Book Review: A Perfect Mess

perfect messI love the title for Lisa Harper’s new devotional study, A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for GodThis speaks directly to an issue that has been on my heart for the past several years. 

When I decided to start blogging, I prayed a lot about how I was going to focus the thing.  Of course, I wanted to talk about the things most important to me, God, the Bible, and books.  But I also wanted to talk about my own life, so the blog was personal and relatable. And I felt God impressing upon me the need to be very transparent, open and honest about the messes in my life, not just the ways that I’ve done things right.  He called me to be real, instead of polished (well, not in the grammar sense, of course!). 

I’m not sure how well I’ve stuck to my original calling. In the past few weeks, I’ve been sticking mainly to book reviews, and I hope to get back to more personal essays in the future. I’m taking a little bit of time away from those.  But hopefully, I’ll get a recharge during my summer break and come back with lots of new inspiration.

Anyway, back to the book (I think my book reviews are turning into personal essays).  The title drew me in, but I also liked that it was a study of the Psalms.  Each chapter reflects on a particular psalm, dealing with such issues as “Tumbling Toward Approval” with Psalm 139 and “Leaping over Legalism with Psalm 62.  The Psalms offer a wealth of real life living, messes and all, and we can learn a lot from these imperfect people and their relationships with the perfect God.

Harper is gifted at telling stories.  I was a bit disappointed in her ability to stay focused on the Psalm.  She often got derailed and tangential with her very charming stories that didn’t quite line up with what the Psalm was saying.  However, they offered great discussion material for a women’s group and even some food for thought along the general lines of the topic. 

Don’t approach the book as an in-depth study of the Psalms. Instead, see it as a collection of personal stories, loosely organized under a theme that happens to coincide slightly with a particular psalm.  I’d advise getting out your own Bible and reading the Psalm at the beginning of each chapter to do your own personal reflection, to make your own connections.  It’s what I ended up doing because Harper uses switches between unusual translations of the Bible (one of my pet peeves) and jumps around a bit through the Psalm. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the book, visit the publisher’s website.

This is going to be my last book review for a month.  I’m going to take a little break from the reviews as Dan and I take some vacation time. It doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging, but it probably won’t be as frequent.  Of course, I’m going to keep reading though. I’ve got a book a week goal to meet!

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I personally am expecting to do a virtual vacation via your posts. The upside of this arrangement: no sore feet from tromping through cobbled streets and no risk of sunburn, and I will be saving a bundle!

    The downside parts: Too numerous to mention…

    AL: I’ll try to share as much of the upsides as I can! Internet connections are going to be the challenge.


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