Challenging, but good read (Plan B – Pete Wilson)

>I am not typically a fan of what I perceive to be “self-help” books…I find them somewhat cheesy, and I always feel they are “talking down” to the reader. I was somewhat hesitant to review Plan B by Pete Wilson because of this; however, I am so thankful I did. I was impressed by Wilson’s insight into hard times. He did not minimize any challenging situation — instead, he took the time to connect a story from the Bible to the pain and suffering we feel in this life.

I appreciated his candor and his own questioning. It led me to feel as if he was actually searching with me for the answers. I did not feel he was talking down to his audience, shedding his wisdom on his poor, helpless readers, but rather, felt as if he was honestly sharing the information he felt led to.

As a teacher in California in the age of rampant pink-slipping, I have felt confused and misled…had I been hearing God wrong? To borrow the tagline from the book, what do I do when God doesn’t show up the way I thought he would? This book, while I wouldn’t necessarily call it “life-changing,” provided a new way for me to experience God and his plan for me, through a plan B that God has, in all honesty, really been preparing me for. Thank you, Pete Wilson (and Thomas Nelson Publishing) for this book with incredible insights into human nature, and more importantly, the faithfulness of God’s nature.

a beautiful day

>i woke up with pink slips on my mind (no surprise, it’s nearly march 1. within 15 days, i will get mine and no doubt, experience an awkward moment with my principal, poor guy…what a job to have to do!). we went to church and it was all about overcoming financial fears and trusting God to take care of our needs. what truth to hear this morning in the midst of fears!

i hate to be so scared of next year. part of me just longs so much to be carefree and to just let go of these fears. i want to, like eric, be able to just let go and trust god. it’s so hard for me. it’s beautiful to think back and remember all of the times he has been trustworthy and faithful. i remember cari, the youth pastor when i was in high school, would always take about god’s faithfulness. to me, it seemed so foreign because it seemed like he had always been there and wasn’t going to leave. i am envious of my younger self’s childlike faith and trust. i don’t know what changed…nothing specific that i remember, but now i understand, recognize, and revel in the beauty of god’s faithfulness.

anyway, eric had to help teach an emt class this afternoon. as soon as he walked out the door, i grabbed a book i have been re-reading (Fire by Night by Lynn Austin) and enjoyed it. as soon as i finished it, i felt like i needed some blonde brownies so i ate some and started dwelling on my impending pink slip and unemployment. ugh. BUT there is nothing a bath with a book cannot cure, so i grabbed a book and dove in. three books later, i am fully relaxed and at peace. it’s beautiful to be able to pause and slow down and just trust that God will take care of us. it’s so needed, especially this month.

the sun shone today and i watched the cherry blossoms fall softly to the ground right outside our house. god spoke to me through three different books that were written as allegories to express god’s love. (thanks, denise hunter.) truth revealed itself clearly, as it always does. a beautiful day.

“the list”

I’ve just gone through my bookshelves and compiled my “I’ve Read in 2010” list. I smiled as I wrote certain titles down, remembering their influence/impact on my thoughts. As sad as this is for an English teacher, I’m not much of a discriminating reader. I can edit and comment on students’ papers like it’s nobody’s business and I always find and fix typos in books, but once I get into a story, I am sucked into the world of the characters. It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s poorly written or not, I just love a good story. I see the value and the beauty in good literature, but for the most part, cheesy Christian fiction gets me every time.

I don’t watch TV. It’s partially because we don’t have cable, but I think it’s mostly because I find my relaxation in fiction. Don’t get me wrong, we love hulu and the one show we watch (Glee…April 13th can’t come soon enough), but while Eric enjoys watching movies, I enjoy sitting next to him on our comfy free craigslist couch and reading a book.
Teaching can be overwhelming. There are always stressors; it’s usually kids but often the politics and drama too. However, the last three weeks have been (and the next six months will be) really stressful at work. The last two years I’ve mostly let the budget crisis and pink slipping process roll off my back, but for some reason the last week all of the drama and fighting and stress really just got to me. I worried about whether or not I would have a job next year and I let my fears, worries, and doubts rule over me.
Because of this, I read ten books during the last week and a half. Most of them were enjoyed in the bathtub. Instead of numbing my mind with trash TV, I devoured fictional characters and their worries and fears. I guess it’s times like these when I think I’m brainless for reading cheesy Christian fiction, I realize one important truth. The cheesy Christian fiction is not just fluff, it is instrumental in my life and my faith journey.
I read this evening about Caroline Fletcher, a woman caught between her love for a man, her fears, and her knowledge of the God’s truth for her. The Civil War is raging right outside their door, but Eli reminds her to lean on Jesus and not fear.
As I sit in my safe, comfortable, and warm home fretting about not having a job next year, I am letting my fears win. Hearing the truth from Caroline and Eli reminds me to give up my burden and trust in the truth. It doesn’t mean I’ll have a job next year, but it does mean that God is replacing the fears, lies, and worries with truth. It doesn’t mean the book was Pulitzer Prize material, but it does mean that God does, has, and will continue to speak to me through fiction that reveals his heart.