Book Review: Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

Hello, friend! Welcome back to my blog. Today, I’ve got a book review for you. The only book reviews and lists I’ve done in the past are Christian living books, really, but this book is a bit different. So without further ado, introducing my book review of Soundtracks by Jon Acuff.

Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, is a nonfiction book about, well, overthinking. Acuff introduces the idea that we have specific sayings and thoughts, or as he calls them, soundtracks, playing in our mind. They can either encourage us (I am the best!) or discourage us (I’m a horrible person, how could I do that?). 

I think all of us can relate with overthinking. Ever gone back to a conversation you had days, months, even years ago and thought — “I could have said something else”? Ever told yourself you’d never succeed at something because of x, y, and z?

Broken soundtracks like to traffic in absolutes. Everything, nothing, none, and forever, are sure signs that you’re overthinking.

Soundtracks by Jon Acuff, p. 122

In the book, Acuff talks about various ways to dial down the bad thoughts (or, as he calls them, broken soundtracks) and maximize the number of good thoughts you have in your brain. For example, writing down encouraging, short sayings and playing them in your mind when you’re feeling discouraged will help you out. 

I actually really liked the book. It was very well written and Acuff had a very conversational and fun voice in his writing. It felt like he was talking to me, and he gave lots of examples from his own life and others. 

One of the strategies Acuff talks about in his book is the New Anthem. Basically, he gives a list of encouraging soundtracks and a script to recite in the mirror every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed for thirty days. Apparently, the results he got from a test said it was very beneficial.

I haven’t personally tried it. Partly because saying “I am my biggest fan” in the bathroom mirror is ridiculous (he does address this, though), but also partly because I want to tweak the New Anthem before I try it. 

See, the book isn’t written from a Christian perspective, and I think Acuff’s strategies can be more useful if we use more powerful words than just, “I am my biggest fan.”

Instead of taking Acuff’s playlist of soundtracks, mixing it or completely replacing it with verses or phrases that speak Biblical truth can be much more powerful.

So instead of saying, “I am my biggest fan” say “Jesus is by my side.” Instead of saying, “Everything is always working out for me” say “God has got a plan, even if I don’t know it.”

Pretty easy, right? 

Just because the book isn’t from a Christian perspective doesn’t mean it won’t be helpful. We just have to be careful when reading books like these and make sure we are looking at it with a critical eye and figuring out how the book will work for us, not how we’ll work for the book.

That’s not to say, however, that we should avoid being critical about books labelled “Christian.” People make mistakes and can stray from the truth, and it’s important that we check what people say and write with what God says in His Word. In many New Testament letters, Paul warns those he is writing to about false teachers and twisted messages, and I think that we should still take that seriously today.

But, back to the current review, with some rephrasing and rewriting, the majority of Acuff’s New Anthem can be this:

I am confident in my identity in Christ, and I’m ready to trust Him with what happens next. With His help, discipline, and dedication, I can stick with it. Here are ten things I know:

  1. I don’t have to worry about today or tomorrow. God will provide.
  2. Jesus has given me the greatest gift.
  3. Anything is possible with God.
  4. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords– He cannot be shaken.
  5. Loving one another is the second greatest commandment, so I should do it.
  6. Jesus is my comfort in times of trouble and worry. I can trust Him.
  7. Jesus never said things would be easy.
  8. God has a plan, even if I don’t know it.
  9. Jesus is by my side.
  10. Jesus gave up everything for me, which was extremely hard. With Him, I can do hard things too.

I simply took the main portion of the New Anthem on p. 153 and rewrote it. If you want to read more and see his overall tips, I’d recommend you get the book!

You can even tweak my list and mix in complete Bible verses. Acuff encourages you to make your own playlists with our own encouraging sayings and quotes, and if we’re Christians, why not just use the Bible?

If you get the book and want to try the New Anthem challenge, shoot me an email at live2thelord@gmail.com or reply to this post with a comment saying so– perhaps I can try it with you!

So essentially what I’m saying is this: The book is good, and will likely be helpful once I try the strategies. However, maybe the surprising solution to overthinking isn’t just listening to different people, but rather listening to the voice of the One who matters most. The One who broke us free from sin and gives us the ability to say, “I am a child of God.”

Thank you for reading today’s article! Have you read Soundtracks? What did you think of my perspective on it? Feel free to comment down below or email me through the contact page with an answer. And, if you’d like to get my weekly emails and notifications when I post, please consider subscribing to my email list in the form just below this.

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Have a blessed day,
~Caroline

The Joy of Christmas: Celebrating In 2020 (+Book Review)

Hello, my friend! Merry Christmas!

Today, despite all the festivities and fun you might be having, I’d like to remind you who Christmas is all about and wrap it into a special review of a book I’ve been reading this holiday season. Ready? Let’s get into it.

A Brief Book Review

During this Advent season, I have been reading David Mathis’s devotional called The Christmas We Didn’t Expect: Daily Devotions for Advent, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Mathis has covered the craziness and the unexpectedness of all the different aspects of Jesus’s birth and has reminded me constantly that this day is about Jesus.

If we push past the Santa Claus movies, crazy Christmas decorations, and the stress of gift-giving, and go all the way back down to the core of Christmas, we find Jesus. 

We find Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

We find Jesus lying in a manger. 

We find Jesus visited by shepherds and wise men. 

We find Jesus, the Son of God.

We find Jesus, the man who saved us all. 

Mathis lays that out in brief but powerful chapters for each day of Advent. Each devotion also has a beautiful closing prayer that helps guide you to speak with God after what you just read. I think I will be using this devotional next year as well, and I highly recommend you check it out too. 

The Good News

To quote Mathis’s devotional:

The real magic of Christmas is not in gifts and goodies, new toys and familiar traditions, indoor coziness and outdoor snow. What lies at the heart of Christmas, and whispers even to souls seeking to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), is the most stunning and significant fact in the history of the world: that God himself became one of us.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 11

Jesus came into the world in such a humble setting and He even went beyond that beginning and humbled Himself to the point of death for us (Philippians 2:8).

You know what else is great about Christmas, especially this year?

In the midst of the world’s troubles: the pandemic, family, finances, etc., we can still celebrate. Why? We can still celebrate because Jesus is worth celebrating. Even when our traditions go out the window, we suffer from loss and grief, and question this year as a whole, Jesus is worth celebrating.

The meaning of Christmas is not just that he was born among us but that he came to die for us. He came to secure for us eternal saving benefits.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 141

Maybe you physically or mentally can’t celebrate Christmas this year because it just hurts too much, doesn’t feel right, or something or someone is missing. However, there is good news. When the angels appeared to the shepherds that glorious night, they said,

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

Cling to that good news today and ask God to give you joy in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. Remember also the words of James when in trials and struggles:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Even if we can’t have fun traditions, see family, or have the Christmas we want, we can still have and celebrate the Christmas we didn’t expect: the Christmas when God came down to ultimately give us the greatest gift of all. What is that great gift? Or should I say who is that great gift?

That great gift is Jesus, who saves people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Have a blessed Christmas, 

~Caroline

Songs For Celebration & Encouragement

Truth I’m Standing On – Leanna Crawford

Emmanuel You’re One Of Us – Rend Collective

Hope Has A Name – Passion

Today Is The Saviour’s Day – Rend Collective

4 Christian Books You Should Read (+ Giveaway!)

Hey there, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! I don’t know about you, but I love reading. Usually I enjoy fiction more, but I occasionally dive into some nonfiction books as well. There’s a lot of stuff out there in the Christian author world, so I’d like to point you to some of my favorites.

One More Thing

These books I’m suggesting should not be your default for learning about our faith. Not every Christian book we read speaks the truth, and we must check everything and see if it lines up with our beliefs and the Bible. 

So when you read these books I recommend making sure it does line up with what you believe. Ask someone who’s ahead of you in faith, like a pastor, parent, or teacher, if you have questions. 

Love Riot by Sara Barratt 

Love Riot: A Teenage Call To Live With Relentless Abandon for Christ is not only an excellent book for teens but for anyone. It is a plead to every young person to go and actually live for Christ. To make the hard choices, glorify God, and to truly love Him.

Most Christians are content with blending in– but it’s time to step out. We’re on the brink of a revolution, a holy uprising, a love riot that can launch us from apathetic bystanders to wholehearted followers.

Sara Barratt, Love Riot

This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe 

Also for teens, This Changes Everything: How The Gospel Transforms the Teen Years points out different parts of our lives as teenagers. From who we are as Christians to the importance of church and using our time wisely. Again, anyone and everyone should read this book. Even if it’s addressed to someone younger, you can still learn some great things from these books!

We’re told the gospel will change our lives, but we still fight against sin every day. It’s tempting to feel isolated and lonely like we’re the only Christian teenagers in the whole world trying to obey him. But there is a truth bursting with hope for us today: God is with us.

Jaquelle Crowe, This Changes Everything

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

I’ve already written a bit about this book, and you can find that post here, but I’d like to mention it again. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to really study the Bible. Again, I’m going to throw away the author’s intended audience and say even though this book is addressed to women, still read it if you’re not a woman as well. It talks about studying with perspective, getting the context right, and realizing the Bible is a book about God, not about us.

[This book] intends to teach you not merely a doctrine, concept, or story line, but a study method that will allow you to open up the Bible on your own.

Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

This was probably one of the harder books I’ve read. It talks about living for Christ and for Christ only, about not wasting our lives on foolish things and selfish gain. I believe everyone should read this book at some point, especially those students nearing the age where they’ll head out into the world on their own. It’s a harder read, but it’s a great one.

God created me–and you— to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion–namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.

John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

A Special Giveaway

Did you find a book on this list that particularly interested you? If you did, I have some special news for you. As we’re nearing 50 email subscribers on my blog, I’d like to do a giveaway for you guys. 

So, here’s how it works:

  1. Subscribe! If you’re already subscribed, you’re already entered.
  2. After we hit 50 subscribers, I’ll randomly draw one of you from the list to get a free book.
  3. If you’re picked, I’ll email you with instructions. You may pick any book on this list for me to give away to you.
  4. After you reply to the email I’ll send you the book!

Please note that you MUST live in the United States of America to qualify for this giveaway. If I email you and you do not live in the United States, you’ll have to pass on the giveaway and I’ll give it to someone else.

Subscribe here– hitting ‘follow’ on WordPress will not work! You must subscribe with this form:

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Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed and are excited for this giveaway! I’d also like to thank you guys for getting me this far; it’s such a blessing. I’ve only been blogging for a few months and I’m already so far! Thank you, reader, for well, reading! I hope my posts help you in some way.

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

UPDATE: A winner has been chosen and confirmed! Congrats to the winner, and once again thank you all for subscribing!

Book Review: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

Hello, friend! I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family. Today we have a very special post, as it’s my first book review! This post will probably be shorter than most, but believe me, this book is good!

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible With Both Our Hearts And Our Minds lays out the perfect strategy for any person to use, not just women. It starts by listing out ways we can study and interpret the Bible incorrectly, and honestly, I qualified in many of the categories she listed.

Jen Wilkin doesn’t leave us hanging with the new idea that our study is wrong. She then explains what she calls the “Five P’s of Sound Study.” They are: Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process, and Prayer. 

In each chapter, she goes over how to use each “P” in steps that are easy to understand. Closer to the end of the book, she shows an example of how to use all five “P’s’ together, a helpful tool after all the information she gives you.

Why We Need This Sound Study

Throughout the entire book, Jen Wilkin supports the idea that loving God means also knowing God. If we love something or someone, we often want to know the person or thing better. 

As we grow in the knowledge of God’s character throughout the study of the Word, we cannot help but grow an exponentially greater love for him.

Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word

Reading and studying the Bible is how we learn about God, and learning about God helps us see how great He really is. 

If you’re worried about simply understanding the Bible, this book goes over that too! She gives you tips for comprehending what you read, and then how to study and apply it. 

She also has her own Bible studies you can buy on her website here if you want some help getting started. 

What’s Happening Next?

I will be using the strategies explained in this book in future articles about Bible passages. The first book I’ll be going through is 1 Peter, so I encourage you to go buy Jen Wilkin’s book and read some of 1 Peter to prepare!

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading this book review! I hope you want to go read the book yourself now, and I hope that it will help you figure out how to study the Bible, especially if you’ve struggled with doing that for a while. I’ll see you next week!

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline