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Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection Paperback – April 10, 2017
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"Martin Luther believed man's problem is that he is incurvatus in se-turned in on himself. In Think Again Jared Mellinger tackles one devastating effect of this in an astute, pastorally sensitive, and deeply searching but healing way. Here is analysis, diagnosis and remedy all in one. Plus it's readable. The best books work on us while we are reading them and help effect the very transformation they describe. This is one of them."
Sinclair Ferguson, Author of The Christian Life and Devoted to God
"Think Again is a great little book. It navigates us through the maze of introspection in a biblical, practical, straight-forward manner. Read it for yourself; give it to a friend-for it shows how Christ can set us free from our own thoughts. I believe that for many people this will be a truly liberating book."
Tim Chester, Faculty member of Crosslands; author of over thirty books, including You Can Change
"Think Again is a surprisingly delightful book. Surprising in that such a short book can accomplish such depth in searching the reader's heart, delightful in its flow, humor and encouragement. Jared, quite skillfully, delivers a very helpful resource for the very needed work of introspection. With great wisdom and the tender care of a pastor, Jared shepherds the reader to best see themselves only in view of Christ."
Brian Davis, Pastor of Risen Christ Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
"Jared Mellinger understands that unless we learn how to take every thought captive, we can easily become captive ourselves to thoughts that control our emotions and ultimately, our lives. Think Again will help you find freedom as you learn how to guard your heart as you renew your mind."
Bob Lepine, Cohost of FamilyLife Today
"You're introspective. Everyone is. But if you're honest, you're more than introspective; you're self-absorbed. You think about yourself a ridiculous amount. Everyone does. But there is escape from suffocating introspection and healing of the cataract of selfishness in your soul-eye. Let Jared Mellinger help you. He humbly and humorously speaks from experience. Discover, as Chesterton once said, ‘how much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.'"
Jon Bloom, Cofounder of Desiring God; author of Not By Sight and other books
"Jared Mellinger's book, Think Again, is simplyone of the clearest, biblically faithful, most winsome, solidly helpful, and briefest(!) books you'll ever read on the topic of introspection. Jared skillfully avoids the extremes of never thinking about ourselves and always thinking about ourselves, and points us to the only cure for our self-absorbed souls: being overwhelmed by the matchless beauty and glory of Christ. I can't wait to give this to others."
Bob Kauflin, Director of Sovereign Grace Music; elder at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville; author of Worship Matters and True Worshipers
"In an age of narcissism, entitlement, and attention-seeking egos in search of self-esteem, we need more voices pointing us to a vision and story greater than self. For only when we lose ourselves do we find our truest, healthiest, and most life-giving selves in Jesus. Jared has written an excellent book to help us along in this journey."
Scott Sauls, Senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN; author of Jesus Outside the Lines and Befriend
A self-absorbed culture keeps telling us that the solution to our problems is somewhere inside of us. So we keep looking. I talk about me, then I ask you to talk about me. More mirrors, more lanterns, more navel-gazing. Trouble is, these things aren't leading us to freedom and rest, but to self-love or self-hatred. Jared offers us a way out of the vortex of introspection. Without obliterating the self, Think Again takes the reader up into worship and gratitude and out into the joy of service.
Matt Mason, Senior Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, AL
"Introspection is a plague that cripples our souls and clouds the love of our Savior. Think Again addresses our daily temptation to focus our attention inward. Jared not only helps us discern this subtle tendency but also provides the liberating alternative in the Gospel. This book delivers grace."
C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville
"In this rich and thoughtful book, Jared Mellinger shows us that the solution to self-focus is God-intoxication. Think Again lifts the head of the introspective, the one lost in labyrinths of the self, and unveils the sure and certain hope of God. This God has not stayed silent; he has not kept to himself; he has not failed to provide a savior for sinners like us."
Owen Strachan, Author of Risky Gospel and The Colson Way; theology professor, Midwestern Seminary
About the Author
Jared Mellinger is the senior pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where he lives in with his wife Meghan and their six children.
Top customer reviews
Jared helpfully outlines the nature of this introspection, it's growth in emphasis in our culture in recent decades, talks about its benefit and utility, and most helpfully of all, warns of the dark side and potential for ensnarement. Jared compiles some of the "best of" quotes and thoughts from other great thinkers, pastors, and authors (mostly pastors, actually) of the past and present which give us great tools for combating this dark side.
This is a fairly easy read, popular level handling of the topic that will complement a counseling ministry (whether you are the minister, or the one ministered to). I highly recommend this book.
Quick FYI that I was graciously provided a copy of this book for review by Litfuse Publicity in partnership with New Growth Press. Though I was glad to post a positive review after reading and pondering the book. I have declined to post others in the past and once even posted a negative review ;-).
"Evaluating yourself — being mindful of who you are and what you are doing — is necessary and can lead to positive change. But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don’t feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret. The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight. Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger’s short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection. There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we’ll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much.We can seek after and pray for the peace and joy—the sanity—that comes from thinking about ourselves less often. Think Again includes practical instructions for self-examination, fighting false guilt, breaking free from hyper-introspection, and more. Ultimately, Think Again demonstrates that the solution to thinking too much about ourselves is to look to Christ, and it gives readers the tools to begin to turn from the mirror."
I loved that this book was broken up into short chapters that started off with a funny or honest story and then an exposition and application. It was easy to pick up and read one chapter in about 5 or 10 minutes and break the book down into bite size chunks. I have always dealt with the tendency to beat myself up over past mistakes, go over and over things I've done and said in the past, etc. I was very refreshed by this look at freedom from this burden. Jared's main thesis in this book is that we should spend more time looking at Christ and less time looking at ourselves. The true key to breaking free from unhealthy introspection is to focus on Christ so much that it drowns out our petty obsession and focus on self. I highly recommend this book to any Christian dealing with this issue.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in order to provide an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
In real life, however, relying on instant replay is not always a good idea. Some people go to the cameras over and over again, rehashing each scene and second-guessing each decision. Introspection like that can be a harmful practice. Yet who hasn’t taken joy in reliving a precious moment or grown through uncovering a destructive pattern?
Jared Mellinger addresses this thorny topic gracefully in a new book Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection (New Growth Press, 2017). No stranger to negative thinking himself, Mellinger shares what he’s learned through his life and ministry and draws from a host of reliable and helpful sources to cover this subject from almost every angle.
I imagine if I were to find a book on this topic in a typical Christian bookstore, the concept of having positive self-esteem might surface. That or a simple 8 steps to conquer this problem for good. Mellinger doesn’t frame the matter so simply. He gives a big picture and a theological worldview through which to look at introspection, rather than a simple prescription for a happier life. And concerning self-esteem, he resists the urge to give in to the cultural pull to affirm yourself. A sample of some of his takeaways on this point will help:
"Psalm 139:14 does not say, 'I feel good about myself, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' It says, 'I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' The focus is on God. The praise is directed to God, and the idol of self has been displaced." (p. 38)
"Those with high self-image enjoy the praise they receive and think, I am awesome. Those with low self-image often want to receive praise they are not receiving and think, I am worthless. but through the idol-destroying power of the gospel, 'I am awesome' and 'I am worthless” give way to 'Lord, I will praise you.'" (p. 39)
As the above excerpt illustrates, the book is clear and easy to read. The illustrations are poignant and pertinent, and they get your attention: Dobby the house elf even makes an appearance. The author is well read on this topic and acquaints the reader with numerous resources, recommending some books and quoting from classic Christian authors: C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, D.M. Lloyd-Jones, Richard Sibbes, John Calvin, G.K. Chesterton, and many more.
The strategy put forth is not to avoid introspection altogether, but to think less of self and more of Christ. He does call for repentance when sinful motives are found, but he also warns against letting false guilt consume you. We are sinful and fallen, but he reminds us of how often Paul praised God for the evidences of God’s grace in the people he wrote to: we too must learn to see grace “in the mirror” (p. 97).
The book is not a theological treatise, don’t get me wrong. It is incredibly helpful and practical. Mellinger shares realistic scenarios and walks through likely reactions from introverts and others. He often draws from his own experience with introspection and how others helped him.
I can’t help but quote from his concluding chapter. This is really good:
"The Christian life is a life of radical extra-spection. For every look to ourselves, we should be taking ten looks to Christ. And every time we look at ourselves, what we see should lead us back to Christ. Any sin we find should drive us to the work of Christ for us. And any good we find in ourselves should reveal the work of Christ in us and through us. Any weakness we find should lead us to the power of Christ toward us." (p. 155)
I can’t think of a better resource to give to those who struggle with doubts or the tendency to second-guess and over-analyze decisions and motives. This resource is filled with Gospel goodness and solid enough to help those in a variety of situations. It is a book one might want to give away to special people in your life who are tender but perhaps too often weighed down with care.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.