Do you care what other people think about you? Does a critical comment get you down?
Welch says we all share a common problem: fear of others' opinions. Every human being has had to manage, tolerate, and struggle with it. We want to fit in. We want to be respected. Perhaps we act differently when we know people are watching. Perhaps we cave into peer pressure.
Welch says the heart of the matter is not other people. “Chances are that the problem is not so much the eyes of other people as it is something in you.” (19)
Much of life, Welch says, comes down to three questions:
- Who is God?
- Who am I?
- Who are these other people?
You have the answers to these questions, he says. They just need to be uncovered. The Bible is the guide. The Bible will get to your heart.
Welch notes that to want to be liked, loved, appreciated, and successful is common. To need these things is a problem. “You will either fear God or other people. There are no alternatives.” (35)
Welch writes about worship and idols. “Even if you worship Jesus Christ and say that he alone is King, you can easily drift to mixed allegiances.” (41) He helps readers see that God is to be relevant all the time (not just when we need Him). He explains how what may be a good thing turns to a bad one (idolatry can masquerade as something innocent).
Welch lays out a path of a lifelong journey. First, turn around – turn back to God. Listen to Him. You will love Him more and want to act like Him, loving others more. “The more you love God, the less you will love the acceptance or recognition of others.” (69)
Welch investigates Bible stories to help describe who God is. He recommends examining some of the prayers of the Bible to identify your deepest needs. To find out who God created you to be, look at Jesus. Remember, you are to live for God, not yourself. (114) That means you love others more than they love who.
In identifying the “other people,” Welch says, “Other people are family. If they are human beings they have met the basic qualifications, and we are called by God to love them like family.” (131) Your goal: to love more than you need love. (133)
Aimed at teens and young adults, this book is of an interactive style, including questions throughout the text for individual and group study. There is a corresponding website where one can dialogue about personal needs and find resources for the journey. www.My-Big-Life-Question.com. (As of 11/27/2011 this website was still described as “coming soon.”)
Edward Welch is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has counseled for over twenty-five years and is the best-selling author of many books.
New Growth Press, 160 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for the purpose of this review.