Publisher and Publication Date: IVP Books. February 13, 2018.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Christian Life.
Audience: Christians who are given a reminder that ultimate satisfaction is not on earth, but while living this life we are to live with purpose by sanctification.
Amy Simpson hopes this book will clear-up the belief that by being a Christian this automatically means we have satisfaction. She refers to this belief system as a myth.
She mentions several well-known pastors and speakers in the Christian community who teach happiness and satisfaction in this life for a Christian is to be expected.
Simpson clears up the difference in the words, dissatisfaction versus unsatisfaction. To be dissatisfied is a negative. Whereas, to be unsatisfied means we are not satisfied at this point in earthly life, but we will be satisfied in heaven.
We are to focus on God and His will for our lives. This does not mean we will not have suffering. And things will not always work out the way we had hoped. And we will have disappointments. Yet, Jesus equips us with His peace.
Simpson encourages us to embrace the unsatisfied life.
When I began reading this book, I had two thoughts. My first thought is this is not a theme in a Christian nonfiction book I’ve read: embracing the unsatisfied life. Secondly, what exactly is Simpson proposing and what does this theme mean?
I didn’t have to search long to find my answers. Simpson reminded me that I am, “made for another world, and God wants His people to long for it.” Page 21.
I become wrapped up in my daily life of family, hobbies, news events, weather, and forget that I am, “made for another world.” My true home is heaven. In this earthly life, I will never have true and fulfilling satisfaction.
Simpson remarks on people who put all their energy in having satisfaction in this life. They are like “spiritual consumers.” They are constantly shopping for a fix of satisfaction.
Chapter 4 is pivotal for me. God uses sadness to shape me. I am to grieve the sadness, because grieving, “keeps my heart open and tender.” But don’t focus on the pursuit of always being happy and satisfied. Instead, focus on, “living with purpose.” This type of living and pursuit is personal growth.
Chapter 6 digs deeper in pursuing the purpose filled life. “The ultimate form of personal growth is sanctification, the process through which God transforms us, more and more, into the image of Christ.” Page 121.
Further teachings are on gratitude, and making an impact with our purpose and legacy.
The last chapter is “Satisfaction is Coming.” The following quote is a clincher for me.
Lest you believe this book is about lowering your expectations of God, let me say clearly that this book is about living unsatisfied not because God will disappoint us but because he will not. Living unsatisfied means living in hope of satisfaction far beyond what we are capable of wanting now. The blessings of unsatisfaction are not only for now. We live in hope deferred. Page 164.
“Exercises” are at the end of each chapter. These are questions following up on the chapter topics. These questions are personal and meant to stir the heart towards growth. At the end of the book is a “Discussion Guide.” I feel this book is adequate for individual reading and study, but also for a small group discussion.
Amy Simpson is a deep thinker. This is a big reason why I love her books. So far, I’ve read: Anxious (review pending), and Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. Troubled Minds is her first book. It is a starting point for giving a strong explanation for her mission and theme in writing. A family members mental illness deeply impacted her childhood.
Amy writes on her website and in periodical writings about this subject; and, has given interviews about the church’s role in helping people who have a mental illness: How can the church minister to a group of people and their families who have been placed in the background?
Mental illness is a subject that was not talked about in church for a long time. I’ve noticed a growing number of churches who have support groups for life situations: life groups that are like small families, divorce care, and grief support.