You can judge this book by its cover!
From the moment I picked up When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette, I knew it was special. Different. The cover is smooth to the touch, but the title of the book has been over-printed in a gritty texture, and you can literally feel the raised letters. This unexpected surprise increased my curiosity about the contents. I mean, when someone takes that much care to ensure an engaging cover, what did he do with the content?!
Being a skeptic by nature, I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The back cover correctly states that
Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus…Max Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive God’s grace—we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us.
Having finished the book, I can honestly say that this book softened this weary woman on some level and fed my soul. It reminded me of God’s greatness, His amazing sense of timing, His ability to work all things together for the good of those who love Him, and His creating me to be, well, ME! As Davis says, “Don’t try to be normal. It’ll mess you up” (p. 74).
Something I have struggled with for the majority of my adult life is people pleasing. As the oldest child of a pastor, I was raised to please. I was in many ways raised to think that I could control how people saw me and my family, and so I needed to act a certain way, talk a certain way, eat a certain way, and I did. I was a good kid with a sincere desire to live my life according to the rules and guidelines set before me, and for the most part, I did just that.
What I never realized is that living my life to please others was a VERY HEAVY burden, and I was already starting to cultivate that same desire to people please in my only son. Thankfully, a few years ago, God began the process of showing me this tendency and helped me let go of my insatiable need for approval.
I wish I could tell you that the transformation from “people pleaser” to “God pleaser” was instantaneous, but it was not. I am definitely a work in progress. During the last year, the Lord has been showing me over and over again that I need to be myself. This message has come through sermons, songs, books, journaling, friends, and even strangers! Most recently, that message was drilled home to me by Davis’ book. He writes:
As Christ followers, we want to be distinct individuals with the character of Jesus flowing out of us. It’s a process that will never be ultimately complete until this life is over…Jesus wants to free us to be who we were created to be…I’ve learned that when I embrace my uniqueness, the power of God is released in my life to stand and do what He’s called me to do. Your divine calling and identity is unlocked when you dare to believe in the unique individual that God created you to be. (p. 64)
Created to Be Unique
It’s not very easy to cease seeing yourself through the eyes of others. In fact, it’s downright hard. But Max Davis is right, and his teaching is sound: God did not create us to be “little robots” with no sense of individuality. He created us and broke the mold. Our uniqueness equips us to fulfill our God-ordained purpose life, and nobody else can do what we do the way we can do it.
The idea that we have to look a certain way or act the same way everybody else does in church is a device of the enemy to prevent us from being the unique man or woman of God that He created us to be…[God] wants to put us in unique places and situations so we can carry His resurrection life to those around us, changing the atmosphere as we go. (p. 176)
What I was reminded of while reading When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette is that God didn’t just create me. He created me in His image for His glory. And the only way I will be able to bring Him glory is by—and this is very scary for me to admit—being who he created me to be: myself. My imperfect, always growing self. I have to be willing to show up and be seen, to live and learn and become who He wants me to be, and lean into the process trusting that He is working everything out because I love Him so much…well, actually, because He loves me so much.
And when I embrace His love and allow it to fill my heart—when I let go of people pleasing and lean into His will—I am filled with a peace that passes all understanding, and I am freed to love other people like God does. And that love overflows from a heart full of love and purpose which comes straight from the Creator Himself. That type of love is patient and kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8a)
I highly recommend When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette not only for yourself, but I also think it would make a great gift for someone who is struggling with knowing his or her purpose in life. I plan to have my teenage son read this, as I am confident it will have a tremendously positive impact on his life.
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