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Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul Paperback – October 4, 2016
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This is an exquisite book. In Humble Roots, Hannah Anderson intends to make us gardeners . . . to plant and tend that rarest of cultivars, humility. Humility orients us rightly toward our bodies, emotions, and intellect. It orients us rightly toward our possessions, desires, and circumstances. It orients us rightly toward the cross. And nurtured carefully in the fertile soil of grace, humility grants us a harvest of true rest. Wistful, nostalgic, and deeply wise. I read it through tears.
Bible teacher and author of Women of the Word and None Like Him
Hannah’s use of the gardening metaphor was so beautiful that I started to long for a rural home where I could can my own green beans or pick blackberries. Humble Roots is a concise invitation (without how-to’s) to put off the pride of accomplishment, self-trust, and works righteousness, and enter into the humility that is not only the door to true Christianity but also the daily life of deep faith.
ELYSE M. FITZPATRICK
Author of Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy Our Deepest Longings
A beautiful, poignant, and wise book. You will see connections between God’s world and His Word that you have never noticed: between tomatoes and impatience, honey and competitiveness, soil and resurrection. And if you’re anything like me, you will find yourself rejoicing.
Teaching Pastor at King’s Church London
Author of The Life We Never Expected and Unbreakable.
Hannah Anderson takes being a locavore even more seriously than farm-to-table restaurants and farmer’s market goers. She takes it to the most local place of all: our own hearts. This is the book I’ve been wanting on the shelves of Christians everywhere.
LORE FERGUSON WILBERT
Writer at Sayable.net, Christianity Today, Revive our Hearts, She Reads Truth, and more
God made us to be close to the ground. So it’s fitting that Hannah Anderson roots her clear and compassionate teaching in stories close to the ground. The result is nourishment for our souls. Anderson replants us in the Father’s provision, wisdom, and care.
Managing Editor, Christianity Today magazine
Author of A Woman’s Place
C. S. Lewis famously wrote that humility is not thinking less of ourselves; rather, it is thinking of ourselves less, and in such a way that frees us to redirect our energies toward God and those He has given us to love. Using one of God’s favorite places and metaphors, the garden, coupled with endearing and sometimes humbling anecdotes from her own life story, Hannah paints a compelling picture of why we should, and ways that we can, pour contempt on our pride. Please read this book. It will renew your perspective, and it could change your life.
Senior Pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN
Author of Jesus Outside the Lines and Befriend
Hannah has written a simple but profound book. Her earthy style of writing accents the deep truths of Scripture in a way that is accessible to those of us who most need to hear this message. I predict this book will become a classic on the subject.
Author of Practical Theology for Women and The Gospel-Centered Woman
Blogger at www.theologyforwomen.org
This is just the kind of book I love: readers are promised a meal—and Humble Roots delivers a feast. With serious biblical reflection and vivid storytelling, Hannah Anderson compels us to seek humility. Rooted in Jesus, we abandon our illusions of control; we embrace our limits; we learn to depend.
JEN POLLOCK MICHEL
Author of Teach Us to Want, Christianity Today’s 2015 Book of the Year
Humble Roots is soulful spirituality at its best—earthy, embodied, and energizing. Andersonbeckons us to reconsider both the rhythms of God’s creation and the frantic pace of our lives. The gospel brings reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth. This includes our God-formed bodies to the land God created for us.
Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY; founder of the Sojourn Network
Author of Faithmapping, PROOF, and Leadership Mosaic
I can think of nothing that might fix what ails this increasingly chaotic, power-hungry world more than a dose of humility and deeper rootedness. Whether you’re a city slicker, a suburban dweller, or a country bumpkin, these true parables—lovely memories of rural life seasoned with sharp insights—will hit you right where you live.
KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR
Author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer Abolitionist
From the Back Cover
Feeling worn thin? Come find rest.
Nestled in the simple rhythms of rural life, taking cues from forsythia, milkweed, and wild blackberries, Hannah Anderson meditates on the pursuit of peace and its natural companion, humility.
Part theology of incarnation, part stroll through fields and forest, Humble Roots reveals how cultivating humility—not scheduling or increased productivity—leads to true peace. By remembering who you are and Who you aren’t, you can discover afresh your need for God and the rest that comes from belonging to Him.
So come. Consider the lilies of the field, and learn humility from Christ Himself.
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The book’s starting point is anxiety, being overwhelmed, feeling “heavy laden.” “For years,” she says, “I’ve heard that the solution to such stress comes from setting up boundaries, finding ways to be more productive, cultivating gratitude, and scheduling ‘me-time.’ For years, I’ve believed that finding rest comes from both simultaneously learning to let go and keeping your act together. For years, I’ve thought that my sense of peace depends entirely on me.” But then she found herself pondering Jesus as he presents himself in Matthew 11:28, a Savior who is gentle and lowly in heart and who offers rest for our souls. Pondering this, she realized that the better antidote for anxiety and being overwhelmed is humility. “The goal of Humble Roots is to understand how pride manifests itself in anxiety and restlessness, and how humility frees us from the cycle of stress, performance, and competition.”
She explores theological truths and does it by considering the natural world. “We’ll explore the theological truths of incarnation, creaturehood, physical embodiment, and human limitation; and we’ll do this by considering the natural world around us, by lifting our eyes to the hills, the fields, and the heavens. But we’ll also consider more practical questions about how humility informs our daily choices—ones that generally take place in less idyllic settings. We’ll see how humility—how knowing ourselves as creatures—also helps us see the extent of our pride in our everyday choices, from how we use social media to how we give and receive compliments. But more than simply point out where we fail, humility also provides a way forward.”
Through eleven chapters she explores humility from its various angles. She looks at failure, rest, humanity, emotions, weakness, death, and more. She looks at the pride that so often fills our hearts and consumes our lives. She shows that humility is “not simply a disposition or set of phrases. Humility is accurately understanding ourselves and our place in the world. Humility is knowing where we came from and who our people are. Humility is understanding what without God we are nothing. Without His care, without His provision, with His love, we would still be dust.”
Let me point out three of the book’s most appealing strengths.
First, Humble Roots is relentlessly biblical. Anderson simply teaches what the Bible teaches about humility. Every chapter goes deep into a text or series of texts and shows how they call us to pursue humility by pursing Christ, to “celebrate the goodness of our physical bodies, to embrace the complexity of our emotions, and to own our unique gifts without guilt or feeling like an imposter.” In other words, she calls us to flourish as human beings made in God’s image.
Second, Humble Roots is well-written. Anderson is a skilled writer and her book is a joy to read. It is a great length in an era in which far too many books are just a little too long and it is beautifully integrated with her own life and experiences. This gives it an enjoyable authenticity and a “rootsy” feel. Each chapter is structured around something she has experienced in the natural world and this serves as a helpful and interesting “hook” to hold the book together.
Third, Humble Roots is practical. It is practical without being trite. Those who read the book will know about humility, to be sure, but they will also have ideas about what humility actually looks like in real life. They will receive wisdom on how to actually be humble.
I read Humble Roots because I had heard so many people praise it. I was delighted to find it is worthy of the recognition and worthy of both time and attention. It is a book I enjoyed thoroughly and recommend heartily.
This question was posed to me years ago by a mentor. The details of the conversation are now foggy, but I can guess at the context. My bent toward the human doing side has been a primary struggle over the years. Excitement about new opportunities and wanting to experience everything has often caused me to overcommit and become stressed out.
Part of the trouble is my inability to correctly estimate the full cost of said opportunities. I see all the good and fun without calculating the time, effort, and energy required. When time is short and commitments are stacked high all around, that’s when I realize I’ve not given enough space for my human being side to flourish. (This is also when my soul goes into emergency power mode and I feel like a zombie.)
I’ve always thought this human doing bent could be blamed on my dreamer personality’s inability to calculate time and effort. But then I read Hannah Anderson’s new book, Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul, in which she proposes this explanation:
"You can see the relationship between pride and stress. Pride convinces us that we are stronger and more capable than we actually are. Pride convinces us that we must do and be more than we are able. And when we try, we find ourselves feeling “thin, sort of stretched . . . like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”11 We begin to fall apart physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the simple reason that we are not existing as we were meant to exist."
When my life gets scraped over too many activities, responsibilities, and opportunities, my peace gets worn thin. Life can be busy sometimes. But overcommitting as a habit is a refusal to embrace my status a creature. It’s a rejection of the reality that, although made in the image of God, I am not the all-powerful One. I cannot do everything, be everything. I have limitations, and I need to learn how to live well within them. Grappling with my creaturehood is key to resting in my status as a human being and finding freedom in Christ to let go of being more than God ever intended me to be.
In Humble Roots, Anderson identifies the beauty of embracing creaturehood in order to find the rest our souls require. Each chapter features rich personal narratives about family or work that tie back to a specific plant or flower. Anderson’s stories, along with fanciful illustrations by Michelle Berg Radford, lead readers to consider the gift that humility is for God’s people. Humility is how we learn to live within our limits, which then maximizes the gifts God has entrusted to us.
And this is why I believe Humble Roots is a must-read for every creature—man or woman, young or old. This is one of those books you can’t put down but also want to savor—my copy is completely marked up and I’ve referred back to it often since reading it in October. It would be perfect for a discussion group, book club, small group study, or personal devotional.
This entire book gave me rest for my soul and yet provided challenges regarding the way I think about some factors in my life! It was a refreshing and easy read with depth and so much heart! The author kept me interested through to the end, and I left feeling so full of practical applications for pursuing true peace.