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Struggled to Find My Rhythm with This One
on November 21, 2016
I'll confess I had a huge struggle with this book. Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller initially caught my eye, because I have a tender place on my soul for the topic of Sabbath rest.
My parents were very careful to set apart the Sabbath day and keep it holy, and in the years that have followed leaving their household, I have spent much time on this issue, figuring out how it works for me and how I want to be intentional to do it. Since getting married, my husband and I have finally found our best Sunday practices, and I feel our bodies and souls are healthier because of our choices to abstain from all work (and as much social activity as possible) and truly rest on Sundays.
I always enjoy reading what others have learned about Sabbath rest, and that's why I wanted to read this book. And for the first half of it, I found the writing to be captivating, but (and I have never said this about a book before) the presentation of the book itself was off-putting to me. It's not a terribly long book - just over 200 pages, actually - but there was so much text on a page, and the font was such that I felt worn out just picking up the book (on rest!!) to read. It baffled me, because I've read hundreds of books and have never struggled with the font, the words on a page, or anything else. It was very strange. And very probable that it's just unique to me, but I still feel I must admit it.
Then, about halfway through the book, I started struggling with the book itself. Shelly is a good writer, and I enjoyed her thoughts (and even underlined a fair number of things I agreed with). But I felt confused, because it seemed like sometimes her writing style was very lyrical and poetic - almost like Ann Voskamp's - and then other times, I felt like I was reading a cross between her journal and her inbox, while she shared conversational stories from her ministry and actual email conversations with people who read her blog.
The stylistic jumping back and forth eventually lost me. I also saw themes pop up throughout the book but never found their full-circle or resolution moments. Maybe they were there, but I was so lost in all my struggles with the book that I just failed to find them. I'm not sure.
I do think she had some great points throughout the book, even in the final chapters, when I felt lost and confused on the whole, and I underlined several things that I think are worth remembering. But the book, both the literal book, and the jumping around in writing style, confused me. I really wish I would have loved it more. I wanted to! But this just wasn't a fit for me.
* Bethany House sent a complimentary copy of this book to me. All opinions are my own. *