Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Valorie Burton's Where Will You Go From Here?

I have been very remiss in my book reviews! Although I started this wonderful book some time ago,
it has taken me a while to get through it and post this review - not because it's not well-written, but because this deceptively thin book is packed with helpful information delivered in a compassionate tone.

I chose Valorie Burton's Where Will You Go from Here? for a specific reason. Recent changes in my life had left me unhappy and disillusioned, and I found myself unable to shake them off with any kind of alacrity. Although I know that God always has a plan, I was so unhappy with the latest turn of events that I found little comfort in that usually healing thought.

At first, I thought I'd made a mistake. Though Valorie's voice and style drew me in immediately, the stories she told were about brave people facing major life changes. The changes I was anticipating were piddly by comparison. Maybe I just needed to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Then I got to Chapter 5, "Finding Stability and Strength." As I read, I felt myself tear up as Valorie began with, "You can climb your way out of the ditch in a calm, steadfast manner, or you can waste precious energy by kicking and screaming your way out." (p. 79) Well, I had certainly done my share of the latter, and it hadn't changed a thing. She followed that intro with "The Serenity Prayer," sketching out a blueprint for moving on despite the curveballs in life, big or small.

I'm a counselor, so none of this is new to me, but in Valorie's presentation, there was an undercurrent of validation for the feeling of frustration that arises when we are placed in situations beyond our control. While the early chapters helped me to keep things in perspective, the later chapters offered wonderful, practical strategies.

Valorie isn't shy about sharing her own struggles, nor does she over-share. This book is an optimistic, practical guide for moving on from whatever ditch life throws you into. Whether the ditch is shallow, or miles deep, Valorie commiserates without pity, and offers a caring, faith-based approach to dealing with the unexpected.

This book cannot be rushed, though. Although it's an easy read, it's best read slowly enough to absorb all it has to offer.

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