Review: Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue

Choosing Real

Sometimes, life doesn't go as planned. In those moments, it can be tempting to question God's presence and purpose. In Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn't Go As Planned, author Bekah Jane Pogue uses personal stories and an exploration of scripture to help readers encounter God in the midst of life's unplanned circumstances, including loss and transition.

According to Bekah, “every circumstance, person, and feeling is an invitation to see God's genuine heart in the middle of it.” To encounter God, we must choose to be real. “Choosing Real trusts God has a beautiful plan in the mess, in the scary, in the unknown, in the tears, and in not feeling enough.”

I read Choosing Real in the midst of Holy Week, a crazy time in the life a church worker. As a result, I was particularly captivated by the chapter entitled, Enjoy the Journey: An Invitation to Rest in the Midst of a Frantic Schedule. Bekah's words served as a valuable reminder to me, just as I'm sure they will for other readers, “If rest is God's idea, surely He wouldn't tease us with the notion of it. His heart is never to shame but to offer peace in a life tempted to run frantically. To rest means to be filled up by the One who enjoys us right in the middle of the rush.”

As a perpetual worrier, another significant chapter for me was Who Am I? An Invitation to Claim a Jesus Identity during Transition. For the last two months, my congregation has been going through a significant transition – hiring both an interim senior pastor and an associate pastor. It's been a difficult time for my colleagues and I. This chapter is one that gave me hope and comfort, reminding me that “Faith isn't moving past the fear; faith tolerates the tension and relaxes into His compassionate comfort.”

As the mom of a young daughter, I often wrestle with what, if anything, I should post about my daughter on social media. To this end, I loved Bekah's #realisthenewperfect challenge, which she addresses in the chapter of the same name. According to her, “Real is the new perfect. The kind of authentic reflecting real, where a freeing relationship dwells; where love, joy, peace, patience, and grace abide; where second, third, and fourth chances reside... Authenticity shares without fear of how it will be responded to.”

All in all, Choosing Real is a highly-relatable book that blends authentic storytelling with wisdom garnered from Bekah's own life. Young moms will find this book particularly satisfying as they will frequently see themselves in it. However, even those who aren't young moms will benefit from Bekah's wisdom and example as they pursue an authentic relationship with God and others.

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I'm giving away a copy of Choosing Real to one lucky reader. To enter to win, leave a comment. Then check back on Saturday, April 22 to see if you won! 

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of Choosing Real in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

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