"I see women all the time who seem joyless and lonely--I can see it in their expressionless eyes. They stare straight ahead or look down, walking forward but not going anywhere. They are terrified that life is going to find them."
The above quote is part of the introduction to Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring invitation to Wake Up Your Soul, my latest great book find. It's available at Amazon. The book was given to me by a friend who said that it's her favorite book. I just love when people recommend books to me or give me a book they've read as a gift. I'm already planning to read it again because I fell in love with it too. The best way I can describe it is to say that it's a book about all the things that women secretly think but don't talk about.
Fresh-Brewed Life is a journey of awakenings: to God, to ourselves, and to others. Author Nicole Johnson has masterfully written an invitation to wake up and embrace life. Just as the smell and taste of fresh-brewed coffee awakens our sleepiness, this book will inspire you to stop sleepwalking through life, to wake up to a more exciting, more passionate fullness of life.
"Wake up! We need you as an alive and awake woman, listening and contributing," says Johnson. "Wake up your creative genius and let it out into the world. Wake up to your power and use it wisely. Wake up to your pain and investigate it. Wake up the dull old parts that are hiding from the light. Wake up to love and let it flood through you."
And what's the first step toward this fresh new way of living? "Surrendering to God is the key that unlocks the door to the life you want." Our wake up call begins in a relationship with the one in whom we began. Because only God can rouse our sleepy souls. Only God can tell us what we most want to know. Johnson discovered that life isn't about being busy and keeping it all together, it's about trusting in the One who can keep it all together.
But how do we surrender? Where do we start? Having a relationship with God requires a commitment of time. How can we discipline ourselves to make time for God? For Johnson, the answer was journaling. She learned to bring her heart to God by writing down her struggles. "Journaling became for me the tangible representation of my relationship with God and others, and my wrestlings with the world around me." But journaling should never be a pressure. We shouldn't beat ourselves up if we can't stick to it with consistency. Just don't give up on finding quiet time with God.
I still haven't disciplined myself to write in my journal every day. Sometimes weeks go by without an entry, but I communicate with God every day through prayer and bible reading. I think that's the important part, just having God in our thoughts. For some reason, I think about God most when I'm driving. The sun on my face, traveling through the beauty of His creation, and cottony clouds against a clear blue sky arouse in me a knowing that God exists.
By journaling, I make time for God and I get to know myself better too. But what kind of things should we write in our journals? Should we use it like a diary? Johnson suggests that we write down our longings, those empty places in our lives that haven't been filled. Every woman longs for something. I long to be a newspaper columnist and some day an author who brings encouragement and hope to women. I long to go to Tuscany for my dream vacation. And I long to be known and loved by the people I love.
"Dreams and longings have a way of resurfacing," says Johnson. But we are masters at killing our dreams. Instead of participating on the field, we sit in the stands and watch or we stand on the sidelines criticizing ourselves and criticizing those who are reaching for their dreams. God gave us those longings for a reason. They are the map that will point the way Johnson says. Write down your longings. "When you are honest about the places in your soul that ache to be filled, you are right where God can tenderly reach in and touch the deepest parts of your heart."
Listen to the conversations of women and you'll learn that they have many longings. We want to be beautiful. We long to be appreciated. We want more passion and purpose. We want to be known, loved, and cherished. By "known" I don't mean famous. A woman needs someone to take the time to stop and really see her. Women long for more attention and affection. That's why they become addicted to romance novels and soap operas. But according to Johnson, God is the only one big enough to hold our longings. Apart from Him we will never be satisfied.
Every woman who's ever felt lonely or empty, who's ever wondered, "Is this all there is?" Every woman who right now feels that something is missing needs this book. Fresh Brewed Life is a masterpiece because it inspires a woman to become a masterpiece by listening to her longings, embracing her beauty, savoring her sexuality, enriching her relationships, and changing her world. And the key to doing those things is to let God in on your life.
We need God like we need a good cup of coffee. He's the only one who can satisfy our loneliness, fill our emptiness and wake up our souls. Without Him we can only sleepwalk through life with expressionless eyes, walking forward but not going anywhere.