Well, I promised on my list of awesome Christian books that I would read and review each one, so here I am with my second book review! This one is also by Joel Osteen (the first three are) and is called “The Power of I Am.” I’m going to break down what each chapter is about, but if this sounds like something you’re interested in reading, I strongly recommend you buy it and read it for yourself. He goes into way more detail than I will. I just want to give you an overview of the book and what I think of it.
Author’s Note: While writing this, it turns out I have a lot to say about these topics so I’m going to break it up into several parts. That will be our series for this week and then I’ll continue my “Love” series.
6. Know Who You Are
In this chapter, Joel reminds us that we need to remember who we are. You are a child of the Most High God! You are a King or a Queen of heaven. You have royal blood in your veins – the most royal blood, in fact, because no one beats our King of kings and Lord of lords. When you are down and negative about yourself, you are speaking badly of what God created. God made you! God loves you! The personality He gave you is the one He wants you to have. The gifts He’s given you are what He wants you to use. Stop wishing you were someone else or had something that someone else has. When we do that, we’re telling God that He made a mistake; that we know better than He does.
Even when it comes to your flaws and weaknesses, I don’t believe God gave them to us, but I also don’t believe that being down on ourselves about them is going to help. All it does is take away your joy, your peace, and even your drive and passion. Stop focusing on your flaws! God is working on you every day! Focus instead on what you’re doing right and remember that you belong to God. He has complete control of your life and is working all things out for your good and His glory, even your flaws, and weaknesses. Remember:
but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
7. See Yourself as a Masterpiece
This is basically a continuation of chapter six. Because we belong to God and know who we are in Him, we need to see ourselves as He sees us. He doesn’t see our flaws or our failures.
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. What does that mean?
So, if we are fearfully made, then our creation should cause us to be full of awe and reverence. Why? Because God designed each of us specifically, down to the last detail. He gave us our strengths, our gifts, our physical appearance, and our personalities. While I don’t believe God gives us weaknesses, I know He knows which ones we’ll have and gives us strengths that will outweigh our weaknesses. Not only so, but God knows that our weaknesses won’t last forever. He gives us plenty of opportunities to grow and will even remove some those weaknesses, or give us strength through them.
If we are wonderfully made, then our own creation should arouse feelings of wonder, amazement, and astonishment. Most parents feel that way when they look at their newborn baby, but over the years we lose that feeling. Not only toward our children but more importantly, toward ourselves. We are our own worst critics. Instead of focusing on everything you’ve done (or are doing) wrong, why not focus on what you’ve done (or are doing) right? Stop looking at your weaknesses and work on building your strengths.
Unfortunately, we aren’t going to get rid of all our weaknesses while we’re on earth. God is working on them and some of them we can grow and mature out of, but we will always have weaknesses. So, why focus on them? Why not direct all that attention and energy to build your strengths? On improving your talents? On figuring out how to use those strengths, gifts, and talents to serve the Lord? That should take all your mental energy, not dwelling on the bad parts of yourself.
8. Living Content
In this chapter, Joel emphasizes how important it is that we are content with our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t pray for more or look forward to and plan our future. But it means we don’t waste time and energy being upset, discontented, bitter, or resentful for where we’re at right now. Wherever we are, in good times or bad, it’s where God wants us right now.
Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Philippians 4:11-13)
For example, right now, Justin and I are having a hard time financially and business is slow. But you know what? We aren’t staying here. This is a temporary situation, a place where God has us so that we can grow, especially in our faith in Him. I have never needed more faith in God than I have this year. Eventually, in God’s perfect timing, we have success and prosperity. But this hardship is to test and grow us. Can we be faithful in the lack, in the slow times, in the hardship? If not, we will never be faithful in success and prosperity.
He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much. (Luke 16:10)
I have spent too much of this year already in bitterness and resentment. Asking God why He isn’t blessing and prospering us, wondering why Justin didn’t already have his business up-and-running, regretting that I haven’t already finished several books or learned how to run a blog long before now, or even taught myself website/graphic design and made a name for myself. But none of that matters. We are where we are because it’s where God wants us right now. It’s a learning experience and a time of growth.
We have to learn to be content no matter where we are: married or single, with children or without, prosperous or in lack, successful or struggling. Wherever we are, we need to trust and honor God and realize that He is in control and will work all things out for our good.
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. (Romans 8:28)
9. Be Comfortable with Who You Are
This chapter is about how we need to stop competing with other people and just be comfortable with who God made us to be. Stop comparing yourself to others! Remember that their journey is their own, and your journey is your own. No one has the exact same journey. You may have been called to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Maybe you were called to be the CEO of a company. Maybe you are supposed to be a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, an author…whatever it is, embrace it fully! Don’t feel bad because you aren’t someone else. Don’t even look at other people’s lives. Focus on where God wants you to be and then be your best.
I used to feel bad that I wasn’t a success. I should have gone to college. I should have started a career early in life. Blah blah blah. I’d look at more successful women and think there was something wrong with me. Right now I see women with children and long to have the same. And before you say anything, yes moms, I do know that having kids brings way more stress and anxiety than I have right now. I do understand that being a mom is the hardest job in the world. Even my mom went through tough times, despite the fact that I was very nearly the perfect child (wink).
But we can’t compare our lives to other peoples. This isn’t a race or a competition with other people. When Paul says that he ran his race
7 I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [firmly guarding the gospel against error]. 8 In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
he is talking about competing against himself, not other people. The only person we should ever try to be better than is our past self.
Example: I want to be a better, more mature, more calm, happier, more at peace woman than I’ve ever been in the past. I am so tired of worrying and being filled with anxiety. It doesn’t accomplish anything. It makes me sick, it steals away my motivation, and it hurts Justin (my husband) because he needs encouragement from me, not more anxiety. He already has to fight his own anxiety – he doesn’t need me to give him more. That is why, in 2018, I want to be more filled with faith and stop worrying about anything! No more worrying about our finances (regardless of our income), I refuse to worry about our future, our future kids, our careers, our move to NY, whatever comes along – I am determined to break the bondage of worry and anxiety over my life with the help and strength of the Lord God.
But, I am not comparing myself to others. I don’t care anymore. You do your thing, I’ll do mine. All that matters is what God wants and that I’m doing His will. And that’s all that should matter to you too.
10. It’s Under Your Feet
This chapter is based on the Scripture from 1 Corinthians 15:27
27 For He (the Father) has put all things in subjection under His(Christ’s) feet. But when He says, “All things have been put in subjection [under Christ],” it is clear that He (the Father) who put all things in subjection to Him (Christ) is excepted [since the Father is not in subjection to His own Son].
Now, it’s true that this Scripture is referring to Jesus, but I believe the same is true for us. We are already victorious, no matter what problem we’re facing.
When we’re going through hard times, we tend to think it will never end. That it will last forever. But it won’t. We’re more than conquerors and this problem, this difficult situation, it will pass. God is in control and He already has our solution lined up. It’s on its way, we just have to stay in faith and keep being faithful.
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
As you can see, I really love this book and I’ll recommend it to anyone who needs positivity, inspiration, and encouragement in their lives. I’m going to write the last part on Friday of this week, so come back for more if you want to know more about this book! But again, I truly recommend that you buy this book for yourself. I promise it will help you improve your life!
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this second part of the book. Please post in the comments below!