Stop Trying Review

Book Review: 

One of my goals this year is to grow closer in my relationship with God. This means spending more time with Him through reading the Bible and praying, but I think Christian books are also helpful. But it's important not to replace them with God's Word.

Identity is something that I think everyone has struggled with at a point in their life. Who am I? What or who defines me? These are all very important questions and if this is something you struggle with, I highly recommend this book. I don't think this book is just for Christians, I think everyone can benefit from it.

Pastor Cary Schmidt explains three different identities. The first is the traditional identity, which tells me I am who others expect me to be. The second is a modern identity that tells me I am who I say I am. Pastor Schmidt quotes that "Both objectify, depersonalize, reduce, and burden me with the impossible hard work of self-salvation . . . Either we will be who others say we must be, or we will be whoever we want to be. We live up to others' demands or to our own. We work hard for others or work hard for ourselves. It's a simple "you define me or I define me."

Thankfully, there is a third identity, known as the gospel identity. This is an identity that we don't have to work to achieve, but simply receive it.

"The gospel makes your eyes go up and your heart go deep. Your identity goes vertical. You rest in ultimate reality - I belong to God and He has given me all of Himself. You don't live to please others or yourself because God finds pleasure in you through Jesus - and living in and out of HIs pleasure is the most defining and joyfully motivating experience in life."

I think this book is essential to read, especially in the society we live in today, where the world is very "you-centered" and not God-centered. I am so thankful to God that I have read it because it's so very relatable. It talks about so many important topics and what I loved the most about it was that Schmidt uses personal stories from his own life and it is full of Bible verses and stories. I laughed while reading it, I felt conviction and I also cried.

I think this is a book that I will be coming back to. I can honestly say that I've struggled with my identity a lot. Sometimes I question who I am and I care too much about what people think of me or what I do and how well I do it. But a gospel identity can't be achieved, it can only be received through Jesus Christ. The book talks about all three types of identities in such detail and how weak the first two are and how they won't hold up.

Now this is not to say that I am strong, but each and every day is a choice to choose Christ and walk in the gospel identity. My gender, desires or sexuality doesn't define me. I don't define myself and others don't define me. These are all temporal things. My identity is firm in who I am in Christ.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian struggling with identity, or you're simply curious about it. It's life-changing and it will make you see the world in a very different way. I think that this book will do a better job at explaining it more than me. While I did learn many things from it, I think that I will have to go back and reread it. It's full of wisdom.

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.