“To find ourselves, we must think for ourselves. To know ourselves, we must look within.”
This quote from the back cover of Knowing That He Will characterizes the flavor of this Christian motivational-style book. In a series of short entries, Janine Hall takes readers through a broad gamut of topics, ranging from risk taking, to getting free from depression, to persistence, to the power of birth order in how we view ourselves — all while spurring readers to remember that God is behind the scenes through life’s challenges.
The author’s voice is upbeat and can-do. Taken individually, the essays contain the solid truths a good minister, therapist, or wise friend might share, such as: “Complete acceptance of your own situation can free you from a lot of fretting and dissatisfaction. It isn’t what happens to us in life that makes a difference but how we handle it. “
But the book’s organization poses a problem. Although this volume is divided into four parts, it lacks clear progression or a continuum of thought and has a catchall feel. (Part One, for example, includes these chapter titles: “Self-Reliance,” “Exercise: The Fountain of Youth,” “Identity Theft,” and “Middle-Born Siblings.”) At times, entries seem repeated, preachy or veer from the book’s focus, such as those on capital punishment or how society stigmatizes mental illness. And at the end of Part 2, a cluster of entries randomly address women in areas such as self-esteem and anger, creating confusion about the book’s intended readership.
Finally, Hall’s vagueness about the sources of her own depression may leave readers feeling she wasn’t vulnerable enough to create an emotional connection and, thus, motivate them to apply her narrative to their own struggles.
Although this author has a clear passion for and experience in helping people, the issues cited above weaken the book’s potential for a broad audience in the self-help or motivational category.
Also available as an ebook.