Freedom was scary, but I desperately needed it.
My strategy to avoid pain and be significant had led to
captivity, exhaustion, burnout, depression, and a year’s sick leave.
The past year had been a torturous journey
through the “dark night of the soul.”
It felt as if God had abandoned me.
But now, at just the right time,
the light of God’s truth began to pierce the darkness.
In His faithfulness He had always been there,
working deeply in my soul,
planting new seeds of gospel truth that would grow
and enable me to discover and live in gospel freedom.
Lay It Down
Written by: Bill Tell
Month, Year: August, 2015
A brief summary from NavPress:
Call it burnout, a spiritual breakdown, or a personal crisis, the toll of Bill Tell’s decades of successful ministry finally caught up with him. Incapacitated and depressed, he found that the road to recovery began at the cross. To his delight, healing opened new freedoms as he embraced the gospel in new ways.
Lay It Down: Living in the Freedom of the Gospel is a bold declaration of the overwhelming grace of God. More than merely saving us in our sin, by grace God delivers us from it, making us new creations and treating us accordingly—no matter what. For a generation of Christians who have learned a gospel of performance and striving, Lay It Down offers the good news of the grace that is already ours in Christ.
Lay It Down came into my life at the most perfect time. I couldn’t believe how perfectly well another person could express the thoughts and emotions I’ve been dealing with for the past few years.
Bill Tell emphasizes the idea that we can stop trying to please God and instead embrace the forgiveness He’s offered to us. This idea goes against what western culture teaches us. We study hard in order to get into good schools. Practice makes perfect in order to excel. Want a promotion? – work longer, harder, better than your peers. The idea that we can do nothing, be ourselves exactly as we are, and God still loves us enough to forgive us is HUGE. It puts the action in God’s hands, our trust in His capabilities, our brokenness in His love. If you don’t feel spiritual enough, or never can do anything right – Lay It Down basically cries “STOP thinking that way!!” – God’s love is not based on a level of spiritual identity that you try to obtain, its not based on your performance. God’s love for people is solely based on HIM; out of the abundance of His heart he loves us. Its such a simple and pure and radical notion!
If you’re burnt out or struggling with your identity in Christ, I highly recommend Lay It Down. I’m still working my way through this book, but its already a game changer in how I view myself as God sees me: wholly complete and a new creation because of His goodness.
I was graciously provided a free hard-copy of this novel from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.