by Jo Acharya
Competition! See end of review
Fifty-two short devotions focussing on self care and wellbeing. Each study has an attractive picture with a Bible snippet, linked Bible passage and short reflection, plus three simple questions to prompt your thinking.
The book has a modern, ‘open’ feel with fill-in charts for your thoughts and self-reflection and a plenty of decorative pages and spaces for notes.
There are thirteen topics, called things like ‘Belong’, ‘Become’, and ‘Conquer’, with four short studies in each. Jo recommends one study per week, either all in one session or splitting a study over seven days. I’m not sure there’s enough material for this, so if you want daily devotions I’d suggest doing one topic – four studies – over a week rather than stretch one study to fit. (That also leaves space for missed days without having to feel guilty. We all do it!)
At the end of each topic, there is another self-review sheet and a selection of additional resources including Bible passages linked with the four studies. It’s easy to miss these when you are doing the studies, so make sure you flick ahead to the end of the topic to find all the material.
This book is aimed at those new to the faith, or perhaps just seeking, and includes helpful instructions on how to use Bible references. With that audience in mind, it might have been useful to have the Bible passages in full, as I might tempted to just read the snippet and not dig out my Bible for the full passage.
With an emphasis on helping us to develop healthy habits that honour the body and mind that God has created, these studies are reflective rather than didactic, and better suited to private devotions, not weekly Bible study groups. You can do the studies in any order, choosing the ones that suit your situation at the time. Here are the topics (four studies in each):
- Belong – growing in healthy community
- Rest – living within our limits
- Nourish – looking after our bodies
- Celebrate – valuing all of life as worship
- Feel – responding to our emotions
- Dwell – managing our thoughts
- Receive – understanding grace
- Become – stepping into our true identity
- Know – enjoying friendship with God
- Follow – living a faithful Christian life
- Struggle – relating to God in suffering
- Conquer – fighting the spiritual battle
- Hope – looking forward to eternity
This would make an attractive gift book (or a treat for yourself) and gives you permission to curl up in God’s loving care. The studies are undemanding and comforting, and the reflections mirror contemporary wellbeing advice for body, mind and spirit.
ISBN: 978-1915046024, 304pp, 2022, Malcolm Down Publishing Ltd
From the Blurb
Refresh is a companion for people on their Christian journey.
It is a flexible way to fit time with God into a busy life, and designed to help find space to slow down and reflect. The devotionals are short and accessible, designed to meet people whatever stage of life they find themselves at. Refresh helps people discover that God has a lot to say about how to live a healthy life especially for people struggling with their physical or mental health. The teaching is sensitive to different life circumstances and challenges, and the flexible format provides an easy, low-energy way to engage with God.
Each topic encourages people to think about a different area of life. The questions and weekly reflections help work towards positive changes, where extra support might be needed.
About The Author
Jo Acharya is a writer and music therapist. Her first book, ‘Refresh: a wellness devotional for the whole Christian life’ is available from all good bookshops. You can read more of Jo’s writing and buy signed copies of ‘Refresh’ at valleyofsprings.com.
I have one free, signed (by Jo, not me) copy of Refresh to give away. To enter, simply send an email to me and tell me what kind of day Jo’s book is like (hint, it’s in the title).
Send your entry to fay ‘at’ fayrowland ‘dot’ co ‘dot’ uk
Some books are sent to me as review copies; nevertheless, all opinions are my own.
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