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Let’s be honest, the life you lead isn’t what you’ve always dreamt. And maybe the person you’ve become isn’t who you’ve always imagined. Sure, you can clean it up. You can work longer, love harder, and eat better. You can scrub the surface of your life until it gleams and still never address the fact that somehow you lost sight of who you really are and what you’re living for.
Is this the life you were meant to live?
As the child of Nigerian immigrants in the UK, author and speaker Jo Saxton knows firsthand how quickly the world can cause us to doubt our dreams and question who we are. She understands how easily we can exchange our true child-of-God selves for an identity built on lies, guilt, and brokenness.
In this powerful book, Jo examines Biblical figures and shares her personal story as she invites you to turn to the One who knows you intimately and loves you deeply. He sees all you’ve struggled to hide. He hears the voice inside you that others have silenced. He knows the potential and purpose that no one valued. He longs to redeem the story of your life and set you on the path to reclaim The Dream of You. Are you ready?
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
JO SAXTON is a popular leadership trainer, international speaker, and author who is passionate about seeing Jesus transform lives across the globe. She has been featured at IF: Gathering, Catalyst, Thrive, and Propel conferences. Jo also chairs the board of an international discipleship organization, known as 3D Movements, serves on the advisory board for Today's Christian Woman, and co-hosts the LeadStories podcast. Jo and her husband, Chris, live in the Minneapolis area with their two daughters.
Read an Excerpt
Don’t Call Me “Pleasant”
You are fully known and deeply loved by the living God.
You are seen, every single part of you.
You have a voice, you have ideas, you have a purpose.
You are valuable. You are worthy.
Just let all this sink in for a minute.
But somewhere along the way, you lost sight of the truth of who you are. You became who you thought you had to be. You became what was expected of you, what pleased the world around you, what people required of you. That was fine for a while; perhaps it was even necessary. That is, until you reached a place where you don’t know who you are anymore. And you haven’t been able to find your way back.
Most of the time, life is too full and moving too fast for you to even pay attention to the gradual loss of identity. But you can’t escape the moments in life that reveal the situation. It’s in the way you automatically second-guess your opinions. Or in the guilt you feel about your pride in your dreams and ideas of doing something big. It’s revealed in the way you burn yourself out catering to the needs and wants of others. It’s in the hope that by being and doing you will earn more love and acceptance. And when you have worn yourself out and still haven’t received the recognition, you try even harder.
It’s in the way you can’t get beyond your past, and the stain of shame that you can’t seem to escape. After all this time, you still wonder if God really could love someone like you.
I wrote this book for you.
It’s the story of how identities get broken, but how they can be redeemed.
It’s the story of how voices are muted, but how one day they sing a new song.
It’s the story of how God transforms us so we can be free.
It’s my story, and I believe it’s yours too. It’s a story that unfolds every day.
It is possible to find your way back to who you are and recover the life you were made for. It’s not always easy, but the path is paved with God’s grace and mercy. If you’re ready for the journey, I’d love to walk alongside you and keep you company. We’ll share our stories along the way. And maybe some snacks.
Who do you think you are? It’s a life-defining and an identity-defining question. When I consider who I think I am, what my identity is, I sometimes think I’m a woman simply trying to keep up with the expectations of the world around me.
Standing at an airport newsstand looking for some light reading, I noticed the glossy images on magazine covers. The cover models’ features and dimensions defied gravity. There was not one photo of a person on any magazine cover that looked anything like me.
Then there were the claims made by magazine-cover headlines. I needed to buy one magazine to get a perfect body while another offered a must-read article that would teach me how to be the perfect parent and not ruin my children’s lives. Forever.
Yet another magazine promised to make me amazing in bed, while the one just below it assured me I could make nutritious, locally sourced meals in only fifteen minutes. An entire section of magazines pointed out all the accessories I needed to own for the perfectly appointed home. How would I afford all this? Thankfully, another magazine contained the skills I needed to become a multimillionaire entrepreneur.
To ward off any doubts that all this was possible and could be accomplished now, the magazines featured beautiful people who had achieved these goals by the time they were twenty-five. I should simply have walked away from this madness, but I couldn’t help myself.
I said rather loudly, “All I want is a bloody magazine!” and walked away with nothing but angst.
It’s not just me, and it’s not just you. It has to do with being a woman in a society that refuses to accept and celebrate women on their own merits. Our society seems far more interested in limiting us to role definitions that usually have little to do with the qualities, intelligence, and talent we each uniquely bring to the world.
Marketing analyst Clotaire Rapaille has written, “Being a woman in America is difficult…. So many rules, so many tensions.” I agree, except I’d add that my sisters around the world know this is not an issue only in America. Globally, in different cultures and different ways, we’re all feeling the pressure to conform to imposed standards designed to limit us. We all wrestle with a range of rules and expectations and have to work against the voices that keep telling us who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to live for.
As we have seen, our sense of identity is shaped by far more than childhood dreams. Some of us were given inaccurate identities when life interrupted and distracted us. The people around us have left their mark. And personal experiences don’t remain in the past. They leave a deep imprint, forever changing us.
When Life Changes Your Name
In ancient times, a woman named Naomi left her homeland along with her husband and sons. They moved to Moab to escape famine, and they hoped it would be an opportunity to make a new beginning. Sadly, life didn’t turn out the way Naomi had hoped. In Moab, she lost her husband and both her sons. She returned home years later with a daughter-in-law, Ruth. When they reached Naomi’s hometown, the community welcomed her back. But devastated by grief, Naomi was no longer the woman they had known years before.
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told the people. [Naomi means “pleasant.”] “Instead, call me Mara [meaning “bitter”], for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty” (Ruth 1:20–21).
Naomi’s sorrow changed her life and renamed her identity. Yet it’s not only the life-shattering events that shape our identities.
Another story from ancient times shows that allowing others to define one’s identity can sideline even a person marked for royalty. Saul, about to be appointed king of Israel, failed to show up for his own coronation. His unexpected disappearance was so concerning that the people sought God to find the king. The response: “He is hiding among the baggage” (1 Samuel 10:22). Saul eventually came out from his hiding place to assume leadership of the nation, but he never escaped the baggage of his own insecurities.
If you read his story in the Bible, you’ll see that insecurity and other issues buried Saul’s potential. He lived for the approval of others, even at the expense of obeying God. For instance, the king felt so threatened by a young newcomer named David that he tried to kill him. The attempts on David’s life continued for years. Saul’s insecurity was a toxin that overwhelmed his identity and poisoned his life.
It’s human to experience insecurity. We don’t feel confident all the time, and it’s tempting to compare ourselves with other people. Yet the insecurities, if left unaddressed, can grow from momentary emotions to a definitive worldview that determines how we feel, think, and act. Insecurity becomes our identity.
If personal experiences, the interruptions of life, and the voices of those around us have poisoned who we really are, how can you find out your true identity? You know the “right” answer as well as I do. Knowing Jesus forms the basis of your identity, and having a personal knowledge of Him changes everything. Doesn’t it?
Why the Big Disconnect?
For many of us, knowing Jesus has not pointed the way to finding out who we truly are. How can that be possible? Perhaps it’s because humans find it hard to receive love, gifts, and kindness. We have trouble accepting grace. Maybe after all of our achievements in culture, arts, technology, and science, we assume we now have to overachieve in the realms of spirituality and faith. As a result, our identity in Christ becomes yet another task to add to an overcrowded list of jobs to get done.
Wash the car.
Fold the laundry.
Pick up prescriptions.
Be like Jesus.
Before we know it, a life-changing, heart-transforming, identity-defining relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ is reduced to a formulaic “to achieve” list. The list often includes attending church regularly, participating in midweek groups, giving money and time, maintaining personal piety and devotion, and helping others—especially those who are less well off. Of course, it involves being a generally “nice” and vaguely “moral” person. These activities are good, even great things. It’s just that these are things to do. They are not who you are.
When our identity in Christ is reduced to a checklist, it’s no wonder the connection between our faith and our identity is, instead, a big disconnect for many of us. Surely seeking to be defined as a follower of Jesus is not just more empty hype.
We know that Jesus is the answer, so we feel vague guilt about challenging the assertion that he is the answer. But if Jesus answers the question, “Who are you?” then why are we still struggling to find our deepest, truest identities? Where are the freedom, peace, and security that were promised? We’ve sung it, we’ve read it, we’ve stood on the promise of it, and even though we know on some level these things must be true, they don’t seem to be true for us.
We still don’t know who we are. Some of us, not having found a way to get past the experiences that defined us, identify with Naomi. Some of us align with Saul: We haven’t been able to break out from the baggage of our insecurities. We have been trapped in comparing and competing, neither of which can end well. We have listened to other definitions of who we are, and paying attention to the voices has limited our potential and our future. Maybe, as the voices tell us, the problem is us. Once again, we’re not good enough.
Thankfully, God sees us from a completely different vantage point.
God’s Design for Glorious Living
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (Ephesians 1:11–12, msg)
The Scripture passage is not a slogan; it’s the truth. This is the answer to the heartache behind our deepest longings, the answer to the stories behind our wildest dreams. This truth is the answer to our hopes for who we really are and can become. There is so much more to discover than rules and tensions. Before we even knew Jesus, He had designs on us for glorious living.
The words of truth regarding your identity were written by a man named Paul, a zealous persecutor of Christians until he met Jesus in a life-transforming, literally blinding, encounter. The passage forms part of a letter written to church communities in the ancient city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) and the surrounding region. Paul’s letter communicated deep truths that still apply to all believers.
The cosmopolitan city of Ephesus experienced something of an awakening to the good news of the gospel when Paul and his team preached there (see Acts 19). People from all backgrounds and walks of life came to faith. Incredible miracles took place. People who had been involved in witchcraft burned their books and tools and became Christians. Others publicly confessed their wrongdoing. This kind of public confession bore particular significance in this city. Ephesus was home to many religious temples, but its preeminent shrine was the Temple of Diana, still considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Temple of Diana also was known to be a place of sanctuary and asylum. People could find immunity there, escaping the consequences of their crimes.
The Temple of Diana played a huge role in the city’s cultural life, housing its arts scene. The worship of Diana, which fueled the local economy, included rituals and practices that exploited women as temple prostitutes. As pagan worshippers of Diana responded to the gospel and started following Jesus, a decline in commerce derived from former temple-goers affected local businesses. Business owners who were losing profits eventually incited a riot against Paul.
Paul and his team decided to leave, eventually moving on to Macedonia (see Acts 20) and Greece. Meanwhile, new converts living in a pagan land were figuring out what their faith meant to their everyday lives. They were dealing with opposition and conflict due to their faith in Jesus Christ. These men and women were Christians who had left behind a life that bore little similarity to a life in Christ. They needed guidance.
That’s why Paul pointed out in the first chapter of his letter to the Ephesians that a new life with Jesus is exactly that: a completely new life. This is huge in orienting believers in the way to live in a hostile culture (see Acts 19). It also was freeing for the Ephesians. It meant that people who had lived in spiritual darkness, putting their trust in a religion that was powerless to help them, no longer had to be defined by the past. God was making them new, from the inside out.
Can you imagine what it is like to let go of everything that is familiar in order to fully embrace a new life? This means laying down the old way of living, including friends, family, community, the way you used to think, your worldview—all the things that had made you you. The old life can’t continue to exist alongside the new life. But forsaking the old life means having all your comforts and reference points stripped away. With all that left behind, who are you now and what are you living for?
Try to put yourself in the place of converts to the Christian faith who had spent their lives practicing a pagan religion. They sought a change, and now they were experiencing a complete turnaround. Think of the challenges they faced in changing their lives—and staying changed.
We’ve all tried to reboot our lives at some point: a juice cleanse to reboot our health, a decluttering session to clear out our homes. Or maybe a commitment to stick to a New Year’s resolution with the promise of a “New Year, New You.” A word to live by each year to help you remember the person you’ve always wanted to be and the life you’ve hoped to live.
I’m a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, the chance to start again, the chance to transform my life. My attempts have met with varying degrees of success. The weight I lost one year found its way home again. Career paths sometimes took me in a direction I hadn’t planned to take. The determination to be a better woman (whatever that meant) brought me—exhausted—face to face with who I am. My resolve to change my life never has been enough. I’ve needed something lasting and someone bigger than me.
Excerpted from "The Dream of You"
Copyright © 2018 Jo Saxton.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is not theoretical. You can tell it's been hard earned in the trenches of life. She took her struggle and broken to Jesus because He knows what it is to struggle and be broken. "Jesus was watching them. The people were seen by God in the flesh. He knew their journey because God had walked it with them, before them, and after them. Jesus, who had come to earth to save a sinful and broken humanity, knew exactly the burdens that threatened to crush the life out of the people. He was the only One who could transform their lives. The only One who could redeem all that had been and make all things new." Breaking Up with Perfection, Chapter 10 The Dream of You
I find it easy to lose sight of my dreams. As a young mom, my days are not filled with the things that I necessarily want to do. Rather, they are filled with potty training and discipline and playing pretend. In the midst of those things, it is easy to forget that there is a purpose for all of these things. Ultimately our lives are meant to glorify God. And we can glorify Him through all of our less-than-glorious mom duties. But God has also created us for a specific purpose. There is something that we, and only we are created to do. By sharing her experiences in life, especially her wilderness journey, Jo Saxton reminds readers of the purpose that we have been given in life. The Dream of You takes you on a journey of letting go of what's broken in this world and points you back to who you were made to be. I found myself caught up in the Saxton's story of growing up, and how throughout her life there has been a theme. A theme of learning her identity despite so many things that attempted to take away from the woman she was created to be. She talks of looking beyond the brokenness, finding our voice and reminds us of the ultimate love of God that hands us wholeness and a new identity in spite of a world that seeks to take it all away from us. It is not coincidental that as I was reading a chapter titled "The Wander Years," and focused on the Israelites journey to the promised land, that I was also reading these passages in my morning Bible study. And the sermon series at church has been speaking about life drifts. And the podcasts I listen to have begun to focus on moving through pain and suffering. And other books I'm reading are also speaking to this idea of wilderness. I've been in a wilderness season for quite some time, and as I walk into my Promised Land, The Dream of You helped remind me that my story can and will be redeemed by the one who loves me more than anyone else. Saxton reminds us that even in the small things, we are still given a voice. And we are still given a dream. Even if the season doesn't match up with the things that we believe should be happening, we can learn and grow and continue to find The Dream of You. I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. This review is my own, honest opinion.
This book speaks so much truth and is a message we need to hear and allow to sink into our hearts. I believe a big problem a lot of us have is not knowing who we really are, our identities have been tainted by this world. Jo does a great job between sharing her personal story and the Bible. I was highly engaged in this book and looked forward to picking it up each morning during my quiet time. She really got me thinking about my identity and who does God say I am, not who I think I am. Overall, a very good read and I highly recommend it. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I so enjoyed Jo's writing style. It's down-to-earth, like hanging with a friend. She genuinely cares for women, and I believe her message is so important, especially at this time in history. Her own story is vulnerable and relatable. It's one of those books that gets better with each chapter. She speaks truth in a unique way that makes you think "I've never thought of it like that before." When it come to speaker/writers, I rarely love both their speaking and their books. It's usually one or the other, but Jo Saxton is wonder at both!
This is the first book by Jo Saxton I've read. I first learned about her via the IF:Gathering created by Jennie Allen and was excited to hear about this book coming out. If you are feeling lost, aka not sure who you are, not sure if you have a voice in anything, or life just hasn't gone as you thought it would...this book is for you. Jo writes from her own struggle of going through the process of finding her God-given identity amidst the wilderness and valleys life brought her way. If you can relate to ANY of that, get this book.
This book is an emotional powerhouse! Jo begins each chapter with a personal note to the reader based on the issue the chapter covers, and it sets the tone for this to be a welcoming friendship. I laughed, cried, learned and was stretched by the topics addressed. If you've ever listened to any of the Lead Stories Podcast with Jo Saxton and Pastor Steph,you will hear Jo's voice as you read. (If you haven't, go look it up! You're missing out on her great accent!) Sharing her experiences with topics that we all can relate to, this book challenges you to seek what God truly wants for you. It encourages the reader to look past the labels the world has given us and press forward into our God given identity. We can't progress if we stay in the past. We can't move forward if we continue to believe what others say of us. We can't do better in leadership of our homes, jobs or families if we are content to be stagnant. Be ready to be encouraged and challenged. You will be blessed from this book! *I was given an Advanced Reader copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions above are my own*
I had really only heard Jo speak a few times but I knew that she brings the Truth with passion and intensity when she speaks and I was pretty sure that would translate into a book that I would want to devour! As soon as I saw the title and subtitle, I knew I was in! Because here's the thing: Even when we have discovered our true, God-given identities and have been walking with Him and have learned His ways and have experienced partnering with Him in using our gifts... Gah! Sometimes we STILL forget, right? This book is full of Jo's personal journey... full of ups and downs and testimonies of how He came through but also testimonies of how she got through in the in between times! As expected, she draws from the Bible and unpacks Scripture and familiar stories in a way that gives you a different perspective, --or at least a refresher that shows you that there are a lot of kindred wanderers and wounded warriors in the Word. A reminder that truly, we are not alone... and whatever we are facing, there is purpose in it and through it and even the hard, dark parts (maybe especially those!) He will use! I loved that while reading her words, I could 'hear' her voice... sometimes reading with an accent (because - of course!) and sometimes reading in a slightly shouty font because of the excitement! I also loved the combination of Letters to the reader, with Scripture/Bible teaching, testimony, and space to write and to answer some great leading questions to help us discover (or re-discover) the parts of us that may have gotten lost or broken along the way, too!
Jo Saxton’s book is beautiful & brave. Her words are often convicting yet comforting. Jo’s teaching is deeply rooted in Scripture. She is bold yet humble. Her story reveals the pressure of the constant battles we all face around our identity and worthiness. The vulnerability of her journey through this book carries the very heart of God’s grace and redemption. The Dream of You is a book every woman needs to read. Gather a group of girlfriends, put on a pot of tea, get real, and wrestle through it together. Redeem your voice!
If you could choose another name, what would it be? In the book The Dream of YOU Jo Saxton, reassures her reader that there is beauty in redemption. There is hope and a future from the worldly distractions that have damaged or derailed us from our God-given identity. Jo shares from the chains of her childhood, and through the waiting in the unpleasant disappointments of her wilderness that God is waiting with you. It’s up to us to come and seek to know Him full well so that we’re able to see what God sees in us. Jo mentors her readers throughout these pages revealing how life isn’t about survival but living restored. The Dream of YOU is a powerful tool that opens our eyes as to how God’s storyboard for our lives reveals our new identity through the transforming power of His Son the Messiah. When we give ourselves permission to dream again, were able to dream bigger.
I received a pre-released copy so I could provide an honest opinion. I've had the pleasure of hearing Jo Saxton speak on several occasions. That same energetic, supportive voice comes through in her writing. She created great word pictures in my mind. I could see a young Jo taking on the world in her red Wonder Woman boots and I was a part of her Nigerian family gatherings. Having not been encouraged to dream as a child and teenager, I was a little nervous about the subject matter. Some of it was hard to read and feel. Jo gently introduces each chapter with a letter to the reader and herself. She weaves lessons from the Bible with lessons she has learned throughout her life. She has dared me to dream, told me it's okay and used scripture to get me to a place where I can accept it. It's a solid book.
Mrs. Saxton masterfully weaves her story, the story of other women and events in the Bible that ultimately end up resulting in many #MeToo moments! The author then helps you focus on reclaiming your God given identity by speaking truth into the lies spoken over you by other people or past events, by offering steps you can take to get you moving toward freedom in Christ! I was given an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.
This little gem of Jo Saxton's is one of the most recent books that has struck a chord in the tenderest places of my soul. If you've lost sight of your dreams or cannot find your voice, please read this book. Jo reminds us that, despite the struggles we face in our lives, we were made by a God who saw us as whole from the moment he dreamed of creating us--and still does, even while we see ourselves through the lenses of broken identities. Even if you think you still have your voice and haven't lost sight of your dreams, I encourage to read it anyway. There's wisdom in these pages for many women.
To say I’m a fan of Jo’s is to say I’m a fan of chocolate, or coffee, or cheese...all understatements to an extraordinary level. From her addictive accent to her slay-you statements, she will speak right into your life and you will find you cannot get enough her. I first encountered Jo in all her sassy glory when she spoke at a women’s event several years ago. Her cute shoes hadn’t touched the platform stairs on her way back down before I’d already followed her social media situations and signed up for anything related to her words. Well, she’s got some new words to share and I’m having them. As a privileged member of her book launch team, I actually got to have her words before the rest of the world (except for the other few hundred fangirls in the group...hey y'all!). As I read through her book, I was captivated by Jo all over again. The Dream of You finds her encouraging the reader to, “let go of broken identities and live the life you were made for.” Each new chapter commences with a short letter from the author, serving as both a general introduction to that essay’s topic and a safe-harbor welcome to the heart of those who identify with the truths unpacked in the following pages. I find this to be one of my favorite aspects of the book as she calls directly to the reader's emotions, assuring us we are seen, and known, and loved. Once Jo’s story unfolds, anecdote by anecdote, readers are easily able to identify how we too may have lost bits of our authentic selves, even as Jo illustrates - through Biblical character study - how we might regain our true north. Her chapter titles alone draw us closer to ourselves. ”What’s In a Name?” she asks knowingly for one title, and for another she spins, “The Day I Lost my Voice” into a gut-punch of a moment. Ultimately, the book builds on this quickly developed intimacy between author and reader, allowing Jo to craft her words to maximum impact near the end of her missive. My copy of the book is littered with sticky notes, cover to cover, and I found myself turning back through them time and time again, as I absorbed the layers of Jo’s message and asked myself her thesis question, “am I living the life I was meant to live?”. Between the perfectly sprinkled stories Jo shares, sort of “going first” if you will, and her chapter-ending invitations to reflect upon its nuggets, any reader can easily use this book as a tool to grow in Christ’s vision of our true identity. If you've been feeling like the experiences and people in your life have dimmed the dream you once held for it, Jo’s words are here to help.
Somehow, I thought I had to have every aspect of my life all tidied up in a neat little package with a bow on top before I could claim my spot in His Kingdom. I still felt like I needed to earn my place at His table, to earn my keep. That belief was the root of the broken identity I needed to shed so I could live the life I was made to live. Who knew? HE DID, of course, and this book couldn't have entered my life in a more timely season. As I started reading, I doubted that I was the target audience. I thought I had already "let go of broken identities," as the subtitle reads. The closing chapter helped me see that there were still some broken identities that I was hanging on to. Then the epilogue had me crying beautiful tears of recognition that who I am, right now, is the person I was created and redeemed to be. Even with all my flaws and areas where I am still a work-in-progress. Jo Saxton gave me permission to live my life. Her parting words reminded me of a prayer I prayed almost 18 years ago as I finished Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study. That prayer has been answered in ways I could not have imagined then. I am healed, free, and my life has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Like a liberated oak tree, I am a strong, mature display of God's splendor, just as I prayed to be all those years ago. Thank you, Jo Saxton, from the bottom of my heart. I saw myself in the mirror today and I LOOK JUST FINE! I found the keys and I'm ready to go. I received this book from Waterbrook, the publisher.
I saw an opportunity to join the launch team, and I love reading pre-release books and sharing my opinion. I didn't know much about Jo Saxton and haven't heard her speak, but Ann Voskamp is a book mentor I love and she wrote the forward, so I jumped in. After reading her book, I feel like I can refer to her as my friend, Jo. She has the knack of making the reader feel known, seen, and visible in the book, as she encourages you (maybe some would view it as a pretty direct push) to think, process, pray, and seek God's dream of you, and be an active participant in living it. I have the utmost respect for Mrs. Saxton, but since she told me I'm her friend, it's natural to call her Jo. (even if I don't really know her in person.) In her book she mentions she likes lists (and she also directs us that some parts of life a list doesn't fit!), so I think I will share a list of things I like about the book: Format/Content- Super engaging and personal, you feel like you are sitting with your friend or mentor Jo, learning from life together, and seeking God's dream of you. *the book is very practical, clear, and approachable. We all need to learn the lessons Jo shares. *Each chapter opens with a letter from Jo. She writes as if we are friends, shares her heart, empowers the leader, and engages us in the journey of thinking through the lessons she's learned in her life. *Most chapters end with a task, a question, or a prompt to process and review the main idea presented. *Chapters have titled section breaks that help keep you focused. Jo is vulnerable and shares her own experiences, thoughts, doubts, and struggles, but often caveats them with parallel issues others may deal with, so we all are forced to recognize we need to mentally evaluate our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and what has influenced them, or slowed, or separated us from them. Scripture- Jo makes her points clear as she teaches us how to find our true identity in Christ and let go of our broken identities, to live as God would direct us. It's personal with her stories, but it's truthful with her excellent examples in the Word of God. She has us thinking about Jesus, life, teachings, perspectives and how heroes of the Faith lived their real identity- Esther, David, Paul, .... Style (shared a bit in format.) *Her style is culturally relevant, and embracing each woman where she is. * It's authentic, and she pushes us to transform our minds and renew our thoughts with the help of the Holy Spirit. *She is a direct shooter, she doesn't mince words, she's clear, to the point, and easy to understand. Some may not like this, as you can't ignore easily thinking and applying the strategies to yourself. (Some of us may like to read about how to grow, but we prefer a distant, less internalized approach, so we can believe we are growing, but not really be confronted directly.) * But her style embraces a guilt free, where you are, one step or moment at a time, she even talks about how to move ahead little by little. The last few chapters were practical strategies, tips, ideas with room for you to add more of your own, to really find your identity in Christ and learn to live in it. I enjoyed this book, some of the struggles mentioned were not mine, and I didn't feel like every aspect or perspective fit me, but that really didn't slow me down or turn me off because she so often mentions that all her struggles, might be very different than our own, and that's okay.