Before 10am there are already a list of things telling me I’m not enough. I am behind on laundry, I did not meet a work deadline and I choose to eat a donut rather than avocado toast for breakfast. To turn my insufficiencies around, I try harder. I people please. I work longer hours. I tell others I don’t need their help. I am a one-woman show. But, what if I didn’t need to live that way? What if God wanted me to slow down? What if I believed He was enough?
Author and IF:Gathering founder, Jennie Allen, wrestles with those same questions in her latest book, Nothing to Prove. Allen challenges us to reconsider a life of striving for a life lived in God’s fullness:
“No more performing. No more pretending. No more proving ourselves… I am realizing it’s not my curse that I believe I am not enough; it’s my sin that I keep trying to be.”
Allen experienced fast success as her dream of hosting a conference turned into a world-wide broadcast reaching thousands of women (and when I say thousands, I mean hundreds of thousands) in just a few short years. It would seem that Allen’s life was perfect, effortless, and #blessed.
Yet, last year, the pillar that was Jennie Allen revealed its cracks. I sat in the audience of IF:Gathering, excited to hear from Allen in person. As she walked onto the stage something was different. With sunken shoulders, she confessed her burden of not feeling enough. The atmosphere of the theater shifted. Women began to sense that this lifestyle of striving clearly was not working. Perhaps, we did not need to have it all together…because God already did.
This book comes at a crucial time in our culture where busy is celebrated and striving for our goals at all costs is norm. I sensed Allen’s weariness and felt the same. I had been tired and burnt out. I had neglected precious time with my family to meet the demands of making a name for myself. My culture tells me that I have to keep “hustling” and “girlbossing” my way to success, and if I stop for just a moment I might get left behind.
There’s no freedom in this way of life.
There’s no rest.
There’s no room for God.
Instead, Allen suggests we trust God’s abundance and provision. “Because God is enough and has enough, we can rest.” Excuse me? Rest? Is that even allowed? Nothing to Prove, was the catalyst for a new found freedom: I’m no longer enslaved to my insufficiencies because God is sufficient for me.
Allen provides “Experience Guides” at the end of her chapters that help you process what you are learning on your own and with your community. These “Guides” help you create action steps towards living out the truths God wants for you.
This book gets 5/5 praise hands. Nothing to Prove is perfect for a small group with its relevant topic and its built-in discussion questions. It tears down your false constructs and builds you back up with God’s good news.