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You Who? Why You Matter and How to Deal With It

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If "Who am I?" is the question you're asking, Rachel Jankovic doesn't want you to "find yourself" or "follow your heart." Those lies are nothing to the confidence, freedom, and clarity of course that come with knowing what is actually essential about you. And the answer to that question is at once less and more than what you are hoping for.

Christians love the idea that self-expression is the essence of a beautiful person, but that's a lie, too. With trademark humor and no nonsense practicality, Rachel Jankovic explains the fake story of the Self, starting with the inventions of a supremely ugly man named Sartre (rhymes with "blart"). And we--men and women, young and old--have bought his lie of the Best Self, with terrible results.

Thankfully, that's not the end of our story, You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It takes the identity question into the nitty gritty details of everyday life. Here's the first clue: Stop looking inside, and start planting flags of everyday faithfulness. In Christianity, the self is always a tool and never a destination.

246 pages, Paperback

First published January 15, 2019

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About the author

Rachel Jankovic

8 books382 followers
Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She graduated from New Saint Andrews College, but mostly reads cookbooks now to avoid story grip (being highly susceptible). She and her husband Luke have seven children who know how to party: Evangeline (13), Daphne (12), Chloe (10), Titus (10), and Blaire (8) and Shadrach (5), and Moses (2).

Rachel is the daughter of Douglas Wilson and Nancy Wilson and the sister of N.D. Wilson.

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Profile Image for A.
347 reviews17 followers
October 29, 2022
I've started reviewing every book I read, so this'll be no different--even though this'll be an unpopular opinion amongst many people I love dearly. I enjoyed the first several chapters--they are educational and well-written, and draw some interesting parallels. But then there's the odd bunch of logical fallacies/inconsistencies, blanket statements, and even a promotion of works-based theology and asceticism--not good things. Rachel says she'll do no such thing as "go easy" on her readers and spare their feelings, so I'm motivated as well to be bluntly honest about the issues in this book.

Logical Inconsistency: Towards the beginning Rachel takes a lot of quotes and reads pretty heavily into them, denouncing them for being ungodly because they contain some implication that we have free will (quotes involving us surrendering our lives/asking God to take over, etc). And then later in the book, she directly states that it's our choice to obey that transforms us. The first problem with this is that whether she's right or wrong, her logic is completely inconsistent. We either have a hand in our 'transformation,' or we don't. She can't have it both ways.

Works-Based Theology: The second problem with the above is that Rachel presents this obedience as what transforms us--essentially promoting looking to our own actions for our transformation. See this quote (my Kindle tells me this is 54% of the way through You Who):

"Think of obedience the same way—it is the superfood of the believer. When you read a biography of a famous Christian, it’s hard to even imagine how they had so much commitment, so much willpower, so much joy. The reality is that they were living in and on obedience. They were living on a spiritual superfood which gave them spiritual super strength.”

Obedience itself is not what gives us "super strength!" That's works-based theology sneaking in. Our obedience is not what transforms us; it's God's work, and God alone that does. Does that mean we can be lazy about obedience? Certainly not! See Romans 6:1-3. James 2:14-26 does state that faith apart from works is dead—but what he’s arguing against is belief only, and no fruits from that belief--indicating a lack of salvation. He is not saying we should look to our own actions to save or ‘transform’ us.

And here again, see what Rachel states (68% of the way into the book): "Now let’s imagine that you apply the admonition from James and immediately obey. You pray and ask God to take your worry. You lift up your concerns with thanksgiving. What does this passage tell you will happen? The peace that passes understanding will set about you like a guard dog. You will be protected from yourself! So here we can see a very straightforward way in which obedience to God transforms you."

Now look at II Corinthians 3:17-18 (ESV): "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." We are being transformed, not transforming ourselves. Our transformation comes from the work Christ has already done; our obedience and works are a result of that. Not the other way around. It's pretty surprising, since Rachel seems to know this early on, but then she contradicts herself. I’m pretty sure Rachel does not actually believe in works-based theology—but whether she meant it or not, that is what the latter half of this book is communicating.

The False Either-Or Dilemma, Hasty Generalization, and Asceticism: Another big issue is what Rachel believes is actual obedience. She presents two options for the Christian: we can either deny any semblance of personality that doesn't include biblical traits, or we are living in existential idolatry. She portrays personality traits as things we must purge and give up for the sake of sacrificing and dying to self--to do less is to idolize ourselves. See this quote (67% of the way into the book):

"…[O]ur personalities are something that God gave us so that we would have something to put on the altar and offer to Him. So you love quiet and time to journal? There is something in your hands that you can give up. So you love being at the heart of the social scene around you? There is something tangible God has given you to lay down. Do you see how this works? We are naturally full of instincts and desires that are contrary to what God wants us doing. That means that those things are something to obey with, not something to obey around."

So a general enjoyment of journaling is a desire contrary to what God wants us to do? That's a pretty big hasty generalization without any qualifiers. By her lack of clarification, she is in essence saying that by the mere virtue of enjoying some activities, those are things you must give up in the name of obedience. This is asceticism. Of course, if someone makes something they enjoy their idol, that’s wrong. But all good things are from the Father above, and He gives His children good gifts to be enjoyed. Does God sometimes call us to give up our preferences? Certainly. But our God is not a God of asceticism—just because He made us a certain way, doesn't mean we must deny it to make us 'more holy.' That is not obedience.

No Personalities: The above quote also reflects Rachel's insistence that there are no personality differences outside of our sin. To discredit personality differences/personality tests, she presents a very loaded question: at a party, would you rather talk to the popular kids, or talk to the needy girl in the corner? If you say talk to the popular kids, that's sin. Therefore, the only 'personality differences' that exist are whether you are sinning or not. But this completely misses the mark--it's possible to be quiet (or more talkative) and not be in sin. There are differences that don't hinge on sin. Even in a world without the Fall, we would still be different from each other. See the previous quote I quoted, and also see this quote at 69%:

"You are not a certain personality type becoming a different one, but rather an obedient or disobedient Christian becoming more obedient or less obedient. More Christlike or less Christlike."

This is antithetical to the fact that God made each of us differently and gave each of us different gifts to use for His glory (see all of I Corinthians 12!). We are created differently from each other, beautifully so, and to reject that is a rejection of a gift God has given. I agree with Rachel that any identity not built on Christ is going to fail—but I also fundamentally disagree that any examination of the individual gifts/way God made us is sin.

Feelings As Sin: Lastly, Rachel believes that our feelings are lies, doing the work of Satan to deceive us:

"Your feelings tell lies; deal with it. Your innermost thoughts and treasured emotions are probably deceitful little monkeys that are doing (faithfully, effectively, and diligently) the work of the enemy in your life. They are distracting you, they are leading you astray, they are wasting your time.” (78% of the way in You Who)

For hopefully obvious reasons, I greatly disagree with Rachel here. Yes, the heart is deceitful—but that doesn’t mean all emotions are evil. Feelings are not a result of the Fall. They are part of the way God created us, and while they certainly shouldn’t rule our lives, they are important indicators to things we need to pay attention to in our lives. When you raise a generation of people who tell their feelings to shut up, you raise a people with hard hearts who lack empathy and compassion. And that's not obedience or godliness; that is dangerous.

Conclusion: There’s more to be said about all of these, but those are the main issues. Many of the chapters are educational and have some great points—but then they are infused with these sinister ideas that are very harmful, and can’t be excused. I don't know (or believe) that Rachel would actually practice asceticism, works-based theology, or the belief that all feelings are evil, but regardless of what she meant, those are the ideas seeping into these pages. In all honesty, I don’t recommend this book.

Profile Image for Summr writs.
18 reviews247 followers
January 21, 2019
Are you a person? Do you breathe? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you should read this book as quickly as you can get your hands on it. Reading this book was like being given a cup of cold water on a hot day. It was like slicing into grandma's apple pie after you watched her labor over it all day. It was a slash through the hot garbage most women's books about identity are. If you like to breathe, drink water, and be less of a confused Christian, this book is a must-read for you!
Profile Image for Kellyn Roth.
Author 27 books907 followers
March 26, 2021
It took me a few weeks, but I am finally ready to publish thoughts on this book. Heaven help me - I don't know where to begin.

I am giving this book one star, first of all, not because there is absolutely no merit in it whatsoever. Rather, I am giving it one star because the merit is hidden between a lot of nonsense, poor reasoning, theological beliefs I can never get behind, and other issues.

I'd be far more kind if it were all good (or mostly good or good except for one or two all things; I have never asked for perfection!) or all bad. If it just wasn't for me, I might not even review it. But the problems with this book are so mixed with little truths and little dashes of light that seeing the rotten parts for what they were was difficult.

Simply put, this book made my mind spin. It hurt my brain. And for that, I give it one star. For true merit, perhaps two or three? But this is my personal review with my personal opinion. I'm no scholar; therefore, I feel free to review it based on how much it made me suffer, not on how much worth it contains.

I'm going to try to make this a logical review, but we'll see how well I do!

What I loved:

So I don't like encouraging things. I don't. I just find them trite in general; I'd rather people give it to me strength. Inspirational quotes and affirmations are useless to me. They do nothing but confirm how little people understand, well, sin nature. Humanity. And where our worth comes from. (Hint: it's not from within, and it has very little to do with us.)

I appreciate the author's general message. Basically, this world presents us dozens of messed up messages every day through advertising, media, etc., and a lot of Christians have bought into it.

Believe it or not, Disney movies aren't feeding you an accurate picture of who you are and where your worth comes from. Go figure.

So that I agreed with. Our worth comes from the God who created us. We are worthy because we have a soul - separate from our body, our thoughts, our memories, our independence, our actions, EVERYTHING about us. We aren't animals. If we don't think, we still exist. If we lose our memories, if we never develop memories, if we are completely dependent on others, we still exist - and we still have worth.

So that's true.

But from then on out, the author fails.

First, her tone.

I'm sorry, but who has ever, ever been helped by condescension?

You might say, "This is a tough message. It needs to be given with a tough voice."

No, it doesn't?

I'm not one for talking around an issue. I'm not one for being overly gentle. But there's a difference between that and being prideful and condescending.

I was listening to the audiobook, and her lack of empathy for us poor souls who don't understand our worth for the right reasons was apparent. She makes it clear from the first chapter that she DOES understand her worth for the right reasons, superior human being that she is!

This is a personal issue, I know. She might not have struck everyone else this way. But for me, it was toxic. I have a lot of people talk to me like this on the daily. It's not okay.

I just find it difficult to respect an author who makes it so clear she's above all this nonsense we're suffering from. You're not above it, dear author - and, in fact, maybe you've made your Biblical knowledge a god above the actual relationship with a Creator. Probably not true, but that's the impression I gained. Whose fault is that?

The author also talked in generalizations ABOUT THE READER, informing me how I think and feel when, about 80% of the time, I had never thought or felt anything remotely like that.

The author seems to think she's gotten access to some unique knowledge that the rest of the world hasn't - and instead of quietly, humbly telling us, she decided to wave it on our face and shout about how dumb we've been.

So that made it difficult from the beginning to care what she was saying. But I was determined, because I'd promised a friend I would listen to it. I got past it. Only to find her ...

Pulling arguments out of thin air - and then rejecting them when it doesn't fit her narrative at another point.

I hate when people do this, and I see it so much in the Christian community that it ain't funny.

One example: the author talked about how the song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood is pointing listeners in the wrong direction because it intimates that us poor unfortunate souls could ask God into our lives in any way.

The author basically says, "Isn't that ludicrous? As if we have any capability to cry out to Jesus! God doesn't care about our cries. That car was going to crash (or not) whether we wanted it (or not). How could the writer of the song sell a false narrative by intimating that we have the ability to cry out to God?" (not a direct quote - a summary of the narrative)

So first of all, I personally do believe that we have the ability to cry out to God and ask Him for things. :P I don't know if this is new information for you or not, but God does want to hear our frantic cries of, "Jesus, take the wheel!"

But the author deliberately interprets this song as us inviting God into our lives (e.g. begging for salvation) rather than as the simple prayer for help that the writer most likely intended. "How dare that songwriter suggest that she is able to invite God into her life? He'll be there if He wants to be there!" (not a direct quote - a summary of the narrative)

I'm not a Calvinist, and this is just so sad to me! Please feel free to ignore my thoughts if you do believe that we have no choice in whether we follow Christ or not, but I don't believe that anyone who would choose to cry, "Jesus, take the wheel of my life out of my hands! It's Yours now!" would be rejected. (Now, who would actually make that cry? That's what's up for debate in my mind. All the same, I won't get into it now.)

Even if you are the strictest Calvinist ever, you must still admit that the author is pulling much out of little.

And even if you believe the author WASN'T pulling a lot out of a little, you must then admit that the author later contradicts herself using a lovely little thing called:

Works-based theology.

This is a big pet peeve of mine from someone who struggles with it majorly. I'm always telling God, "Oh, Lord, I'll follow You! Let me prove it by my obedience to Your commands!"

That doesn't work. Nothing we ever do or are can save us. There is nothing inside us that makes us different from other human beings as Christians EXCEPT Christ. Christ is the only difference. We are Christians because we are filled with Christ. That's it; that's all. Full stop.

The author, simply put, believes that our obedience is what saves us. Not God's grace. Not His unearned, precious grace, but our obedience.

She confuses verses talking about how our good works are a RESULT of our faith with our good works being the CAUSE of our faith. Basically, she's got it all backwards.

Look, lady. You can try to obey Christ all you want, but until you fall into His arms - a choice you have to make, but I'll ignore that belief of mine for your sake; all the same, it is true! - you will get absolutely nowhere.

Perhaps she doesn't state it as such, but she makes it absolutely clear. To quote another reviewer, "Towards the beginning Rachel takes a lot of quotes and reads pretty heavily into them, denouncing them for being ungodly because they contain some implication that we have free will (quotes involving us surrendering our lives/asking God to take over, etc). And then later in the book, she directly states that it's our choice to obey that transforms us. The first problem with this is that whether she's right or wrong, her logic is completely inconsistent. We either have a hand in our 'transformation,' or we don't. She can't have it both ways." (quote)

According to the author, "[obedience] is the superfood of the believer." However, this is so wrong. It sounds good at first, but in reality, the only thing "superfood" we have as believers is Christ.

You have to understand that when the Bible says, "faith apart from works is dead" what is means is that the result of not having faith is not having works - not that you can work until you get faith or that works are what saves us.

It's a result of cause and effect - not of obeying until you sanctify yourself. We aren't chosen as Christians and then released into the world to fight to prove ourselves.

How hopeless, how empty would we be if we had to do exactly what the author says we mustn't (and then later says we must!) and try to prove our worth through our obedience?

Because, dear reader, you must understand that that is EXACTLY what the author is promoting. She rambles on and on about how our worth CANNOT come from any source but our unique human souls - and then turns around and states definitely that (quote): "we can see a very straightforward way in which obedience to God transforms you."

I can't see that, actually. I've tried it and tried it, dear author, but it's never worked. You know what has worked? Giving my life to Christ. Letting go of the idea that I can prove my devotion to Him through my works. Admitting how weak I am, how afraid I am, how much I need him.

Or, simply put, saying, "Jesus, take the wheel // Take it from my hands // 'Cause I can't do this on my own // I'm letting go // So give me one more chance // And save me from this road I'm on // Jesus, take the wheel."

THAT works. It really does.

But since I just really don't understand Calvinism in the slightest, and I think this is a slightly perverted form of that, I could let it slide if it weren't for the fact that the author seems to think that:

Individualism is wrong.

Quote: "Our personalities are something that God gave us so that we would have something to put on the altar and offer to Him. [...] We are naturally full of instincts and desires that are contrary to what God wants us doing. That means that those things are something to obey with, not something to obey around."

So I didn't know this before reading this book but everything we like, want, are interested in, and, in fact, our very personality is sinful.

Now, I agree with this: our identity is NEVER in our personality (or hobbies, interest, career, etc.), but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have one.

I got this from other words, but "asceticism" is indeed the right word for this. Asceticism is defined as, "severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons."

"Our personalities are something God gave us to put on the altar and offer to Him," hmm?

Well, on the surface level, this looks fine. Until she goes on to talk about how, if you enjoy journaling, you need to STOP and SACRIFICE IT for God because it's wrong for you to have ANY personal interests.

She fails to talk about how our personality/interests can be used for God's glory - and fails to qualify her statements.

Dear author, surely you don't really believe this? What good does it do God to sacrifice all the joy in your life? God doesn't want you to toss your gifts out the window. He wants you to USE them for His glory. There's a difference.

Not everything we do for God must "hurt." Experiencing pain does not make you more worthy - any more than it makes you less worthy.

Furthermore, I also am sick of her shaming women who find fulfillment in areas other than as mothers. I'm not in agreement that that's the "right" thing to do for all women.

I agree that abortion is horrible (and not a "choice" we have as Christians in the slightest). I agree that we've lost family in the rush for identity. I agree that placing your identity in anything but Christ is wrong. But that doesn't mean all women are called to motherhood. It simply doesn't.

I'm unmarried at this present time. Does that make me less of a worthy person, author? I hope not, for I thought my identity wasn't grounded in such earthly things. (Since marriage doesn't exist in Heaven, despite it being an amazing thing here on earth that I would never discredit, it appears to me that calling it an "earthly thing" is fairly accurate. Forgive me if I'm wrong here.)

To quote another reviewer, "She conflates sin with likes and choices in life, and accuses all types of expression as off base and not in step with submission to Jesus if it isn't her standard." (quote)

That self-righteous attitude is VERY concerning to me. Especially when addressing this particular issue.

I'd like to go ahead and quote Jane Eyre here:

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings?"

I am not. Nor is that what Christ would intend for me.

Another issue I have which I'll only briefly touch on:

Boiling the world down to one simple, easy narrative?

How 'bout no?

I'm a historian - and to be a historian, you must understand the thoughts and ideas of the time. I can't tell you how many 20th century nonsense books I've read (see my review of Grapes of Wrath) just to understand someone's philosophical standpoint.

The author did a little research and regurgitated it into her book without any real understanding. She addressed existentialism at length without discussing the ideas it was combatting (essentialism, for instant) and without discussing all the other ideas that are floating about. She is NOT a student of philosophy and should NOT be addressing it without some guidance from someone who is.

She does briefly touch on a few other viewpoints, but so lightly that it's clear she wants to craft her narrative neatly around one idea when, in fact, reality is a messy, many-faceted thing.

People, actually, are also complicated. But the author takes issue with that, as we remember. Oh well.

In summary:

I don't want anyone to read or listen to this book because if we become one mindless machine, a body that loses its individual parts, we will lose the only thing attractive about being a Christian:

The complete, knowing, never-stopping, never-ending, always merciful, always patient love of a God who knows us completely, created billions of individuals, and desires an intimate relationship with each of us, having created a life for each of us that would only suit an individual - not the masses.

I cannot support this book because it contains no grace, the same as I could not support a book that contains no discipline. Believe it or not, black and white thinking is seldom godlike! I know - I struggle with it, too. But there it is.

God created us to be filled by His grace, to be used by Him for His glory in a beautiful, individualized way. End of story.

Jesus, take the wheel - and don't let the comments tear me to ribbons. :P
Profile Image for Hannah.
243 reviews12 followers
December 10, 2020
This review is long over due. I've been reading(and re-reading) this book to clearly understand the author. I've taken great pains to read this book so closely that I can pinpoint exactly what is wrong with it. (And I will probably read it many more times, to be honest.) Like anything. there is good in this book. There is also good in the work of President Nelson of the Mormon Church. That does not mean you should engage with the work, or read it for sanctifying purposes. That would be a dangerous endeavor and would not sanctify you, but only possibly lead you to a place of deception. With that said... here is my blunt and honest review.

To summarize this book... it is written by a Christian mean girl with a lot of opinions on identity void of the right focus, and lacking empathy and compassion for those outside of Christ. with judgmental harsh overtones for anyone who is trying to "create" a form of self expression that is not within the bounds of the expected conformity of her brand of "biblical." She offers an extremely narrow view on who God intends you to be encouraging strict conformity, not to Gods law, but rather an overcorrection against culture. There are hints of shaming women who do not submit to being mothers and rather find fulfilment in other things. As though any form of expression outside of motherhood must be formed by the culture and not influenced by God himself who is the author and creator of many shades of people. God is not black and white, he gifts women with many different skills - and yes, many do become mothers and it is also blessed by God.

As always, RJ uses a ton of words in a complex fashion to confuse her reader and then inserts jab in random places that pack a punch lacking the gospel graces, and sprinkling some unbiblical standards as the cherry on top. She conflates sin with likes and choices in life, and accuses all types of expression as off base and not in step with submission to Jesus if it isn't her standard. Save yourself that mind numbing lecture, and find books on identity that are balanced, respectful to differing positions without compromising truth, do not promote ascetism, have the right focus, and isn't just a primer on how to engage the culture wars. (which is ultimately what I felt this book was. A little book, with a lot of words, on how to not be like the culture in any capacity even if those things are neutral and not sin.)

Another glaring issue is that RJ constantly, in every form of media she produces - ASSUMES the gospel. (I took a highlighter and marked every time she referenced the gospel vs obedience and it was very out of balance.) She mentions the gospel in clearer terms only a handful of times (the life death burial and resurrection of Jesus) but, does not give the indicatives before the imperatives. Causing you to focus more on how obedience is the joy producing, soul sustaining, point of salvation - rather than Jesus Christ as a person being the point. She assumes you (the reader) are a Christian, and that you know what that means and what Jesus has done for you. It is not until the book is almost done that she begins to mention the gospel is clearer terms, but it is not her sole focus - rather she uses it as a crutch to support her arguments Again, RJ has shown little, to no capacity to connect the gospel indicatives with the commands of scripture. She gets the horse before the cart. Her mono coventalism is shiny through, and again we are exhorted to a type if obedience that smells more like we reside under a covenant of works rather than the covenant of grace. That obedience keeps, sustains, and grows you - rather than Christ doing those things, and the fruit of that union being obedience. The very few time she gives an explanations of Christs Death or mentioning the gospel in more clear references, she focuses more on what is "dead" in what we "are" rather than what Jesus has done to free us from. Which is using the gospel to defend a form of ascetism. Another time she uses the gospel as a side point, where obedience is really what will bring joy and peace. And that our turning away from obedience is a turning away from Christ, but the obedience she speaks of is spoken as our superfood - not Christ. Even though she double speaks and mentions Christ as our purpose and identity. It’s confusing, to be honest. Overall, the gospel is not the focus of this book. You fleeing from disobedience, to obedience (which takes a form of denial of good things that she deems are distractions or false self identities) is ultimately what she is calling Christian women (her audience) to.

With all that to say, I could write my own book to counter her book. There is just so much to say, and I am only mentioning that which is on the forefront of my mind.

Please, do not read this book.

I received this book for free from Rebekah Merkle (the authors sister) in an attempt to maybe change my mind of the Wilson family. Thank you for the gift, but no. My opinion has only grown even more solidified. All that comes from canon press smells of cultish behaviors. and abusive tactics. I pray the Lord guards his people.
Profile Image for Kerry Baldwin.
Author 1 book18 followers
August 19, 2019
I was asked to review this book because of my work in philosophy and reformed theology. For my complete review visit:

You Who? Why Rachel Jankovic is Wrong on Identity

Here's a brief synopsis:

First, Jankovic makes a superficial attempt to tear apart existentialist philosophy. She charges it (and particularly John Paul Sartre and his wife Simone de Beauvoir) with being the heart of self improvement. Why someone with no apparent training in philosophy would even attempt this task in a popular writing style to an audience that is likewise not trained in philosophy seems at best disingenuous.

Second, Jankovic confuses the philosophical concept of identity (personhood) with the socio-psychological concept of identity (personality, interests, etc). Though this is common for these sorts of books, I would think someone trying to start a philosophical conversation on identity would draw out this distinction.

Since Jankovic's goal with this book is to discuss a Christian concept of identity, based (allegedly) on a Christian view of philosophy, it's not worth reading since it fails this goal strait out of the gate.

Third, Jankovic's theology is also problematic. Again, I detail this in the link above, but the problems stem from ongoing disagreements over the role works play in Sanctification. She confuses the gift of faith with the work of "faithfulness."

“The fruit of faithfulness” is not in Scripture. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. Jankovic’s tell is that the entire book is written from the wrong subject/object perspective. Her message is an erroneous view of the “third use of the law,” as though it were “do this and live,” rather than the use of the law in the hand of Christ, “live! and do this.” Whether Jankovic intended this or not, the message of her book is, faith is of your own effort and you may not rest until you’re dead. This is not the message of the Gospel.

Whether Jankovic is espousing Federal Vision in particular (and she can plausibly deny it since she doesn’t use that term directly), the ideas Paul objected to are clear in her writing. It’s not only found in Federal Vision, but also in variants derived from the New Perspectives of Paul. So proponents of N.T. Wright, Norman Shepherd, and John Piper also fall under this category. One doctrinal issue at stake here is bicovenantalism vs monocovenatalism. Historic reformed theology is bicovenantal; The variants I’ve mentioned here are monocovental. This may seem like some ethereal debate not relevant to the layman. But there are very real ramifications for believers depending on which teaching they’re sitting under.

Whatever benefit others have gleaned from the book, it's of no serious benefit to old school Presbyterians and Calvinists, nor is it of any benefit to those looking for a correct philosophical understanding of identity.
Profile Image for Megan Miller.
322 reviews
March 4, 2019
I am... vaguely disappointed? And I don't know exactly why, or how to explain it without sounding like I disagree with her. There's nothing here I really disagree with, I just think she missed a ton of opportunities to, 1) quote Scripture, and 2) point to Christ. (Which is ironic considering her purpose.)
She points a lot at us and what we're doing, and I think in some ways it's dangerous to do so without qualifying that we can't do any of these things (serve God, humble ourselves, be faithful, have joy in tough places, etc.) without Christ giving us the ability to do so. It's dangerous because we'll start thinking, "Well, I just need to try harder," instead of, "Lord, give me the strength and lift up my heart to You!"

And I'll be honest, I listen to Rachel's podcast, I follow her on Instagram and I don't honestly think she thinks it's more about us than about God. I just know that it's how this book came off to me, and I feel like it should have gone through a few more stages of editing and some long, hard kitchen table discussions with friends and a Bible and a red pen to add verses in with. Because I really love Rachel and that she's making this call to arms. It just could have been executed better.

That said! I do agree with her call to arms here. We need to be radical in our obedience to Christ, in all things, and not try to huddle pieces of ourselves back from Him. This is thought-provoking, at the very least.

That said (again), nearing the end I was like, "This seems familiar." And I realized: she's trying to say what Matt Papa says in Look and Live. (Except He used more Scripture, which is where the idea is rooted in the first place.) Look at God. Look at Him and obey. Look at Him and fall on your face. Look at Him and be known. Look at Him and be saved.
Profile Image for Shaina Herrmann.
105 reviews10 followers
January 20, 2019
10 Stars! :-)

I listen to Rachel and Bekah's podcast, What Have You, every week. Their weekly ramblings have been an enormous blessing to me and my family, so when I opened this book I had pretty high expectations. She met and exceeded those expectations within the first couple of chapters. She is extraordinarily good at attacking the philosophy of the self and even better at reorientating you to see your true self, the one that can only found in total submission to Christ.

The philosophy of the self is an enormous topic to take on. I would imagine it must be a challenging topic to talk about it on a practical and accessible level that just about anyone could read and understand. She did this beautifully in this book. It is one book that I think most modern women, who have never even thought of these topics before, will learn a great deal from!

We need fewer people telling us how wonderful we all are and far more people to lovingly (and strongly) rebuke our desire to hold onto our sins that we love so much. The book does a fantastic job of telling it like it is (according to the Scriptures) - showing that no matter how much we want to believe them, the lies of the world simply cannot ever truly be satisfying to the soul, and these lies can never free us from guilt. The book discusses a variety of identity issues that a Christian woman may face - some I had already recognized in myself, others that I had noticed but could never put words to, and even a couple that I had completely never noticed before, and of course, now I see them everywhere. My favorite thing about Rachel is that she is straight to the point and hard hitting. She does this with no fear of the backlash that she knows she'll get from the culture. In doing this she demonstrates a love for her sisters in Christ that I do not see in so many modern books written for Christian women. This book helps free Christian women from the lies they have believed about themselves, and it this so by pointing them to Christ alone. That is what makes it so deeply encouraging.

This book was written for women exactly like me. We know there is more to life than our modern world would have us believe. The world has done far too well of a job a disciplining us, training us up in the false-wisdom of the world, especially in the area of self-love. It's time we turned to Christ instead for all wisdom and knowledge we need.

Read it, friends! It's a wonderful book indeed!
Profile Image for Becky Pliego.
692 reviews395 followers
March 5, 2023
2023: Listened on the Canon+ app. Excellent!

2021: Read again in 2021. Excellent! Easy to read but not superficial -not at all!

2019:This is a book written by woman who loves the Lord and His Word but also hates the lies the Devil tells. This is also a book written by a woman who loves logic and right thinking, and that with a particular wit and well thought arguments, exposes the lies the Devil is telling Christians about themselves.

It is definitely a must read all Christian women.
Profile Image for Alyssa Yoder.
206 reviews12 followers
March 19, 2022
This book is a powerful punch. Beautifully, simply written. Rachel has a gift for getting straight to the point. She makes the truth winsome.

Now on to my disagreements.
First, I do think personality tests are a useful tool. Yes, we obey God to become our fullest selves. But in speaking about spiritual gifts, the Bible is clear that how we obey will look different depending on how God has gifted us. Some people major in mercy, some in hospitality, some in teaching, etc. And it then follows that certain acts of simple obedience will in fact be more of a sacrifice for some than for others. We're never exempt from God's commands based on our personality or spiritual gifts. But those things matter, because they are clues into how God wants us to obey.
Second, we are valuable because God created us in His image and because He loves us, not because He saves us. Otherwise, we could conclude that only Christians' lives are valuable.
Third, while I agree that feelings should never be our masters, they do matter, and we should pay attention to them. They can be deceitful, and so they should always be brought to God and His Word. But He can work through our feelings. He can point to the next step in our lives through our feelings.
Finally, our desires matter, too. I would hope that we love the person we marry and that they help us become a better person. I would hope we enjoy our career. Desires are not our master. But the Bible clearly indicates (David, Nehemiah, Hannah) that our desires matter to God, and He uses them in His plan.
Maybe one more note, something that I think the author would agree with: self-denial does not mean not taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally. Self-denial means you take care of yourself to better love God and others, and to treat yourself with the dignity a human being made in God's image deserves.

Edited to add: Rachel Jankovic came across as, at best, dismissive of PPD. She seemed to ignore the very real hormonal and chemical imbalances that contribute to our emotions. Perhaps this dismissiveness was not her intention or her belief. However, nuance and compassion were warranted and are lacking.

Edited again, and my rating changed, to reflect further thought and study on the problems I originally listed.
Profile Image for ValeReads Kyriosity.
1,159 reviews156 followers
March 3, 2023
March 2023 — Quick reread for book discussion. Evidently not quick enough, as the the discussion was on Tuesday, and I didn't get around to the last couple of chapters till Friday. 😉


April 2019 — Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Even when she uses a machine gun. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll just be over here bleeding. Sorry for the stain on the carpet. 😂

The author narrates the audiobook, and good thing, because I think anybody else would have botched it. I wanted to listen at normal speed so as to digest slowly, but Rachel never talks that slow, and she sounded too sluggish. I recommend 1.2× normal speed.
Profile Image for Shannon.
593 reviews24 followers
October 24, 2022
This book ROCKED MY WORLD the first time I read it. The second time I read it through in a book club with college students, I still love it and what it has done for me, but found a few things to be aware of as we discussed it:

1. Jankovic assumes you know the Gospel. Therefore, she is always talking about its implications in your life, but she will never have that "Gospel chapter" that reminds you of this Good News we are so prone to forget. SINCE we're so prone to forget it, this book's wise admonitions may be easy for the human heart to turn into a new "work" we must do. Be careful to keep looking to Jesus (as Jankovic herself tells you!).
2. As with many members of her family, Jankovic can write quite the cogent and convincing stream of well-written prose. As such, it's easy to get swept along in her argument, going "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" all the way--or, I guess, being super-angry the whole ride, depending on whether you agree with her. It was this second read-through, where I wasn't as swept along, where I realized some things could be interpreted out-of-context in a burdensome way. For example, because this book is specifically about the way we've imprisoned ourselves in our self-made identity quests, her chapter on emotions is strong, comparing them to monkeys that must be kept in cages (rather than divine voices to follow like a Disney princess might). In the context of this book, this makes a lot of sense. But if this is what we take as the be-all, end-all word on emotions, we'd be wrong... and we'd be misinterpreting Jankovic herself, whose thoughts on emotions are way more complete and nuanced than the one chapter in this book would indicate. Because Jankovic writes so convincingly, it's important to remember the context of her statements as specifically targeting the ways existentialism has infected the Christian worldview.

All that being said, this book had the same effect on the college students that it did on me the first time. "Wow! This is so freeing! I never realized!" etc. So it's well worth anyone's time. Just remember the context and the Gospel!

(End review of second read-through)

Every now and then, you read a book that makes you wish you hadn't given other books 5 stars, because the book is so well-written, so intellectually stimulating, and so abundantly transforming and life-giving that it almost feels cheap to give it a rating that other books have also received.

I already wanted to read You Who? based on the premise, but what recommended it to me more than that was the effect I saw in a friend who read it before me. She flew through it in a few days, and, knowing that I am wary of hype, calmly told me it was really good. This friend was already a saint, wise and charitable, generous and supernaturally joyful. But what moved the book up my giant TBR list is that I saw this friend's joy visibly increase. I saw her respond to situations that would make ANYONE flip out with a profound peace and ordered emotions, desiring the glory of God, and it was BEAUTIFUL. I know this friend probably just about as well as one woman can know another, and I already knew she was godly--but this was a whole other level. When I expressed my awe to her, she would (again avoiding over-hype) tell me it was You Who? that had helped her enjoy the Gospel afresh, had helped increase her joy. And thus You Who? got my attention based on more than a curious interest in the premise.

The book itself is one cogent, capable, well-articulated argument. Much like a Pauline letter, it sets out its premise in a huge multi-chapter sweep, then proceeds to work out much of the implications in later chapters. Hard-hitting and winsome, it's smart all the time, and mind-blowing at points. I knew I agreed with Jankovic's premise and wanted to enjoy agreeing with a nice critique of existentialism. I had no idea she would be able to convince me that I myself had swallowed the pill of existentialism--and that it was stealing my joy and vitality, sucking much of the power from my Christian freedom.

But if you're not a huge philosophy lover, don't be scared off by the term "existentialism": everything about this book is imminently readable, with vivid analogies to keep the argument from getting lost in the abstract. I blew through it as easily and quickly as if it were a fluffy pleasure read, not an intense academic and spiritual argument. And besides, it's important for all of us to know about existentialism, so that we can understand that it is in nearly every social media post we see, every ad we hear, every magazine we idly flip through. Because it is so prevalent, we've absorbed its assumptions without even recognizing what is happening to us. It's like how we eat foods that seem fine at the time but are slowly making us sick and killing us. So we've got to learn to define existentialism, recognize it, and repudiate it.

Jankovic took me and my joy seriously enough not to patronize me. She pointed out that though I don't ascribe to existentialism in its purest form, it has trickled into my belief system in disguise. And to the degree that I have let it infiltrate my life, I have robbed the Gospel of its power. I can't have it both ways. I can't have the cheap counterfeit of joy that this world is constantly telling me it can provide AND the true joy of the Gospel. And when I realize this, the Gospel is free to work, without my trying to hitch a bunch of worthless baggage to it and dragging it back.

So, I'm excited to recommend this book to everyone I know, full of excitement that it will help us all find joy and meaning, power and beauty, right where we are.
Profile Image for Sarah.
130 reviews
March 5, 2020
This was an excellent book. It's hard to find "Christian Living" type books that combine solid theology with practical application, but Rachel Jankovic has done it again. I couldn't put this down. It was convicting and encouraging to me personally, and when I finished I was ready to buy a copy for every woman I know. Not a day goes by that I don't see lies related to identity under the guise of wellness, self-care, body image, etc. on social media and elsewhere. Rachel does a superb job of giving some history on how these lies got such traction (without being boring), saying what's wrong with them, and giving real gospel hope and application. It was a great first read of the year- perhaps it will become an annual January read for me. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Profile Image for Brittany Allen.
47 reviews23 followers
July 6, 2021
To be honest, it’s hard to unpack all my thoughts on this one. If I say anything against it, more than likely I’ll be labeled unfairly. But I do have concerns about this book.

I want to start out by saying that there are some good thoughts in this book. The chapters on philosophy and how that’s affected our culture today was interesting. I applaud the author for trying to confront a Christianity that’s been tainted by Rachel Hollis and those similar to her who cause women to focus so much on the self. However, the author missed the mark. Instead of drawing the reader’s eye upward to Christ’s sufficiency and obedience on our behalf, I believe for many her words draw them to look to their own obedience and potentially breed a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.

I will never ever ever be okay with someone saying that “obedience is the superfood of the Christian.” We obey and bear fruit and live by the power of the Holy Spirit alone. We cannot obey apart from his power and grace. Obedience is a fruit, not the root. Joyful obedience happens when we fix our eyes on Christ knowing we are dependent on him for everything. We feast on Jesus for sustenance, NOT our obedience/works. I wrote down “Read this if you wanna be enabled in your own self sufficiency.” as I listened. I still feel this way having finished it.

Other thoughts:
“In him there is no room for neediness”: I get what she’s trying to say here—truly, when we have Christ we have all that we need. However, the author seems to view any real weakness or neediness as sin. Yet, I stand utterly needy before God. And sometimes I’m needy before others and that’s one reason why God gave us the body of Christ. Admitting our very real needs is not sin. Rachel harps on being needy a lot in the book. I wonder how many women read this book and felt they had to hide their needs and never ask for help.

A whole chapter was dedicated to feelings in which they’re borderline painted to be of the devil: Feelings are not bad. They are not always sinful. She goes as far as to say we shouldn’t trust them at all and they aren’t something we need to figure out. Yet, our feelings are God-given and he gave them to us for a purpose. Are they sometimes warped and need to be surrendered to the word of God? Of course! But feeling sad or discouraged or grief are not sinful. She claims that we make our feelings our God or identity, but forgets that someone could also make “not feeling” their God or identity.

Because of these issues and the overall tone the author takes (I listened and the author read the book herself), I couldn’t recommend this to someone. I want to point people to Jesus and resources that leave them in awe of him. Not resources that leave them feeling like their own obedience is the key to heaven, whether that was the intention of the author or not.
Profile Image for Hannah Brown.
49 reviews
June 13, 2019
Read again in June 2019. Took me a second read-through to really understand everything and get it sorted out in my mind. Still a wonderful book!

100 times better than I expected, and loving Rachel Jankovic as I do, I had high expectations. She does an amazing job of putting into words what I have been subconsciously taught and learned all of my life, but only as now beginning to realize. Every woman should read this book. And every man, for that matter.
Profile Image for Gabriela Bevenuto.
30 reviews47 followers
October 8, 2019
Tenho que admitir que não esperava tanto desse livro. Rachel consegue com uma linguagem simples, apontar como propagandas, livros e muito do que consumimos em termos de mídia moldam nossa percepção de identidade, e mais do que isso: os problemas atrelados à isso. E wow, são grandes problemas. Este é um livro necessário.
Profile Image for ladydusk.
463 reviews191 followers
February 17, 2020
I liked this well enough. We're supposed to die to self and live to Christ and Jankovic discusses how the world tries to invert that and lead us away from following the Lord.

It didn't seem all that surprising to me in general: as believers we are to find our identity in Christ; the Lord conforms us more and more to his image and we are to follow his example as disciples. "A disciple, when he is fully trained, will be like his master."

I appreciated, perhaps the best, the beginning parts where she explained the modern philosophies that brought culture to where it is now. That sort of big ideas in history is something that fascinates me. That section could have been a little deeper, I thought, but this isn't an academic work where she's citing works to prove her thesis. I suspect she thought a little goes a long way.

The living it out seemed like a series of blog posts rather than a unified whole. She went from one topic to the next - and good, worthwhile topics - but with little transitions or thematic structure.

I will probably have my kids read this just so they're aware, but we hear much of "who and what we are" in church regularly, so I doubt it will be wholly new.

Jankovic's writing fluctuates between witty and clever and the annoying, all-knowing tone so prevalent in books from her family. Overall, it was worth the read and the eye rolls.
Profile Image for Harriet.
42 reviews8 followers
February 10, 2022
Really didn’t expect to dislike this but had a few problems.

1) felt as though the tone really lacked compassion/sensitivity. The author, from a Christian family, seemed to lack any sympathy or understanding why someone might end up at a different worldview to her own. While I agree with her viewpoint on identity and philosophy etc, I just felt she could have been less harsh.
2) there was such a weird anecdote about Idaho. The point seemed to be that obedience leads to God’s will. But the moral of the story was that she was once obedient in talking to someone and the amazing outcome was… they moved to Idaho? I just don’t think it’s God’s will for everyone to move to Idaho…
3) the book had a stronggg emphasis on obedience and really could have done with a hefty dose of being transformed by the Spirit at work in us rather than by the things we do.
4) she was very critical of personality. Whilst I completely agree with her about people pigeon-holing themselves based on ridiculous personality tests, she seemed to suggest that the only personality types are ‘sinful’ and ‘not sinful’ which seemed to lack nuance and the idea that God creates us all with different gifts.
Profile Image for G.M. Burrow.
Author 1 book109 followers
February 12, 2019
Truth, goodness, and beauty are crazy alive in this book. Simply magnificent. I had no idea how much I (fairly confident, decent sense of who I am) needed counseling about Christian identity until I read about two pages and felt like I had plunged my head beneath a cold waterfall after trudging across the Sahara. What glory. Every woman (and man) needs this book. Who are you? To Whom do you belong? Who's got you? What are you supposed to do? How should you obey? How deeply can you trust this Person who bought you with His blood and named you with His name? How does this change your view of your life, career, motherhood, body image, personality, your feelings? (Uh oh.) It changes everything. Because Christ bought it all. Your whole self has died and your whole self has been raised. Let the Resurrection work its magic.
Profile Image for Maggie.
212 reviews
June 21, 2023
This book is delightfully and honestly blunt. It is one of those books which manages to be both encouraging and convicting at the same time, and the fact that it is dedicated to my mom makes me even happier.
Profile Image for Rick Davis.
834 reviews105 followers
September 30, 2019
Do you remember those deodorant commercials that proclaimed that their product was strong enough for a man but made for a woman? That's kind of what this book is like. It was clearly written with Christian women in mind, but the message of the book, and the lessons in it are vitally necessary for everyone in our individualistic world, men and women alike. A timely and excellent book that responds to many of the lies believed by our culture today. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
100 reviews3 followers
November 17, 2019
This book is a hard one to rate and review--2.5 stars might be more appropriate. Some chapters of this book contained gems that I would just love to pass onto friends, but this is not a book I can freely recommend. I loved Rachel’s book on motherhood, Loving the Little Years, and similarly, You Who brings up important issues for women in the church—ungodly philosophies, body image, the pampered princess mentality among Christian women, and our “treat yourself” culture, just to name a few. Rachel does an excellent job of showing where these philosophies fall short and how they run contrary to scripture.

My primary concern with You Who is that there is so much emphasis on obedience without enough discussion on the power of Christ who enables our obedience. There is little discussion of trusting in Christ for our sin and resting in His finished work. She doesn’t discuss our love for the Lord and she doesn’t talk about faith much. The Christian life is often reduced to “Read the Word. Obey the Word. Obey it now. Obey it again,” as Jankovic says on page 114. There’s no discussion of how the Holy Spirit works in us to enable that obedience or how God sanctifies us to reorder our affections. I’m not sure how one can even “obey it now and obey it again” without such power, and without resting in Christ for our failings, something she never discusses.

Rachel’s complete dismissal of self-care, our emotions, and personality tests definitely needs more nuance—instead of walking a middle ground, she jumps into the opposing ditch and abandons these things altogether. Much of what Jankovic says isn’t wrong, it’s just not the entire truth either. Podcasts and articles might be hard places for nuance because of their brevity, but nuance and clarification are essential in a book if the author doesn't want to be misunderstood.

I think if you’re approaching this book with a solid understanding of the Gospel, you might come away from reading it just fine. But for many readers, the emphasis on obedience will be too burdensome or it will encourage legalism—this is what our hearts do, and this is why we need the Gospel. Some chapters felt so heavy and legalistic, but then at the very end, Christ was suddenly inserted into the conversation. Had she frontloaded these entire discussions with the Gospel, making Christ the lens through which we see all things, these chapters would’ve had far more power and been effective because the Gospel truly changes everything. Jankovic actually does this extremely well in her chapter about body image (one of my favorites), but unfortunately, she fails to discuss other issues through that Christ-centered mindset.

While this book does address some important issues, it is not a book I can freely recommend. It is simply too full of moralism rather than Gospel application.
Profile Image for Steve Hemmeke.
596 reviews40 followers
May 28, 2019
I’ve made a habit of checking the New York Times best seller list regularly now for the last 3-4 months. One author has consistently had two titles in the top 10 the entire time: Rachel Hollis. “Girl, Wash Your Face!” “Girl, Stop Apologizing!” I admit I haven’t read Hollis. I trust the Gospel Coalition’s critical review of her, though, and it gave me pause.

Now, after reading You Who, by Rachel Jankovic, I connected the dots. Jankovic attacks head on the can-do, “you’re-good-enough” positivism Hollis doles out as a panacea for hurting women. The problem is Hollis cries “peace, peace” too soon, when there is really none to be had until you get to the denial and death of our petty and wicked self, and our recovery in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jankovic is at her best when substantively refuting Hollis’ shallow, self-affirming message with the basic gospel of the Christian Scriptures. We need to apologize to God and others for sinning against them. We need to do more than wash our face; God needs to wash us clean. We generate gunk on our own and need an outside cleanser in Christ. It isn’t the other way around: that we generate glory inside ourselves and need to shed the gunk the world tries to load us down with. The chapter on looking to Christ was especially good.

I had one quibble with a chapter where Jankovic inadvertently implies that we should rely on our obedience for our standing before God. She is so reactionary against letting emotions define you (mostly a right reaction), that in this chapter she fell into the other ditch of letting your actions define your faith. But it’s important to recall, too, the Romans 7 reality, that we don’t always behave how we know as believers we should.

Jankovic also suffers from a marketing weakness. She seems unwilling to come right out and say to whom she is responding. She knows enough to go after this big beast, but seems to want to keep the reader in the dark that she is refuting a precious author who affirms them as they are. You Who? really needed a subtitle like, “A Response to Rachel Hollis.” Maybe it is intentional to not turn away readers who haven’t heard of Hollis, though.

A solid read overall to re-center women in the Gospel and not heed the siren song of Oprah with a Christian veneer.
Profile Image for Sarah.
299 reviews11 followers
June 19, 2019
Almost four stars. The first half was excellent; highly recommended. She is very concerned about modernity’s obsession with emotions (rightly so), and when she’s not addressing this directly, I think she uses a very “Psalm-centered” approach. However, in her chapter on it (20), she encourages the reader, “This is the amazing reality of following Christ: when we ignore our feelings, they follow.” This seems a little dangerous, if not unbiblical. Ignoring versus bringing feelings into the bright light of truth could lead to pride or bitterness.
Profile Image for Miranda Sanders.
29 reviews1 follower
July 4, 2019
I listened to the audiobook. It was a very easy listen.
This book is great and convicting. Very similar to her sister’s “Eve in Exile” in that it starts off fairly philosophical and goes into the “restoration” of these views.
She relays self actualization and existentialism in a very simple way that is easy to understand, and from a Biblical and gospel centered stand point, fights against those views.
I love her high view and grasp of obedience and showing how obedience CAN be simple and possible, and her high view of the glory of God. This was very refreshing.
Profile Image for Hope Wiseman.
51 reviews11 followers
March 3, 2021
There's much in the book I appreciate. There are a few issues that make me pause and I still need to explore and understand. More things to study: Federal vision in relation to obedience, and sub category of emotions & asceticism. (See Theology Gals podcast for further critique notes)

"I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it." John Gresham Machen
3 reviews
May 15, 2019
Parts of this book, while speaking good truth, did not come across with any grace or understanding. She spoke of Ephesians 2:4-10 but there were many chapters I did not feel that in her writing.
Profile Image for Callie.
383 reviews122 followers
April 24, 2019
Five stars on this one!

I've only heard good things about this book, so I was excited to pick it up. I started the audiobook on a plane trip, and got 3/4 of the way through the book in one sitting. Wow, it was SO GOOD! This book is badly needed in Christian circles today, and was very timely for me personally. We are so busy trying to "find ourselves" that we have badly lost our way, and Jankovic points us back to our true purpose as Christian women through this book.

Jankovic starts by giving us a primer on different philosophies of the self, and gets into a brief discussion of Sarte and his philosophies. It becomes more and more apparent as you read that American Christian culture has generally accepted a lot of these bad philosophies of the Self. Just pick up almost any "Christian" book written for women these days, and you'll see the connections. This is how she sums it up:

"While many philosophers have put different angles and nuances on existentialism, what they all have in common is this idea that existence precede essence: the importance of you is entirely up to you. The real meaning in your life is only what you make it." -Chapter 4

Sound familiar? Jankovic spends the rest of the book explaining why this is not a Christian attitude, and pointing us back to biblical truth as our true foundation for the "self". She covers topics like being led by emotions, the problem with Jesus being a part of your "brand", our obsession with personality tests, body image, and the problem with the "you are God's princess" attitude in women's ministry. I've never read a book with more Christian truth about all these concepts.

My favorite chapters were chapter 13 on being "glory givers", and the last four chapters of the book. I wanted to highlight those entire chapters, but that doesn't really make sense. Here are the quotes that really stood out to me though, the ones I've been thinking about since reading this book.

"We have a natural, God-given desire for glory, but it must have a healthy purpose. Glory to give, not glory to hoard. Glory to pass on...Being glorious is for God. Giving glory is a human task...We bring glory, we give glory, we reflect glory. But we are terrible receivers of it. We cannot hold glory because it was never meant for us. We are given glory to give it to our Maker." -Chapter 13

"Whatever precious things you cherish in yourself apart from Christ must be surrendered willingly so they can be raised and glorified in Christ." -Chapter 24

"We want to be enough, but we are profoundly unworthy. We want to be able to build ourselves up without Christ, but, at the end, we are only smaller and more wretched...Here it is at last, me. Worth nothing. Capable of nothing but more filth. Earning nothing but death...When you are in Christ, you can see your Self (in all it's worthlessness) and still laugh with joy. You know the story. This miserable horrible little self has been shown the exceeding riches of grace and kindness. This little mass of death and horror has died in Christ, and in Christ is being raised. All the joy, beauty, and soul-crushing glory in the story of this world begins with the ugly worthlessness of fallen sinners, and hinges on the turning point of all history, "But God". -Chapter 25

I will say that I thought she worded a couple of things oddly, and after a little research I think I felt this way because there are some doctrinal differences I have with Jankovic (for example, I know she believes in a post-millennial return of Christ, which I don't agree with). I also figured out that her dad has been associated with Federal Vision theology, which is not biblical and which I don't agree with. I find that a little concerning. It may be why some of the wording in Jankovic's book seemed off to me. I feel like I need to do a little more research about this.

However, for the purposes of this book, her points were solid and thought-provoking. Some reviews said they thought she could have included more Scripture, and I think that is true. Overall though, I think this book did a good job of pointing the reader back to Christ for our true fulfillment and purpose. I feel pretty safe in saying that probably every Christian woman today has believed one of the lies that Jankovic covers in this book at some time, to some extent. If you are getting lost in all the focus on self-fulfillment in modern culture, this book will wake you up, dig down to the ugly parts of your heart that you forgot were there, and get you back on track with your true purpose in this life as a follower of Christ who has already been saved by faith through grace - to now obey Him and truly give Him glory in all you do.
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