“Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach.
I believe so strongly in the importance of reading good, thought-provoking books, that I am thrilled to be publishing my first guest post by my friend Jenn on a brand-new book Longing for Paris, which releases tomorrow, August 4th. And you can follow Jenn at:justusscotts.blogspot.com.
What are You Longing For?
A couple of months ago I applied to be a part of author and blogger Sarah Mae’s launch team for her newest book, Longing for Paris. When I read the synopsis back then I knew it was a book that would resonate with me and so many of the women in my life. After being selected, I got an advance copy of the book and dove into it immediately.
I was curious to see how Sarah Mae would tackle the issue of “living your dreams” because honestly, our dreams can be quite self-centered and selfish, often not aligning with real life. Maybe not even aligning with God’s will!
It doesn’t matter what walk of life we belong to – married, single, mom, not a mom, full-time job, no full-time job – we all fall victim to ruts and really begin to wonder if the grass truly is greener on the other side. And we begin wanting more than what God has for us at that moment in time. For Sarah Mae, she found herself longing for everything the grand city of Paris represents – culture, good food, and fanciful living. It clashed with God’s call for her as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother. As a result, she found herself on a journey with Him to reconcile the two. With Biblical accuracy and transparency and love, she shares with us what the Lord taught her along the way.
One of the biggest lessons I took away from the book is that it is good to nourish my spirit. It is good to take time to invest in myself. Why? Because my hobbies and interests will make me feel alive, not “just a mom” who has all of her mom duties to attend to! And why is that a good thing? This quote from the book sums it up perfectly:
I don’t want to just survive in this life. We’re not meant to just survive. One of my favorite bands, Casting Crowns, has a song out called “Thrive” with lyrics that reflect this and speak so much to me:
Just to know You and to make You known / We lift Your name on high / Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide / We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives / Its time for us to more than just survive / We were made to thrive.
So with this mindset of thriving, I looked to Sarah Mae’s wisdom on what to do next. Her response? Savor. Take time to enjoy each morsel of food. Take time to meditate on the scriptures. Take time to fully experience everything that touches your five senses! It’s enjoying a little bit of whatever your “Paris” is right where you are — choosing to look for the beauty everywhere you go. Another good truth from the book:
I can’t just drop everything in my life to chase after dreams right now. I really, really miss music and playing in an ensemble and having excellent music in my ears and coming out of my flute. I don’t care about Paris, but give me Salzburg, cheese and strudel, and Mozart. Or Prague, dumplings and kraut, and Smetana. But, it’s not the season of my life for such things. So maybe I need to create European food for myself and find music on Pandora, and even more, share it with my family. Or finally hit the German restaurant in South St. Louis and pinch pennies for a St. Louis Symphony concert.
She wraps up the book reminding us of what our true, God-given longings truly are. It’s not Paris, good music, Austria, or the Czech Republic. When we belong to Jesus, our hearts are ultimately longing for heaven. Everything in this life will fade away after a time, and we need to be keenly aware of what is eternal and chase fervently after that.
I feel my words tonight are very inadequate in describing and reviewing Longing for Paris. I can only highly highly encourage you to grab a copy for yourself. In a month or so I will also look for friends who want to join me in an online community (a la a private Facebook group) for group discussion!
The book releases August 4th but can be pre-ordered from several different retailers, so go to the Longing for Paris website to pick your favorite outlet (fyi, you might still be able to get a signed copy if you order from Barnes and Noble). Copies are already popping up in stores around the country at various retailers like Family Christian, Lifeway, and Barnes and Noble!
Let me know what you think of it and I hope you can join me in a discussion group soon!