Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman {Book Review}

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman review

This time a year ago I thought I was about to sign my first contract for a traditionally published book.  My speaking calendar was growing as was my blog. I had several coaching clients and I was excited about all the ways God was moving in my life professionally.

Today, I’ve had one proposal rejected by a publisher and another one remains in limbo. My speaking calendar is empty for the first time in four years. I don’t have any coaching clients currently and in spite of updating my focus and vision for my blog, it seems to have plateaued. To be honest, I’ve spent the past few months feeling a little rejected by God, as if all those seemingly open doors were His joke as they slammed shut.

It has been hard for me to see the hand of God at work. I’ve been looking back over my journals and praying, asking God to show me. I didn’t even know what to ask Him to show me … I just knew I needed to see something and I couldn’t identify it without His revelation.

One word kept echoing through my head — unremarkable.

My life seemed unremarkable … nothing spectacular. I haven’t done anything big. In fact, it seems like everything I am doing keeps getting smaller. And somehow, small can feel like failure.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman review

In the midst of all this introspection, I was reading an advance copy of Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. It has taken me months to get through this book … which is really strange because normally I am a fast reader, especially for books by authors I adore. But this one felt like a struggle for me. I slowly waded through the beautiful word pictures Emily always creates, treasuring each of the prayers she added to the end of every chapter. And yet, the reading was hard. The worries of each day seemed too great a contrast to Emily’s invitation to remember “the soul and the schedule don’t follow the same rules” (p. 95).

On the page before that profound sentence, Emily writes,

What does it mean to celebrate smallness when things don’t turn out as you hoped? You grieve, you struggle, you feel the disappointment. To be small in the midst of disappointment simply means to be open to the presence of Christ with what is true right now, to remember you aren’t alone, and to keep company with your weakness. (p. 94)

Keep company with my weakness. Y’all, that is hard. I set down the book. Because this was not the revelation from God I was hoping for. {Just keeping it real.}

A few days later I felt drawn back to Emily’s words or maybe it was just that I knew I was going to have to write the review and I needed to keep reading. Either way …

I made my way to chapter 7 “Community & Competition.” And these words …

Sometimes when I think I’m waiting on God I wonder if he’s actually waiting on me. (p. 118)

Simply Tuesday quote: is God waiting on me?

I stopped right there because the idea of the God of all creation waiting on me left me breathless. As unremarkable as I felt, as out of anything as I am, God waiting on me left me stunned. I soaked in that concept for several days. Asking Him to help me move toward Him.

Slowly I meandered and underlined my way through the next few chapters of Simply Tuesday … meditating on the idea of childlike faith (chapter 8) and being intentional about accepting where I am (chapter 9).

And then Emily writes this,

Jesus is enough even when he doesn’t feel like enough. (p. 169)

I underlined those 10 words and drew a heart in the margin beside them, a reminder to myself not to allow how I feel to matter more than the truth of His presence. I asked myself, “Is Jesus enough for me?” I mean, I know the Sunday school answer to that question but I wanted to dig deep into my heart and my life and seek the deeper answer.

That word, unremarkable came back to my mind. So I finally looked it up.

not particularly interesting or surprising

And I wondered why God kept pushing me to this word. What it meant in the very real life of a woman who is battling with insecurities and failures and doubt about what is next. Because, really, who wants their life to be unremarkable? Who aims for that?

Every day I picked up Simply Tuesday and read a few more pages.  In chapter 15, “Endings & Beginnings,” Emily shares a verse I’ve heard a thousand times in the past few years.

Do not despise the small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begun, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Small beginnings. But what about small in-betweeens and even small endings? I felt myself resentful of Emily with her four published books and popular blog and sweet personality writing about small beginnings as if she really grasped what it is to be small. I’m the one who is unremarkable. I’m the one going backward. I’m the one who roomed with her last year at She Speaks and thought my world was about to explode into something big and fabulous. And here I am, smaller than ever while she’s celebrating yet another measure of success.

Yeah, I know just how snarky and selfish and small that sounds. I really do. But I have to tell that part of the story too because the story of learning to be small isn’t always pretty. It isn’t easy … and I’m struggling my way through. But Emily’s words continue to be a faithful companion on this journey because she shares her own struggles and the way she compares herself to others and the times she’s lost sight of the way of the small.  So, when I finally turned the page after my “life isn’t fair” temper tantrum, I read these words

I sense Christ inviting me to embrace the days of small beginnings even when they might lead only to small endings. (p. 224)

Small endings.

Unremarkable.

I looked up the synonyms for unremarkable. Words like common, plain, everyday, familiar. And then as if I had finally caught up to where God was waiting for me, I realized something: He IS calling me to be unremarkable. Not because I’m plain and common … but because He is so overwhelming good and holy that all the attention needs to be, ought to be, can only be on Him.

Sunday I shared with Scott what I’d been wrestling with. I told him I felt like God is placing in me a desire to be unremarkable, to share His message and point to Him with my life but to do so without drawing attention to myself.  And I’m just not sure how to do this. But I’m leaning into the wisdom of Emily’s words in the final chapter,

This doesn’t mean I am to dream big and amazing things for God. Rather, it means I am to believe in a big and amazing God, period. I can trust him to be himself even as I dare to be myself.

And maybe as I do that, I’ll realize that starting small isn’t a means to a bigger end, but rather I start small because it’s what I am. And that is good and right and holy. Who would despise these days of small things? (p. 240)

Simply Tuesday is an invitation to join God where He is waiting for you.

I don’t know where you are right now. Maybe you are feeling small, unseen, insignificant, unremarkable? And perhaps you have come to believe you are alone in those feelings. You aren’t. But even more important, there is a gift in recognizing our smallness. Because it is only there we can see the beauty of God’s bigness. Simply Tuesday is an honest and gracious invitation to join God where He is waiting for you. Within these pages you will find a kind and gentle companion in Emily, a new friend who knows what it is to struggle in the battle between flesh and spirit. And as you journey through the pages, you will meet the generous and incredible God in a fresh way, in the ordinary, unremarkable, very small places of our lives.

Seriously, get this book. Learn to embrace the ordinary beautiful graces of God in the midst of your ordinary beautiful life. You’ll be glad you did. You can get your copy on Amazon*, Dayspring*, or many other online retailers and bookstores.

xo,

Teri Lynne

How do you struggle with feeling small?

* These are affiliate links and if you choose to purchase your copy of Simply Tuesday through them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I received a free copy of Simply Tuesday as part of Emily’s first-ever launch team. But as always, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 

13 Replies to “Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman {Book Review}”

  1. Oh friend, you are remarkable. I’m the small one with the small blog and the insignificant resume! This is why comparison is the thief of joy. I choose to join you in celebrating God at work through us. Love you Teri!!!!!

    1. Sweet Pattie, your big heart is beautiful! And I am thankful for you and the way you have been sowing into my life for the past 20-whatever years. Much love!

  2. It may seem unremarkable, but the impact that you & Scott had on a handful of teenagers was everything to us.

    1. Okay, now I’m crying!! What a sweet word of encouragement, Caitlin! When I look at you all I am in awe of who you have become and so thankful to have had even a small part in loving you through the teenage years. Love you!!

      1. Love you too

  3. Not only did you so beautifully highlight the life changing message in this book but with candor and honesty you paved a way for us all to not feel alone…something so necessary as we sit down on the inside, celebrate the small, and keep company with Christ. Emily’s message is one to hold close and revisit again and again and I too am so thankful. Sending much love today…xo
    Jacque Watkins recently posted…MS 055 Gary Morland: Addiction, Alcoholism, Forgiveness and Scary HopeMy Profile

    1. Dear sweet Jacque, your visit here today is the loveliest kind of surprise. Thank you for your kind words … and the simple reassurance we are not alone on this journey. He is with us … and He so graciously sends the dearest companions to encourage us along the way. xo

  4. Yes ma’am. You have captured the heart in so many of us. God has put this desire in us: to write. But we distort it into the desire to be read. If we could only be content with the writing, because the desire to be read can kill the love of writing. And all this writing can take time away from our living and loving, which is another distortion of the good. God has been telling me to be content with “small” from this time last year. This book just yelled what God has been whispering! 🙂

    1. Oh girl! You spoke a good word straight to my heart about distorting the desire to write into the desire to be read. That will preach, sister! So thankful for you!

  5. Teri Lynne, what you have written here is what I needed to hear and I am guessing many others need to hear it too. Thank you for your honesty and transparency. I have not bought the book yet, but I think I am going to go buy it at B&N today so I can have it while I travel tomorrow…rather than order it from Amazon. I’ve read that it is the best book she has ever written.

    I love that you shared the difficult part of your journey through this book. Thank you…no one likes to think they are the only one.

    1. Mary, you know how much I hate sharing the hard parts, right? But life is full of hard parts and even if mine are not just like yours, it DOES help us to know we are not alone. Thank you, friend, for being an encourager in my life. And yes, get the book. You will love it.

  6. What wonderful words you have written! They spoke directly to my heart. When the world screams “dream big” and social media leads us to insecurity and feeling less then, it can be so hard to be happy and content with ordinary and unremarkable. But when I look at it from the perspective you have shared, it brings me back to my place of contentment and fulfillment. Thank you for being genuine and transparent and sharing your story. ❤️ Hugs to you!

    1. Thank you, LaDonna. Another one of the synonyms for unremarkable is habitual. I’ve been tossing that idea around in my head a lot the past couple of days. It’s a complex thing, isn’t it — to become less so He can be more in us.

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