach, reading, baking, rearranging furniture, or flea-marketing. Bekah and her hubby, Bryan, and their two energetic boys reside at The Pogue Cottage in Huntington Beach, where dance parties are a regular occurrence. Bekah invites you to connect with her at bekahpogue.com.
Read an Excerpt
An Invitation to Celebrate when Life Doesn't Go as Planned
By Bekah Jane Pogue
Barbour Publishing, IncCopyright © 2016 Bekah Jane Pogue
All rights reserved.
An Invitation to Respond to Life with an Intentional Yes
We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn't come naturally. It's a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.
— Charles R. Swindoll
He held up four dimpled fingers, and two sapphire oceans stared up at me. "For my birthday I want chocolate chip cookies and a dance party." I laughed. Of course he does, this kid who can barely contain his passion for life and love for people. Of course he was planning ahead for his birthday, which happened to be six months from then.
My thoughts drifted to his first birthday celebration: Ty & Tapas. Both great-grandmas had called to clarify. "A topless party, Bekah? Really? What is this?" I explained about tapas — small plate, Spanish nibbles — and that in all honesty, it was a party for the adults, especially us parents, because, Praise Jesus, we survived his first year. "Please Grandma, come. And puh-leeze, do wear a shirt."
I snapped to the present. "Cookies and a dance party sound perfect!"
Fall came, and Ty was in charge of the guest list and spouted off friends' names as fast as I could write them down. At the bottom of the online invitation, four tiny letters sealed the deal: RSVP. Depending on whether people responded yes or no would affect the birthday celebration. For those who chose yes, cookies and sweet dance moves awaited — and the assurance their children would be sent home in a sugar coma. For the guests who couldn't attend, no problem — we'd understand. And for those who didn't respond to the invitation, it was just that.
It really couldn't get simpler than chocolate chip cookies and loud tunes and children dancing. Now, you must know, I'm impulsive and get overly excited about the smallest of events and may have gone a bit overboard on the baking. And because there is nothing, I repeat nothing, like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, let's not stop at a dozen. No, friend, let's make 150 homemade chocolate chip cookies — just in case the entire state of California responded positively to the birthday invite. As Tanner and Ty helped crack eggs, stir dry ingredients, and pour buckets of chocolate morsels into the mixer, my husband, Bryan, created an upbeat dance party mix, and we chatted about the upcoming birthday festivities. RSVPs came one after another: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Ty's birthday celebration was perfectly uncomplicated. Minimal setup. Unhindered time. Platters upon platters of homemade chocolate chip cookies. "Happy Birthday to You" voices in unison. Birthday boy basking. No-cares-in-the-world dancing. Loud music drawing in the neighbors.
Billy, from down the street, stopped by with his dog, watched on the outskirts, and left with a bag of cookies. From the driveway across, kids paused their game of basketball to bust a move and sample birthday treats. "Come on over," we invited neighbors. "Come dance and eat and celebrate." And some said yes while others stayed indoors. Long after guests left, our family sat on worn beach blankets and watched the sky entertain with her generous scoops of sherbet piled high in cloud bowls.
Have you ever noticed the opposing perspective between when you host and when you attend a party? When we RSVP yes to an invitation, we simply get to come and be. We don't have to buy the napkins, hang the banners, or nudge the final sheet of cookie dough balls into the oven, timing them perfectly for guests to savor warm treats. We simply come to enjoy. To relax and be included in the celebration. It requires little work on our part other than showing up and walking through the doors. The rest is soaking up laughter, savoring appetizers and fizzy drinks, shaking to catchy tunes, and breathing easy as kids run and squeal in utter joy. RSVPing yes means we experience an invitation to its fullest.
Growing up, I desperately wanted to say yes to the invitation of a dynamic relationship with Jesus. But I wondered how because no one ever explained to me that I didn't have to work so stinkin' hard at it. I concluded Christianity was nice people doing nice things for one another. I believed Jesus was who He said He was, but He always seemed a bit too perfect for me. I couldn't relate. I suppose deep in my gut I couldn't grasp that Jesus is actually personal and wanted to hang out with my feelings, my insecurities, and me. In high school I went on every church mission trip and volunteered for leadership roles in school and ministry, but my faith was performance based. I didn't understand I had a choice in allowing Jesus to take the lead. Because, heaven forbid, what if He didn't? How could I follow a Jesus I didn't have a real relationship with other than what I did for Him?
Until my early thirties, I lived out my faith the same way I lived out my natural calling — as the host, the inviter. Mostly because that's my sweet spot. I adore opening our cottage doors and welcoming friends with the clink of a glass and music dancing from the kitchen. Hosting families and encouraging them to feel cozy within our safe walls awakens me to my creative self. But I had a misguided belief that physically inviting people into my heart and home transferred into spiritually inviting. Thus the lie rooted: I was responsible to do the inviting with God. This unrealistic faith perspective was a heavy weight, one that put me in the center, doing all of the work.
Perhaps if I entertained Jesus enough, caught His attention, proved why He should attend my so-called party called Bekah's life, He would come. Hopefully with dessert. So I invited Him, but only to the major events. God, will You join me on this mission trip? Can I get Your opinion on what college to attend? What are Your thoughts about my future spouse? Career? Where should we live? On and off, I used Him like a seasonal accessory.
Jesus the hat.
Jesus the cute scarf.
Jesus the sassy neon belt.
Mostly, I asked Him to meet me in the important parts of life because I didn't know how to be real about mundane, unexciting details. Like How do I navigate friendships in college? Where are You when it comes to my shifting identity? It barely crossed my mind that He would want to listen to my heartache or family tension or marital spats. And because I didn't know how to invite Him into the oh-so-normal parts of my life, doubt took hold. Deep, dark doubt. If I wasn't aware of how to be personal with Him, there was no way I could conceive that He wanted to know me, all of me, every nook and cranny. Sure, I knew Christianity claimed that Jesus wanted an intimate relationship with me, but practically grasping it was another story.
I heard little discussion of life not going as planned from the older generation, from people at church, from the pulpit. Will someone explain how real life collides with faith? How do I respond with my temporal circumstances and let God use them for His eternal plan? And how does this whole faith thing work in the everyday?
Unsure, I decided, I'll keep on keeping on. I'll connect with Jesus when I read my Bible. I'll carve out space when I'm not working or chasing my little monkeys around or trying to make sense of life. I'll do it all even if I'm worn out. And I'll do it with a smile, because that's what faith looks like. Adamant foot stomp.
Come. The more the merrier. I invited and planned and hosted. At the core, I recognized a frantic inner fan. Whir, whir, whir. The unceasing white noise begged me to pause. Little did I know it was God's Spirit, beckoning me to follow, to stop whirring about, and give Him space and time to initiate a relationship with me. If I'm honest, at the center was fear. Fear that if I stopped reaching out and organizing, I wouldn't be accepted, thought of, or invited. So I took control and used my natural gift for connection but suffocated it beneath panic and charged ahead.
Yes, I choose You, God. But I mapped out life on my own. He would place dreams in my heart and mind, but I'd stress about what would happen if I went for them and failed. I had friends but was afraid I wasn't enough for them. I was real with others about hard times, but did I really believe God wanted to endure my brain chatter?
What does it look like to respond to Jesus' invitation for a genuine relationship with Him?
First, I have to believe He wants to invite me — all of me. If I can't wholeheartedly embrace how He sees me, knows all my crazy thoughts, and right this moment is planning the menu and pouring glasses, then I can't take the next step. Only when my head connects to my heart and I know with every fiber in me that He is already here and chooses me, then, and only then, can I move forward.
With trust established, I now have a basic choice — do I respond yes or no? Do I trust my unknown to God more than I trust my sense of control? More than my outcome and plan? Do I choose to enter into an expectant posture, or do I choose a five-step, fill-in-the-blank, paint-by-number life? Saying yes views every feeling, experience, relationship, and bump in the road as an opportunity to see from His vantage point. Yes holds plans open, turns palms up, and acknowledges that God knows what He's doing. Responding with a nod means, Lord, how can I get closer to Your heart through this? The reality is that when I constantly did the initiating with others (and sometimes even with God), doing so became tiring. Exhausting. I secretly wanted to fling my arms out wide, tilt my head back, and give up. I wanted to stop trying to make sense of details and allow God to take over.
But wait. What if I can let God do the inviting? What if you can let Him? Let Him send the invitations, plan the event, choose the colors and theme and guest list as He comes to celebrate us? What if we let Him lay out the dreams He has placed within us since before time in the order He knows best? What if we choose to know He is weaving passion and pain and grace so personally together that it has to be journeyed with Him to appreciate His peace all the more? What if it starts with one lip-quivering yes?
Bob Goff, a life-embracing communicator and world changer, in his guttural laugh type of way, said, "Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary; He simply invites us. God asks what it is He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 'Let's go do that together.'" This invitation visual makes my heart happy.
Slowly, my perspective shifts. Before I assumed the role of inviter, but now I receive hundreds, thousands of daily invitations to follow and join Him. The invitations can come like they did when I was a child in the traditional sense of His black-and-white words found in scripture. They come through prayer and people. But they also surprise deeply as God's Spirit sprinkles out-of-the-box invitations through dreams, my children, nature, and music. I notice His offer as I'm baking, designing, playing with our sons, as the sun sinks into the silver ocean. Wise souls tell us, and they are correct, that the harder the circumstance, the clearer He becomes.
His invitations arrive.
A crisp white envelope with black bold script. "Will you choose to trust Me with this job interview?"
A crumpled, tearstained envelope with smeared pen. "Will you choose to follow Me into the unknown of this move away from family?"
A small, dark envelope with faint type. "Will you choose to follow Me when you feel alone?"
A dazzling gold envelope on the screen. "Will you choose to follow Me when marriage is hard work and everyone else on Instagram looks like they have it together?"
A formal envelope with numbers signifying a patient's name. "Will you choose to follow Me when your dad has cancer?"
The choices come, one after another, carrying extreme feelings and real-life circumstances, and I get to rip open the pretty, ugly, and scary packaging to peer inside. Only I can respond to each and every invitation. Will I RSVP yes or no?
God's Spirit beckons, presenting a choice to create my own path, even under the mask of faith — or to recognize Him as the Inviter, the One Who Has Already Shown Up. As Ulrich Henn, a German sculptor, so beautifully said, "All men, believing in God or not, are invited to enter. I wish to make them curious to see what God has to offer them within the cathedral." Here lies my choice: Will I enter into where God is inviting?
Oh friend, how backward my perspective used to be. This trust journey is an invitation, one that begins with God first inviting me. Inviting me to come with my fears and questions and stories of transition and pain. Inviting me to carry broken dreams, an imperfect family, and fragile expectations. Inviting me to bring my bags packed with life's experiences, which He so willingly offers to carry. He invites me to RSVP to this faith journey. To let Him surprise me in the order, the people, and the gifts wrapped in pain. He is a giver of good gifts, but I have to trust He knows when and how and why to give them. And believe He remains constantly Real even when gifts are taken away.
Too often I still try to host. To take control and design the menu, coordinate the napkins to fit with the theme, and Hmmm, what games should we play? Favors or no favors? No wonder I wore myself thin. I perceived faith much in the same way as a party I planned. Every new sunrise offers opportunities to respond yes. Will I see how God is Real in this circumstance, this emotion, and this relationship? Will I choose to engage, despite how painful or lonely or awkward doing so may be? Or will I try to host?
Bryan and I love inviting, but how great is our joy when we are invited. Thought of by people who want to know us more. Esteemed enough to be welcomed into their homes. Being invited is one of the most humbling gifts to receive because it has nothing to do with us making the event happen and everything to do with showing up and choosing to be seen.
In his book Yes or No: How Your Everyday Decisions Will Forever Shape Your Life, Jeff Shinabarger talks about community and noticing people enough to invite them, especially when they are withdrawing. He wrote, "If you see people you care about retreating, engage them. They need you. They need your care, your listening ear, and your perspective to help them through whatever has them stuck. We were made for each other." How true this is for community but even more so for how Jesus longs to invite us into community with Him.
What does it look like to say yes to God? To greet Him as the Welcomer? To let Him intentionally place people to intersect your journey while they travel their specific paths?
"Come enjoy and taste and see and experience," God says.
When I attend God's party with my fears about being too emotional and my ginormous, passionate dreams, He asks me to bring them all — the whole shebang. He welcomes my heart for others, my honest frustrations about busy schedules, and my hope to be intentional in my parenting of our curious boys. When I RSVP yes, I'm saying yep to every last drop, His realness in each and every situation. RSVPing yes is a good starting point.
When Jesus invites, when He shows up and knocks gently, when He whispers through classmates and coworkers, co-op moms and crazy calendars, we have the choice to accept and walk through the door with Him or to continue putting on the "inviter hat." We know how it feels to be invited in, so why do we so often refuse these invitations and go about our way, hoping He'll ask later when we're less busy?
It took my son's birthday party to surface deep faith questions. Will I RSVP to Jesus' invitation to follow Him, even when I'm not sure what that even means? Will I choose to grab hold of His hand while my other arm carries bags of real-life questions? Will I recognize that in the moments when I question, "Is there more? Is this it?" followed by my most honest confession, "I hope there's more," that God is here? That He is meeting, waiting, and patiently holding out His hand?
Of course, God starts with an invitation, an offering of Himself. On the cross Jesus invited me to follow. And since then His invitations haven't ceased. No wonder He starts by meeting me where I am in my current season. An invitation is by far the most beautiful expression of love and grace. It requires no work on my part other than acceptance. His invitation includes all of life, every dark corner and every vibrant, celebratory space.
Excerpted from Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue. Copyright © 2016 Bekah Jane Pogue. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. RSVP Yes,
2. Enjoy the Journey,
3. Loss Is More,
4. Who Am I?,
5. Undie Therapy,
6. Cozy Corner Booth,
8. Communicating Value,
9. Thanksgiving in May,
11. Dancing in the Routine,
12. Turning Outward,
13. YOU Matter,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
CHOOSING REAL is a book that's been in my to-read pile for awhile and I finally decided to knock it out of the way - almost a year after publication. But people are still buying books, so maybe this will be helpful to someone as they plan out their Christmas shopping list. Bekah Jane Pague is obviously an energetic person. Just reading the book makes me tired. And she is by nature an over-achiever, planning detailed themed parties for a one-year-old and inviting everyone in California (okay, not really, just almost) for a later party. The concept is good. We don't have to go above and beyond in entertaining and reaching out to people. We can let people see the messy dog dishes left in the kitchen. I do have issues with some of the theology, I guess, due to where I am in life. Yes, when it comes to God all we have to do is RSVP Yes that we accept God. Yes, we trust God. Yes, we ... but that technically isn't all there is to it. I won't go into why though. That would be a book in itself. Now I get what she is going for in the main theme of the book, and this is geared toward the over-achievers, the detailed oriented people who would die of embarrassment overlooking a dog dish when having a party. Its for the ones navigating a messy marriage, a flooded house, a death in the family and trying to hide it, trying to handle it, and discovering they can't do it alone. It's an invitation to let go and let God handle your mess in His way, in His time, and you just rest in the pain and be real. Let others know, let them see your mess. Just be real. I do agree with that. Sometimes it is in the realness that you are able to meet people where they are, to minister to them in their pain. If you had a miscarriage, you know how to reach others suffering through that. Suffering from cancer? You can minister to others in the same boat. An adult son on drugs? Yes, you can truly be a help to other parents suffering through that. The book was a bit rambling and I found myself skimming, but if you have a problem with being real and hiding behind perfection then CHOOSING REAL is a book to consider. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
Nice to sit and chat like an old friend, very enjoyable and thought provoking read.
For the most part, I really liked this book. Like other reviewers, I felt challenged to dig deep within myself to understand some of my life's disappointments from God's perspective and seeing the bigger picture of how God is using them for a better, larger purpose. I was really touched by her amazing life like descriptions of things in her life like her descriptions of her father, her sons and husband. Her letter to her father who had passed where she struggled to come to grips with losing him and simultaneously the loss of control in her life was simply beautiful. I felt very teary as I read her pain and honesty about their relationship. The only complaint that I had was some of the punctuation. I found the closing spacing and periods to be a bit distracting, e.g. every.single.time. because it was used so frequently. Otherwise, the book was really a good read and I felt like it helped me grow in my Christian walk. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
I loved this book by Bekah Jane Pogue! It was honest and heartfelt about her walk with the Lord and a great reminder to all of us about keeping it real. The Lord doesn't want us to just seek Him during the good times or in the areas where we always look such as bible study, dinner prayers, Sunday school and while we are listening to worship music. He wants us to seek Him during the good, bad and the ugly while we are in the trenches of our everyday life whether we are at our highest or lowest He is there. This book came to me during a time when life is a little busy and crazy and I'm not at my best, but that is okay because in this book Bekah reminds us that is when the Lord wants us to seek Him the most. It's all about keeping it real. I was given an ARC from the author/publisher. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me great information that not everything has to be perfect because God doesn't want or need perfection .God wants you where you are at. The author was very honest about how she always felt like she had to be perfect and plan for huge parties but in reality your relationship with Jesus is so much more than any planning that you can do. Celebrate your love of Jesus. It was a very encouraging book and I would recommend it to others. I received a free copy from Barbour Publishing and I voluntarily chose to review it.
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn't Go as Planned by Bekah Jane Pogue is an uplifting book that will make readers breathe in everyday life, look for the beauty in their daily lives, celebrate it, and experience God with all of our senses and awaken to His love around us. The book discusses pain, loneliness, unworthiness, beauty, loss, gratitude, and many other emotions, yet at the same time motivates readers to have faith in God as He is always there around us. Choosing Real shows readers how Jesus is present in real-life circumstances and reiterates the faith of readers in God and the plan He has for each one of us. The book is original and encourages readers to look at life with a new outlook. The author's personal experiences help readers connect well with her words, thoughts, and expressions. Her conversational style of writing gives a personal touch to her words and makes the book vivid to readers. The book has many layers to it and it is a good book to have in one’s personal collection as it can be read many times. Each time readers will find something new and encouraging in the pages. The author’s words are thought-provoking and insightful and give a deeper meaning to life and our existence. It’s a book that will make readers contemplate, reflect, and will take them on a journey of self-discovery. Choosing Real will help readers find their identity and freedom in Jesus, acceptance, and show them the love and freedom they can have.
Bekah Jane Pogue has written an amazing book in Choosing Real. Reading this book makes it seem as if the reader is sitting in the kitchen with Bekah Jane Pogue. She recognizes even though life may not always according to our plans and our wishes, we need to let God take control. She helps the reader understand how we are invited to sit at God's table and that invitation is one without measure. We need to recognize that God made us to need community and especially to commune directly with Him. When we focus on our real lives rather than on what we want to be true, we need to trust and follow God. She brings out how God is able to transform even the smallest details. She does an exceptional job of weaving stories, teaching and practical thoughts together into a package which is hard to put down. I look forward to sharing this book with my family and friends. I definitely recommend this book and found great value in it. I am sure I will be rereading it several times. I received a complimentary copy for my fair and honest review.
This book made me think of our state motto, "esse quam videri," -- "to be, rather than to seem." The book's theme is that when we choose to be in a genuine, intimate fellowship with Jesus, then our everyday actions flow through that relationship despite our circumstances. The book is very readable with many personal experiences illustrating how God is real and truly with us, and that He is interested in being part of our ordinary lives. The book explains and illustrates how our attempts to be perfect, just throw a rod into the works of God's machine of redemption. The final chapter of the book comes full circle -- when we feel valued and are secure in our relationship with God, then we can effectively reach out to others, speak God's words through our mouths, allow Him to embrace and heal others through us. This thoughtfully written book would be perfect for a group study or to use as a gift. Five stars, all the way. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
This was an unusual book, written in a chatty and open style about a difficult topic - celebrating life and "enjoying the journey" when things don't go as you planned. I wanted to like it because I agree with the author's desire for authenticity, but I kept getting mixed messages throughout that sometimes made it hard for me to keep turning the pages. For instance, Mrs. Pogue stresses valuing only God's opinion of her life, and yet often wrote in such a way as to impress her readers with her lifestyle/wardrobe/music playlist/hardships. She is a pastor's wife, but seems to have a rather casual hold on theology ("Jesus is the author of relationships and community, being that He's part of the Trinity and all," p.96). In chapter 6, she complains to a friend over breakfast out that...she has no friends!...think about THAT contradiction for a minute. Chapter 12 starts out with a long illustration taken from Downton Abbey, only to confuse the characters of Isobel Crawley and Lady Grantham. And every chapter is filled with too.much.punctuation. That looks cute once, but over and over it is just.too.trite. Maybe I am just too serious a reader for Mrs. Pogue's style; she may be just the author to reach someone I couldn't. What I do admire is her honesty about her mistakes and misperceptions. She is very brave to catalogue her struggles and fears, and to be so transparent about how God used her pain to draw her closer to Himself. I also think she made some especially good points in Chapter 7 about not letting technology take over our personal or family lives. Facebook and Pinterest and Intagram (as interesting as they are) can easily discourage us from enjoying REAL life vs. the photo-shopped version we want to show the world. And who doesn't love chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies? A detailed recipe for each is included in this book. I received a copy of the book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Proque This book is going to have you asking yourself questions. You will also look at your reactions to life differently. Life experiences can cause you to be bitter or make you better as you trust the Lord. And in re-evaluating your life, will you turn your life lessons inward or outward to help others. I loved how the main message was an encouragement to pursue stillness in daily living so that Jesus could be heard in Scripture, music, family, friends, nature, tastes and smells. Life never happens as we planned it to with physical and emotional pain, sorrow, misunderstandings with family and friends, and the list goes on. Choosing Real is an invitation to live life by sharing in the lives of not only friends but strangers that we meet. How? Because of Jesus. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Ms. Pogue is a breath of fresh air in the world of inspirational/spiritual authors. I enjoyed the "voice" of the author. She is down-to-earth and (one has the impression) is very approachable. Whilst Ms. Pogue offers (wise) counsel on many of life's challenges (loneliness, anxiety and juggling life's many varied responsibilities) she is not "preachy" in any way. Instead she tells readers of her own life experiences in ways which are clear and, sometimes, humorous. I am a people-pleaser with perfectionistic tendencies. It was nice to read a book in which I was able to see that I am not alone in this walk/struggle...and on the days that I feel discouraged - it is heartening to realize that feeling discouraged is okay. It's "real" (and there is still plenty to be happy about - even during the more challenging moments of life). I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
I adored this book. Bekah is a new author to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing and her writing style. This book is just the right balance of story telling, interpretation and application. The book is the right blend of self reflection and teaching. Each chapter of the book could be read as a standalone lesson, but they complement each other well into a complete book. This book would be great for a book club or a small group. Each chapter would lend itself to rich study and discussion. In 13 chapters, the book explores topics such as rest, transition, loss, beauty & worth, loneliness, tension and gratitude. I found myself wishing I had the paper version of the book so I could underline and highlight passages. A few of the passages I e-highlighted: "Planner, I found, was a fancy title for Worrier, for if the plan didn't stay with the agenda, self-doubt rooted." and "I do this with God. I feel like I need to bring my resolutions to Him so He'll perform like the gentleman choosing a grand prize waiting behind one of three doors. Except God doesn't need to grant one of my resolutions as a prize." I read this advanced reader copy via NetGalley, but I plan on ordering this book so I can re-read with pen in hand.
This is a light and lovely book full of encouragement! Written more like a series of essays rather than a self~help book, this would be a great read for any woman longing to surrender to God's plans for her life when life looks different than expected. For the woman going through a serious life change or a catastrophe, it most likely doesn't go deep enough. Bekah writes as if she's chatting with a friend~she's relatable. Her style is engaging and warm, and this is an easy book to get into. I flagged several pages and quotes to go back to from time to time. She even includes a few recipes which is a fun bonus! *I received a copy of this book by Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Choosing Real i s a deep-reaching, gut-clenching reality check on your heart. As a mom, wife and "daughter of the King", Bekah Jane Pogue shines new light on our daily choices. Through grief, pain, humor and trials she spotlights the problems in her life showing you that we all have issues. Her sweet honesty lays the path to help you choose to have a better relationship with Christ. "I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review."
This book started out a little slow but it picked up fairly quickly. This is a book that you will want to read slowly. It has a lot of good information especially about grief and loss. I especially enjoyed the scripture that she weaved into the book. I like that she used her own personal stories about what God has taught her. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review. My opinion is my own.
Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue is a lighthearted and honest look at what really matters in life. Bekah puts herself out there by sharing about her own weaknesses or areas in which she needs to get back on track and focus on what is “real”. While reading this book I felt like I was sitting right there with her, a part of her “nest” as she calls her circle of family and friends. This book was not a quick read for me as I felt the need to slow down and contemplate the ideas Bekah was sharing in each chapter on a deeper, more personal level. At times her personal stories were laugh out loud funny and at others the tears came. I left each chapter focusing more on real relationships with the environment, people, and most especially with God. Reading this book has given me a much deeper appreciation for all that is around me and taught me to look beneath the surface, especially in times of conflict, and find what is real in the situation. I feel blessed to have read this book and recommend it to everyone who desires a real relationship with God and not one of mere lip service or repetition. I give this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars. The writing style is very engaging and even when dealing with difficult subjects Bekah leaves you feeling loved and accepted. I am a much better person for having read this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Bekah Jane Pogue does a good job of bringing God into all parts of life. She does this through a mix of humorous stories, real life moments, and practical application. Bekah's book is easy to read and through each topic discussed whether grief, every day life, or any of the others, she provides ways to open up to God and leaves the reader with more places to look if a particular topic really hits home. I am a mom of three 7 and under and have lost a parent. Life is crazy busy and sometimes stressful. I enjoyed this book and found it helpful in more than one area of my life right now. I think this book would be helpful to many women as it offers a great thoughts on many topics we all deal with. "I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review."
Bekah is a new author to me, and I enjoyed her writing and her writing style. This book is just the right balance of story telling, interpretation and application. The book is the right blend of self reflection and teaching. Each chapter of the book could be read as a lesson, but they complement each other well into a complete book. In 13 chapters, the book explores topics such as rest, transition, loss, beauty & worth, loneliness, tension and gratitude. A deep book and the author made you feel like you were sitting with her as she looked into her experiences. I give you here my honest review of this book as I told Barbour Publishing I would do in exchange for getting the book to read
The author, Bekah Jane Pogue, takes the reader on a journey from the darkest moment of her faith-life into the light-filled reality of her new frame of reference. She describes herself as a planner, a party-thrower, the initiator, someone who always had assumed that if she could just do enough God would love her and give her good things. Or that she would be worthy of God's good attention. Being thrown into unexpected, unplanned grief turned her life perspective on its' ear, and this book chronicles her thoughts in the process of knowing that she had nothing to give; not to God, not to another person, and not to herself. God heard her plaintive cry and spoke to her heart, and Bekah gives the reader insight and gems from her journey. It's hard to pull just one thought from her book. It is studded with truth about choosing to be REAL, to be present in the moment that is actually happening rather than the moment that we WANT to happen. It's about choosing to be thankful for what actually IS rather than what we want; seeing God's work in the nitty-gritty of our daily tasks instead of the polished picture we want to show others. I found jewels of wisdom in every corner of this book, and am encouraged to grind down those polished pictures I want to present to others and to myself, and recognize the picture that God sees of me; the messy, distracted entirety of who I am because of how He made me, the me that He knows already, loves and wants to introduce me to. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Come As You Are - Choose Real This book is a journey. It is not a quick read but rather a discovery of choosing to be real in a messy world as you follow Bekah Jane Pogue in “Choosing Real.” Society tells us women we need to have a “House Beautiful,” be super skinny, and be the perfect mom and coworker. But God wants us right where we are, the real us, in an authentic relationship. Pogue writes, "Truth brings freedom and cements my identity. And truth can come only from the Creator (p.114).” The book covers topics like communication, pain, loneliness and unworthiness using many personal stories from the author’s own life. It took a while for me to get use to the author’s writing style but then I was reeled into the story. The journey to discovery of the real you and your relationship with God will take time so plan on rereading this book many times to gather all the nuggets of truth and wisdom it offers. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
While reading this book, I felt my body relax. I did not realize how much tension I had stored in my physical and emotional areas. The author gives her true life examples of ways that we allow ourselves to become "worried" or "consumed" by how we think things should be happening in our lives. Each page found me saying out loud, "Yes, I agree." We don't have to strive to please others. We just need to choose to be real and understand that God has a plan for all of us. God's way and God's timing is best. This is a wonderful book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and this is my personal, honest opinion.
This may come down to personal preference and taste, but I had a hard time connecting with this book. There are some insightful stories and a positive message, but I felt it suffered from a loose structure, repetitiveness, and a lack of clear direction. Although the book stresses being authentic, I felt it fell a little flat and could have been strengthened with a shorter more well-defined format. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Reading Choosing Real is like experiencing a heartfelt conversation with a friend. Author Bekah Pogue openly and honestly shares her own feelings and struggles, letting readers know they are not alone in their circumstances. “You matter, and how you respond to what goes on in your day-to-day life matters. And celebrating your trust in God, regardless of how large or small your plans are, matters.” Uplifting and encouraging, Choosing Real is a great reminder to embrace and celebrate life’s moments, both planned and unplanned. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
I loved Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue! Bekah’s approachable and down to earth writing style drew me in and I found myself nodding and agreeing aloud with her conclusions. Choosing Real is a lifestyle and an invitation to become the authentic Christian woman God created us to be. Bekah writes the handbook for this transformation with practical steps for examining our ideals, emotions, and roles for lasting and meaningful change. I lost my father last year as she recently did, which helped me identify with the pain and grief she writes about and need to shed the fluff and get real with my life and everyone I know. This book helped me remember that the good life, the everyday life, IS real life. The best day I am having is right now if I am living the purpose God has given me. Thank you Bekah for this treasure of a book. I enjoyed every minute of it. I received a free copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
In Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned by Bekah Jane Pogue, Pogue invites, entertains, and challenges her readers to courageously choose to be open and honest with God, themselves, and others, especially in their everyday living. She bravely and authentically shares her journey as she consciously chooses to be real in her family and in culture of social media and celebrate the ways God uses her and others to carry out His plans. She explains how “real is the new perfect,” (Pogue 108) and at same time messy and emotional. Her understanding of perfection is biblical based and in relationship with God. “Perfection is found as I follow Jesus into the center of real life—social media included--and come to know His heart, one overflowing with freedom and peace” (108). She addresses how to take hold being real by dealing with triggers that lead to distractions, time, and truth. I highly recommend Bekah Jane Pogue’s Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned because it challenged me to want to be real in my daily interactions with God, with others, and with myself. I am thankful for the opportunity to accept this invitation to choose real. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.