I had to read this book slowly.
And if a book makes me read slowly because I’m thinking, considering, reflecting, it often ends up being a 5-star book for me.
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman (Revell, 2015) does exactly that. In this book, Emily focuses on what it means to “live small” and celebrate our smallness in the realm of living for and with our great big God. In her trademark style of poetic-meets-conversational, Emily introduces us to idea that the kingdom of God is “one inch above the ground,” meaning that the kingdom of God is “up,” yes, but it exists not in some too-far-to-reach place, but rather “right here in the moments were we live” (p. 14). She explains how Tuesday–the seemingly most ordinary day of the week–is exactly the kind of moments we live our lives. We might be in the habit to looking to the future or thinking of the mountaintop moments or wondering what to even celebrate/fear next, but most of our lives are spent in “ordinary time.” Ordinary time is time that is still marked, still real, still important, even if nothing “big” is happening at the moment.
Once Emily has established these perspectives (which she does much better than I just summarized above), she splits the book into essays, stories, thoughts, and questions in five parts: Tuesday (ordinary) home, Tuesday work, Tuesday people (community), Tuesday soul, and Tuesday plus all the moments beyond Tuesday.
Emily’s writing is a beautiful, pleasant, real, thoughtful blend of logical and poetic. Her writing doesn’t take a teaching tone, but rather a “let’s walk together” tone. Or, in this case, a “let’s sit down on this bench and breathe” tone. When reading any of Emily’s work, it’s obvious how much she reads the Word, studies, reflects, and does the hard work of communing to learn from others around her. She reflects all of these habits in the way she writes and the way she shares her own struggles, questions, triumphs, and experiences. There were joyful things to read and there were hard (but still joy-spurred) things to read, like on page 173:
“Walking by faith means being willing not to know, never to know why or how things happen the way they do, and to be willing to release my tight hold on the big finish I thought would come.”
She writes on fear, on community (and how hard yet how important it is), on anxiety, on being led by love, on embracing our smallness because small doesn’t mean unimportant (for even God decides to live and love in our smallness). Simply Tuesday is a book that requires you to reflect, to study stories in the Bible and in your life more, to pause to allow room to grow. It’s a beautiful book, and one I recommend reading by yourself, then perhaps following that with reading it again with a friend.
What have you struggled with in learning about God’s ways versus your own expectations? What has surprised you about the gift of “ordinary” time?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the launch team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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