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The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes Paperback – July 15, 2003
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About the Author
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McGee identifies four specific mindsets that keep people from knowing they are valuable to God, to themselves, and to other people: The Performance Trap deals with feeling a need to meet "certain standards" to experience fulfillment; Approval Addition tells us we need the approval of others "to feel good about" ourselves (a common reason for doing the "right" thing in my childhood home was "What will the neighbors think?"); The Blame Game refers to looking for "fault" and identifying the person or persons deserving punishment (and that someone could be us); Shame overwhelms through making one feel unable to change (which is a form of hopelessness).
McGee deals with the problems in four individual chapters, all made abundantly clear through the use of illustrations or examples. Following or interspersed between them are chapters on God's antidote: for The Performance Trap, justification; for Approval, reconciliation; for the Blame Game, propitiation; and for Shame, regeneration. Put together, they cover God's plan of redemption. After finishing the book I wondered if the organization was a bit forced--after all, we need the fullness of redemption for any one of the problem areas. Yet it was an effective way to break up and maintain interest while looking at abstract theological concepts. My attention did not waver.
Three concluding chapters deal with applying God's Truth. McGee emphasizes the importance of being set free from false beliefs. A chapter on the difference between conviction (revelation of sin that produces true guilt which points to Christ and forgiveness) and condemnation (false guilt that leads to separation from Christ and loss) was priceless. According to McGee, "[God's] conviction of believers is not intended to produce pangs of guilt. Our status and self-worth are secure by the grace of God... Conviction deals with our behavior, not our status before God. Conviction is the Holy Spirit's way of showing the error of our performance in light of God's standard and truth. His motivation is love, protection, and correction."
Each chapter includes an excellent thought-provoking interactive section. In addition, the version of the book I purchased is completed by a rather lengthy workbook to use in conjunction with the text. Although I didn't work through it at the time, I did scan the material and decided it would be a good project down the road, perhaps something to study as part of a small group. One always benefits when reaffirming or strengthening a solid foundation.
They have been helpful for me, my wife, my family, small groups and support groups, as well as many pastoral care situations.
Being able to apply the God's 4 truths vs Satan's 4 major lies in my opinion is critical to a healthy self worth.
The "big 4" are...
1. Performance...Satan says if I do not perform at a certain level I will not have self worth. God says nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us more or less.
2. Acceptance...Satan says that until we are accepted by certain people we we will not have self worth. God's acceptance and love is unconditional. Remember, many people didn't accept Jesus and He was perfect.
3 Blame...Satan says that if we don't perform or are not accepted someone is to blame. i.e. - Parents, teachers, friends, and others.
Ultimately we blame ourselves for our failures, too.
4. Shame...Satan says we are what we are and cannot change. God says that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2)
The Search for Significance is not a fast read and takes time, sometimes years to digest and apply.
It's one of my favorite books. It's been in my "hard copy" library for years. I'm glad to be able to add it to my Kindle at a super value price!
to the critic who says it wasn't practical enough, i think the answer lies in the first couple chapters, where mcgee discusses a standard principle of cognitive therapy: beliefs --> thoughts --> feelings --> actions. the reason why this book isn't "follow these steps/do these things and everything will be fine" is because stuff like that addresses the last part of that stage, the actions. the whole point is changing your belief system, which will lead to changed actions.
as to how to change your beliefs, the first step is realizing what you actually believe and recognizing it needs to be changed, which is what this book does well (if you do the exercises in the workbook--DO THEM!! perhaps that is why the person said there wasn't enough practical, b/c the workbook is pretty practical). going through this book again every 5-10 years also helps (i've led small groups thru this book, which is a good refresher for me). the freedom these truths bring is what i believe christ intended for us to experience everyday!
I highly recommend this book for those working on becoming the best version of themself.
Top international reviews
To really benefit from the book, I would suggest that you go through it with a trusted friend, discussion and 'safe' sharing accelerates inner healing and reinforces the positive outcomes. This is not a 'do it yourself feel good book.' It is a serious study in reality and truth and how to apply it to your life.
This book shows workable antidotes to:
Compulsion to achieve that still leaves you empty
Reliance on others praise and fear of their rejection
Guilt feelings vs real guilt and how to deal with both
Feelings of shame and feeling powerless to change
It is not a 'miracle' book, but many claim that it has revolutionised permanently their daily life and relationships.
This is a revised version and in my opinion has become more potent for it.
It is an easy read, but don't hurry there are real gems that you can miss.
Through practical biblical teaching and illustrated by case studies, author Robert S. McGee aims to teach readers that "'Our true value is based not on our behaviour or the approval of others but on what God's Word says is true of us."' (p. 19)
This is one of the most liberating books I've read in a long time. My copy is filled with sticky notes highlighting key passages. I have the revised and expanded book and workbook in one volume, a 337-page trade paperback. The first half is the teaching, and the second has questions for reflection and/or discussion to complement each chapter.
Robert McGee has extensive background in counselling, and he's quick to clarify that the book's scope doesn't include problems or disorders tied to physiological issues, which require extra help. Many of us, however, will benefit from a prayerful reading and even from taking this journey in company with a trusted friend.