Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Unlikely Rebel by Kelli Gotthardt

Living out the Christian life, the spirituality, is often messy. We may look together on the outside but it may be a facade covering the turmoil within. This spiritual memoir shares one woman's journey.

After twenty years of what Gotthardt calls a squeaky clean life, she decided to break the rules. She didn't set out to be a rebel. She just wanted to follow Jesus more faithfully. It started when she said no to the ministry responsibilities she accumulated as a pastor's wife. She realized she was missing out on the enjoyment of God. Something had to change.

She shares what brought her to that point and how the change allowed her to fall in love with Jesus is ways she had never imagined. But it was not all smooth sailing. She battled depression early on in her marriage. Medication helped but then she felt shame over not be able to spiritually conquer her feelings. She was in a Christian yoga group and eventually taught it. She took a beating from a few Christians and some left their church. She and her pastor husband struggled with her finding new ministry opportunities outside of their church.

I really appreciated one struggle she describes. “Nice is not a fruit of the Spirit,” Gotthardt writes. She tried being nice, hiding her hurt and anger. “Letting go of nice has been the foundational task in my movement toward greater intimacy with God.” (65) God gently coaxed her forward through the discomfort of new emotions and untested responses.

I respect Gotthardt's journey. She struggled with finding the right path for her spirituality. She admits that is was difficult but it changed her. She has entered into an open expanse of God's love.

Gotthardt points out that she has had support in her journey. She made us of professional counseling, has a spiritual director, and has, at times, hired a personal coach. This may be somewhat beyond the experience or financial ability of some. Nonetheless, it is a story that those burdened with shame and guilt would benefit from reading.

My rating: 4/5.

Kelli Gotthardt is a writer, speaker, and consultant. She is a frequent blogger, retreat leader and keynote speaker and recently completed her master's degree in spiritual formation and leadership. She and her husband live in Santa Cruz, California. They have three children. You can find out more at www.kelligotthardt.com.

Kregel Publications, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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