Book Review: Rest Assured {by Vicki Courtney}

I read this a few years ago and it's STILL one of my favorite books -- see more at sydneyelizabeth.blogThis is easily one of the better books I’ve read lately. Vicki Courtney has such a writing skill that I feel like she spoke the whole book to me in person…while we sipped tea and had our feet propped up in front of a crackling fire. That’s how personable and restful this read was.

Rest Assured is “a recovery plan for weary souls” and not a book to be read through just once. I found myself marking many pages to remember and look back on. Vicki has it well-organized and sectioned off into two main parts. First is what she calls an intervention and a detailed look of various “enemies of rest” – what things in our lives are keeping us from the peace that God-ordained rest gives us. The second section is a recovery plan with terrific suggestions, questions for discussions, ideas for taking care of one’s own well-being and much more.

The main “enemies of rest” she delves into are:

  1. The Badge of Busyness
  2. The Exhausting Pursuit of Happiness
  3. Tethered Souls
  4. Worried Sick

Vicki Courtney dives deeper than many authors might have gone. She really uncovers the “why” behind certain parts of our culture and behavioral tendencies. Why we glorify busyness…

“When we brag about our crazy, busy lives on a regular basis, we reveal that something is broken deep within our souls.”

Why we get tripped up with the impossible pursuit of happiness…

“Our culture may be focused on the pursuit of happiness, but God cares far more about our pursuits of joy.”

Why we allow ourselves to be tethered to (or ruled by) things that give us unrest…

“As long as we tether our souls to things that cannot deliver true satisfaction and fulfillment, we will always be left wanting something more.”

Why we permit worry to consume us…

“We will not experience true rest in our souls until we accept His invitation to lay our troubles at His feet [Matthew 11:28]. Jesus carried the weight of our burdens and worries to the cross long ago, but it’s up to us to leave them there.”

I appreciate that the author brings us back to Scripture time and time again. I’m very confident in her wisdom and really enjoyed seeing new perspectives of Bible verses I have been so familiar throughout my life.

It’s impossible for me not to compare this book to another that’s been exceedingly popular this year. I love the author Lysa TerKeurst and have read multiple books of hers. However, I was less than impressed (or affected) by her The Best Yes. It may have been my particular chapter in life or another external factor, but I couldn’t figure out why it was so popular (besides, of course, her wide connections in publicity and publication). If you had the same reaction to her book and are hesitant to read another one about “busyness” and how to fix it, trust me that Rest Assured is a must-read. It will do you good, deep inside your soul where it matters.

The second part of her book is probably my favorite part as the author addresses the importance of solitude, of leisure and of obedience to Jesus in His commands. She really brings to the table true solutions and advice for how to overcome the “enemies of rest.”

At the end of each chapter, there are questions to help the reader work out issues in his or her own life – these can be helpful in both an individual or small group setting. In fact, I would love going through this book again with a small group of girls!

In the very end of the book, the author has listed out “100 Ways to Give it a Rest” — just reading this list of ideas is calming! After reading her book and placing into perspective issues in my own life, this list is a helpful reference. Additionally, she has included a 30-day restoration guide that includes prayers, reflections and various assignments created to enable the reader to make radical decisions toward the better.

After reading this book, I wish I could meet Vicki Courtney. I bet many ladies would love her as a mentor!

Here are a few more of my favorite quotes from the book:

“We cannot be transformed by the renewing of our minds unless we are willing to be still and meditate on His truths.”

“We are too busy planning for happiness in the future to enjoy life in the present.”

“Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.”

“Setting our affections on Christ is not a one-time exercise or a super-spiritual gift that magically descends on us when we pray to receive Christ. Believers must consciously and continually decide to make Him their primary pursuit and fight hard to keep Him there.”

“When we say yes to too many things, we are actually saying no to God.”

“Pay attention to the target of your busyness, and you will likely find the primary affection of your heart.”

“If we want to experience more than what a temporary state of happiness can provide, we must make joy our aim.”

“God wired our hearts for connection, so we can easily fall into the trap of depending on technology and social media to meet that need. However, our hearts need a permanent, fulfilling, soul-enlarging connection — and only God can provide that.”

“When we fail to spend time with God on a consistent basis, it’s easy to forget who He is and how much He loves us.”

“Without solitude, we cannot discover the person God wants us to be.”

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with theFederal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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