Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world - and the courage it requires Kindle Edition
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Thank you for having been obedient to your Heavenly Father by writing this book - it will help & bless many!!
I am a huge fan of Dalene’s writing and so when she offered me the gift of reading her book for free before it even came out, I jumped at the chance. Her words seldom fail to inspire, encourage and fill with hope. ‘Dragons and Dirt’ is no different.
This book is a collection of words backed up by honest life experience and authenticity. Dalene writes with such poetic finesse and personal engagement, that quite often I suddenly realised this is my story she is speaking about. She understands what I am going through.
Alongside the hope that changing this world is possible, there are dragons. And there is dirt. As the description in the foreword warns, ‘It is not a safe book. And it shouldn’t be. Because if we expect to make a difference in this broken world of ours, we should expect opposition.’
While I [as a forty year old married male with no children] think absolutely everyone will benefit from reading this book, I imagine that it will particularly resonate with women and especially moms. In the most powerful of ways. If I, as a cry-once-every-ten-years rock, was moved to the edge of tears on a number of occasions, I can only imagine that moms of young children will need boxes of tissues handy.
In the first part of the book, Dalene explores a number of Dragons which hiss, bellow and send fire our way. Negative dragons like criticism, misconception and rejection. But also some which are positive things such as pleasure, possessions and prestige. These chapters are so powerful as she invites you into some areas of her pain through stories which capture the heart and exposed nerve endings of each dragon, but also share how she has been able to conquer each one, at least in part. Methinks these dragons will continue to appear, but Dalene has given us some helpful tools to face these and others we might face in our own lives.
Dalene shares stories and thoughts that invite us to draw close, but then she repeatedly leaves us with a call to embrace the necessary change. Like in this example on Forgiveness:
‘And because finding the courage to forgive can change the world. Forgiveness is our most powerful secret weapon for living full and free. Do you dare?’
I did find a lot of it extremely useful and deeply challenging. It is hard to pick a ‘best bit’ to focus a review on, but the section on marriage I found particularly helpful and will need to read again with my wife. Especially this part:
'Life is hard because of dragons and dirt. Maybe that’s why marriage is hard. Because when two become one? You’ve got to beat off your own dragons and another’s. You’ve got two people’s dirt under one roof. But this collision of lives is also what makes marriage such a brilliant idea. Because you’ve got someone to help you face the dragons. Someone to shine a light on your heart and offer goodness and grace of their own.'
It is rare to find a book today as real and rough and honest and truly transformative as ‘Dragons and Dirt.’ My deep desire is that it will be discovered by the tens of thousands of people across the world who will benefit from letting its words pour right through them and give them the hope, strength and tools to not just face another day, but to thrive and dominate it in kingdom ways.
The subtitle is “The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires.” I’ve never set out to change the world.
Dalene’s words make me realize that we’re called to do though. Maybe we do by being a wife, mom, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, neighbor, housekeeper, writer, lawyer, realtor, fashion designer, farmer, banker, chef … or any other endless combination of roles. Maybe we do it in one role for one season before God calls us to something else. Regardless, we can change the world, starting in our own souls, spilling over into our homes and offices and neighborhoods and churches and social media channels.
Of course we all have dragons – things like change, especially the unpredictable, unanticipated kind; desires for pleasures, prestige and possessions, and the distorted believe we need those things; and all sorts of misconceptions. We chase all sorts of things and people and places that aren’t grounded in truth.
To be free, Dalene reminds us we have to declutter our hearts, really forgive, stop comparing, give thanks, be brave one decision at a time, and rid our lives of pride. Like she writes in the book, “Comparison forgets that, as someone has said, the Kingdom is a co-op, not a competition." This book made me think and encouraged me where I am. It’s packed with stories and truth that are written beautifully. And it reminded me whose I am and that where he has me matters – and behaving as if I really believe that could change the world.
Dalene writes real, beautiful and clear. Through personal story, symbolism, and scripture, the words on the page come to life. Practical counsel is extended to fellow sojourners as they walk in the dirt and long to make a difference.
Too often I rush through the day, the meal and the bedtime routine so that I can try to change the world by tapping on keys, tickling ivories, or uploading images. When all the while I miss out on the majesty found in the mundane. The small is important work. Baby steps—walked faithfully—pave the way for bigger strides.
The kettle whistles and the tea can wait. I'm lying with my boy because the morning will come soon enough to consign another night to the past, and now, while he still needs me, I'm praying that I'll keep obeying so he'll keep remembering that I'll keep coming back (pg. 139, Dragons and Dirt).
Don't stress out trying to save time, then lose it forever because you've marred the minutes with hurry-up and yelling. Giving people my undivided attention—listening to hearts—is never time wasted (pg 113).
Learn to live authentically in a hard world as you follow God's path for you.
I highly recommend this book.