To Dare Greatly

Throughout this year, I will be sharing one book review each month. I am not a professional book reviewer, but I would like to share my thoughts about some of the books I have read recently that have impacted my life in meaningful ways. This week’s book is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Do yourself a favor and read this book soon! You can purchase it here:

“Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.”

Brene Brown has put together one of the most meddling books I have ever read. I rarely think a book is a must-read for everybody, but this is one of those books.

Brown has done extensive qualitative, grounded-theory research for over a decade. That research has resulted in this book as well as two of the most viewed TED talks. Brown has found that as human beings we long for connection. In order to attain connection we need to overcome shame and become vulnerable on the way to achieving wholehearted living.

Sounds easy, right?

Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound easy. Which is good, because it is not.

This book is helpful on a number of levels. Let me explain how it is helpful for me.

First, I desire to help churches learn how to interact more effectively with people in addiction and recovery. The way to do that is for churches to become more vulnerable. 12 step groups do a great job with this and churches have a lot to learn. But beyond the vulnerability, both churches and addicts need to learn how to deal with and move beyond shame. As Brown writes, “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”

Churches need to speak about addiction more. In fact, churches need to speak about sin more. Church is not the place to avoid talking about the real daily struggles Christians face. It is the place where we must address these struggles and learn how to deal with them together; as a community.

Second, I am married. My wife and I have celebrated 16 anniversaries. Our marriage would be perfect if not for two things: me and her (but mostly me!). Any relationship can be difficult, but a marriage has many issues. Sharing your life closely and intimately with one other person is not easy. It is important to continue working to avoid shame and secrecy. Brown’s book could easily serve as a conversation starter for married couples, whether they are newlywed or celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Third, Brown dedicates an entire chapter to parenting. When our children are young we can either provide them with the tools to overcome experiences of shame in their lives or we can (sometimes unintentionally) heap shame on them that will last a lifetime. For example, Brown talks about the difference between the two phrases “you are bad” and “you did something bad.” There are so many small words and actions that have profound impacts on our children.

I was late to the game reading this book. After hearing only positive feedback from my family and friends who had read it, I was highly anticipating what I would find. And I was not disappointed. It will be a tremendous blessing to you if you can read and struggle with the information Brown offers in this book.

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