The Comparison Book. (“Why Her,” by Nicki Koziarz, Book Review.)

Why her?

Too much stock in another person’s life can deplete the amount of joy we are able to extract from our own share. How do we combat comparison in a social media driven age, where we can simply sit and scroll into a dissatisfied abyss from the comfort of the couch? It seems like an impossible pitfall to avoid, let alone cope with or climb out of. But Jesus reminds us, “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NIV)

A follow up to her first book, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, Nicki Koziarz tackles a difficult topic through Why Her?: 6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind, determining to deliver the message on comparison that God laid on her heart. Her faithfulness to do it authentically and honesty will undoubtably help readers flick the chip of comparison off of their shoulders.

I highly recommend this book!

Through the story of Rachel and Leah in the book of Genesis, Nicki Koziarz guides her audience through six truths to understanding and overcoming comparison. A topic that everyone struggles with, her approach and guidance is practical and authentic. The lessons that Nicki introduces and teaches are fresh from her universally relatable, everyday struggles. From common regrets to PTO problems, this book will have readers laughing and wishing they could high-five Nicki!

“The Bible is always relevant, because it reveals deeply rooted truths that never expire.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

Old Testament Biblical stories can be difficult to navigate through, but Nicki takes her readers on a journey that is unbelievably relatable to the time we live in now. In a society saturated in social media, comparison can easily creep into our comfort zone. Empowered by Scripture, and who God says we are, readers of “Why Her” will be able to scroll through news feeds and walk through life aware and prepared to deal with comparison in a positive way.

“If we’re honest, we’ll realize some parts of our own stories are still being written. And if we rush to cover up those pieces of our lives that lend themselves the most to comparison, we’ll miss the powerful story of redemption that God is in the middle of writing.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

Of the rich revelations uncovered in this book, my person highlight was realizing that being offended was a stance that I was choose to take. Another rich truth that sunk into my soul was the revelation that just because I don’t always get what I am aiming for, doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. It just isn’t always mine.

“God’s promises are not only for reading and meditating on. There are times when we must fight to believe them and receive them for our lives.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

In a rough moment on a hard day, I recently found a letter my Grandma wrote to me when I was thirteen. “Keep your standards high, as they are now,” she encouraged. “Stay sweet and beautiful.” The constant strive to keep up with my busy life had left little time to reflect on who I was anymore. Through tears, I prayerfully admitted that I had not kept my standards high at times, and it cost me dearly, every time. But the beautiful thing about Christ is His personal love for us. His grace washes away what I cannot take back, leaving the sweet and beautiful, innocent thirteen year old girl to shine through once again. 

Reading through the last of the six truths of this book, Nicki’s words rang with God’s affirmation of my Gram’s encouraging letter. In a rush to strive and achieve and impress, I fail to pause and glance at my own reflection. Maybe out of fear, or disappointment, in what could have been or I wish would be.  But this book has given me practical steps and vivid reminders to help me shut the comparative chatter down.

” I don’t know why it feels so hard to see the goodness of God in our lives. I don’t know why we’re often only able to see it in others. I just know if we’re not careful to stay in the reality of God’s love and goodness, we’ll slip into a place where our souls become unwell and we’ll miss what’s right in front of us.” -Nicki Koziarz, Why Her.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell into house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 

This book is a quick and fun read, because of Nicki’s relatable tone and fun real life applications. Yet, it’s deep and rooted firmly in Scriptural, life-changing, truth. I highly recommend this book to women who struggle with comparison, or maybe just feel an emptiness or uneasiness about an area of their lives. 

Happy Reading!

Megs

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

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The Compassionate Quit (Book Review, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit,” by Nicki Koziarz)

“Be merciful to those who doubt.” (NIV) Jude 1:22

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“I quit.”

With every Kindergarten foot-stomp, adult miscommunication, seven-year old sassy stare, and unnerved “NO!- That’s not something we tell the dog ‘NO’ for,” I holler down the hallways of my home, I yearn a little bit more for a vacation away from all of them …the people and the thoughts.

“You’re not a good parent…just give up.”

“You’re not a good wife…just give up.”

“You’re not a good friend…just give up.”

“You’re not a good writer…just give up.”

“You’re not a good …daughter, sibling, co-worker, church member …fill it in how it feels …and then just give up.”

If we’re being real, that’s someone’s reality. Today, it’s mine. I can see my lack of self-control reflected in my struggle to maintain the last word…even with my dog.

“Don’t you DARE bite me…” I’ll stare menacingly. They’re supposed to read your facial expressions, right? I’m not a good dog owner …maybe I should just give up.

My relationships reflect my constant battle with insecurities.

“They shouldn’t treat me that way…” Quit.

I crave entitlement to curb my doubts.

“I deserve better…” Walk away…again.

God met me right in the middle of this tantrum with a verse and a book that squashed my imagedoubt and commanded, “Don’t Quit.”

When we quiet the quitter by commanding compassion, we witness to the wavering. Through Jude 1:22 and Nicki Koziarz’s book, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit,” Christ compelled me to stop whining keep walking.

 1. Quit the quitter.

“Have mercy on those who are wavering.” Jude 1:22 (TLV)

“Have loving-kindness for those who doubt.” Jude 1:22 (NLV)

imageRefuse to pour out doubt before you recognize the reflection. It’s unworldly to look in the mirror to heal ill-regard towards others. Justification is the more acceptable method of problem solving in our legalistic society.

It’s not the people and the circumstances in my life that are causing me mental unrest…it’s the disheveled way I’m running the course through and to my calling. But when I reach out and read I find I’m not alone…

Jude was Jesus’ brother. Yet, his qualification to speak on Christianity came from a lifetime of growing up in the same household with, but not believing, he lived among the Son of God. #oops (Men of the Bible, Bible Gateway) 

Nicki’s honesty in revealing her “Quit List” comforted me to tears. #AMEN Testimony can reach out in such a personal way when the faithful share God’s story of their life.

Life Application: It’s easy to pitch a tent of pointed fingers and quit hard people and situations, but I’d rather look back at the meandering path of walking with Christ. When we feel a hint of aggravation creeping into our temperament, stop and pray for God to unplug the compassion-clog.

2. Command Compassion

“And have mercy on some, who are doubting.” Jude 1:22 (NASB)

“And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Jude 1:22 (KJV) 

“And you must show mercy to those who’s faith is wavering.” Jude 1:22 (NLT)

My qwerty keyboard lit on fire with crying smiley-faces when Nicki shared her experience with peroxide contact solution in her eye. I was so thankful not to be the only one who had somehow dismissed the bright red cap of warning, and pictured myself doing the spazzed-out eye-burning dance as she recalled her own. (Page 64, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.)

I expected her book to be funny and easy to relate to, but I did not expect to cry like a baby when she peeled back my secret struggle of marital life By unveiling her own honest sentiments. What secret? That it’s HARD. It’s so hard. Unbelievably hard, even when you’re blessed with the best.

I’m forever thankful she chose to come alongside of me that day. Her compassionate wave of the “It’s OK” flag released the flood gates of something I wasn’t sure was “normal” to feel. The next morning, God so faithfully and personally placed people in my kitchen to call it out and pray it out with me. #awesomeness.

“What is my responsibility to other people? Move with compassion. Touch the untouchable. Give what you can. Point to Jesus.” -Pastor Todd Nielsen, The Chapel

Christian love get’s lost in the movement, sometimes. Sharing the struggles behind the smiles of your life is “caring enough to move” (Pastor Todd Neilsen)…and that’s compassion defined. I pray God allows me to be there for other people like me, who exude laughter and encouragement, but are inclined and conditioned to tough it out.

Life Application: If we can learn to lean in to the One who made us a midst struggle and strife, I believe we’ll discover the confidence hidden in our truest pieces. And I know those pieces are meant to touch hearts and save souls.

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3. Witness to the wavering.

“On some have compassion, making a distinction.” Jude 1:22 (MSG)

“On some have compassion, using discernment.” Jude 1:22 (MEV

“Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt.” Jude 1:22 (TLB)

For anyone who tests out of personality quizzes with leadership skills like I do, the struggle with control is real. But God wouldn’t build a trait into my character unless He meant it for good. How can control be a good thing? The obvious benefits of self-control are easy to equate, but while studying this word I discovered a new layer.

“Control: A person who acts as a check. A check or restraint. To eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of. To test or verify…”-Dictionary.com

My religious upbringing lit the love of Christ in my heart, but there came a time when I imagehad to sift through rules to release my relationship with God. The floodgates of conversation flew open when I lifted up the consequential constraints of penance to begin running my disheveled course of calling. I had to lose control to gain control. 

Control of each soul’s marathon is beyond a human’s ability to reason and rule. As we stride up alongside each other on life’s disheveled course of calling, our duty is to extend an encouraging word and a “you can do it” through whatever personality skill you’re gifted the highest score.

“Christian freedom is not a hall pass to do whatever one wishes.” Case for Christ Study Bible, Jude image1:22  Rather, Christian freedom is the way Nicki described it in her book:
“Goodness, I mess up all the time. I say things I shouldn’t say. I have thoughts I shouldn’t have. I doubt when I should trust. I quit things I shouldn’t quit. And yet God is always there dabbing more and more grace on my soul. He doesn’t quit me; He just keeps ‘touching up’ the places of weakness in me.” Nicki Koziarz, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.”

Sometimes, God’s people will dab grace on your soul during the race…

Life Application: When doubters see you overcome what they are underneath, a “me too” mentality is born from testimony. Share the hard stuff, and be real with God about your stuff.

Each translation of Jude 1:22 perpetuates a unique revelation. God will speak your language, where you’re at. Jude’s letter emphatically urged his audience to be wary of “grumblers and fault-finders” toting Christian freedom as “a license for immorality,” (Case for Christ Study Bible) and ended his letter by pointing back to God, who is “fully able to keep those who put there trust in Him.” (NIV Study Notes James 1:24-25)

Synonyms for control, according to Dictionary.com, are: management, government, reign, rule, mastery. Rest assured, the author of the universe is in control. Everything has a flip side. Christians know the ending. Stay focused on the finish line, and make the choice to keep your control setting flipped to His.

“When we feel others are not giving us what we need, it’s really easy to give up. We start to feel resentful, and maybe a little entitled.” Nicki Koziarz “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.”

imageIt’s a disheveled course, but God designed my personality to persevere around every sharp corner and up every steep…never-ending hill. Jesus’ scarred hands extend compassion to me…which bleeds out of my life, and prayerfully onto those who need to know that He loves them, too. That’s the mission. Until the we hug Him in heaven …there’s no time to quit.

Happy “Not” Quitting…

Megs