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Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands Paperback – October 31, 2017
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“We live in a culture that constantly demands more of women. Young women are not exempt from this pressure. In fact, this is the time—in our teens and twenties—when we’re just beginning to fall prey to the increasing stress of school, social media, smartphones, relationships, work, and busyness. We’re barely out of childhood and already feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed, drowned, and burned out. That’s why we need the joyful refreshment of the gospel of grace. And that’s exactly what Shona and David Murray deliver in Refresh. They write warmly, empathetically, biblically, and practically. I will be applying the wisdom of this book to my own life and eagerly recommending it to the young women I know!”
—Jaquelle Crowe, lead writer and editor in chief, TheRebelution.com; contributor, The Gospel Coalition; author, This Changes Everything
“I have searched high and low for a book that helps me deal with stress-related illness in a God-honoring way. I have stacks of books that either overspiritualize depression and stress-induced illness, or overmedicalize it. I struggle with balance, and I need help. To the rescue comes Refresh, a book that meets you where you are, preaching neither overspiritualized idealism nor worldly fatalism. Read this book and give it to friends. It will change the way you see God’s providence in your emotional suffering and physical weakness, and it will encourage you on a path of self-care that honors the Lord and enables you to serve your family of God for the long haul.”
—Rosaria Butterfield, former professor of English, Syracuse University; author, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
“Shona’s transparency and gentle coaching throughout this book provide the perfect context for the encouragement that Refresh will be to many women who have experienced burnout, or are on the verge of burnout. As a counselor and a woman who has experienced burnout, I appreciated the holistic approach to both the causes of burnout and its treatment. The Murrays fully address both body and soul in their book, which will leave you refreshed, renewed, and ready to lead others alongside streams of living water flowing from the Great Shepherd of our souls.”
—Heather Nelson, biblical counselor; author, Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame
“Burnout and exhaustion are not solely a female issue, but as a woman I can attest to experiencing these very things in recent years. The demands on our time are many and coming from all directions. How will we use our time? How will we find balance? How will we maintain our walk with the Lord in the midst of so much? Shona and David Murray understand these pressures and speak directly to them in this book. Drawing on her own experience of depression and burnout (and experience as a medical doctor), Shona has a winsome and practical approach to the balance and rest we all crave (yet struggle to find). If you are desperate for relief, you will find encouragement in Refresh.”
—Courtney Reissig, author, Glory in the Ordinary and The Accidental Feminist
“Reading Refresh in a bone-weary season of my life was like having a life-giving conversation with a couple of grace-filled friends who have been there themselves and were able to encourage me with practical, biblical wisdom.”
—Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; Bible teacher; host, Revive Our Hearts
About the Author
David Murray (DMin, Reformation International Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and the pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. He is also a counselor, a regular speaker at conferences, and the author of Jesus on Every Page.
Shona Murray is a mother of five children and has homeschooled for fifteen years. She is a medical doctor and worked as a family practitioner in Scotland until she moved to the United States with her husband, David.
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One quick note: This book was actually for women. I was not aware of it when I first requested for my review copy from the publishers and from reading the book I learned that David Murray have earlier in the year published Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture which covered much of the materials in this current work although this current work addressed specific applications towards women. Still as a man who is a husband, a father to my daughters and a brother with sisters I thought this book was helpful to understand and able to minister more to the sisters.
The book consists of ten chapters that the authors called “stations” in the sense of stations in the gym. These ten stations were conveniently alliterated with the letter R: Reality Check, Replay, Rest, Re-Create, Relax, Rethink, Reduce, Refuel, Relate, and Resurrection. Station one begins with an examination of where one is at prior to the book. Here the chapter provides a helpful diagnostic checklists concerning physical, mental, emotional, relational, vocational, moral and spiritual warning signs. After this checklist station one provides a section evaluating the diagnostic data of how wide, how deep and how long has one’s problems have been going on. Station two looks back on one’s life’s changes and is broken down into two parts: Life situation is concerned with what has happened to you and secondly lifestyle which covers what we have a choice about. Among other things this station/chapter gives a good analysis of lifestyle dangers. Station three looks at the subject of sleep. I appreciated the case that the authors argued for the fact that lack of sleep has physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual consequences. For instance the book mentioned a study by University of Loughborough Sleep Research Center which found that women needs twenty more minutes of sleep than men. Station three also provides help for sleep such as knowledge, discipline, routine, media fast, family cooperation, exercise, commitment, faith in God’s promises, etc. Station four looks at the importance of the physical body. Here the medical background of author Shona Murray who was previously a doctor was really helpful. Like station three this station gives informative summary of medical findings. For instance I learned that routinely sitting nine hours a day does terrible things to the body such as increase obesity, diabetes and heart disease while walking two miles a day improves one’s health and reduces the chance of dementia by sixty percent. This station also has practical help and guidelines. Station five is on relaxing and station six is on one’s identity. Station seven is about cutting down on what is not needed by evaluating one’s spiritual, family, vocational, church and social life and seeing what is one’s purpose and plan and “pruning” in light of that. Station eight was titled “Refuel” and I thought this was one of the best chapter in the book with its nuanced discussion of the role of antidepressant medications. This chapter also had a very good discussion about assessing one’s energy fillers and drainers. Station nine is about relationship and five specific relationships are examined: God, husband, children, friends and older women. Finally station eleven is more eschatological with the encouragement of our future with God.
Overall I would recommend this book. I appreciate that this work is biblical and also careful in how the authors handle extrabiblical data while allowing Scripture to still be one’s ultimate authority. It is encouraging, practical and easy to read. Even if you are not a woman this is a book getting for those you love.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Crossway and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
If it was, I wouldn't be reviewing it!
Instead Dr. Murray (Shona) writes practically about how women get into the situations of being overwhelmed, full of anxiety, and depressed despite being Christians. Dr. Murray takes the reader through 10 stations in the "refresh gym" to help get women back on track and living the healthiest and most honoring life possible. Dr Murray talks about things that other books for Christian women completely neglect. She addresses things like sleep, media influences, nutrition, and physical exercise and how they impact a Christian walk. The one that really sticks out in my mind is from the chapter Re-Create in which Murray says,
Your body was bought with the price of Christ's blood. He bought it with the greatest ransom ever paid. Try to think of the most expensive thing you ever bought Was it a car or a house? How much did you protect and maintain it? Now think of how much Christ paid for your body and consider how you are managing this blood bought property. "You are not your own," says Paul. "You were bought at a price". We have a new owner who has paid a huge price for his property. He claims our bodies as his own and calls us to manage them for his glory.
Man! Isn't that convicting? Imagine if every Christian was operating at 100%. If we weren't slowed down by dependency on social media, sugar, or self caused exhaustion. In Refresh, Dr. Murray lays out simple and practical steps to achieve this goal.
I think it is just fabulous.
If I could give a book more than an A+ I would. I might just have to create something higher for those few special books that really touch my heart. Anyways, Refresh would be one of those books. I don't care if you are 13 and trying to navigate middle school or 95 and trying to live the winter of your life honoring God, this book is for you. Basically what I am saying is go out and read this book right now. Put it on the top of your stack of books and make sure you share it with the next woman you meet that seems like she could use a little refreshing.
Most recent customer reviews
The premise of Refresh focuses on evaluating our lives through various lenses such as rest, relaxation, reduction, etc.Read more