If you’ve been around Mommynificent for long, you’ll know I’m a fiction person, and I don’t read or review a lot of non-fiction. But when I received an invitation from LitFuse Publicity Group to read and review an ARC of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection, I felt a nudge in my spirit that I needed to do it so I accepted, and I am so glad I did.
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About the Book
Author: Jared Mellinger
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Publisher: New Growth Press
Print Length: 192 pages
Summary from the author: 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.
This book is very readable – full of stories, wit, and humor – and it is also very powerful! I hesitate to use the term “life-changing” flippantly, but if I apply what I read in this book, it will be nothing short of that.
I have always struggled against the pull of the dangerous vortex of self-analysis, but people I’ve opened up to about this struggle have never been able to grasp the seriousness of what I experience. Some laugh it off as my personality, others smile and tell me to just stop thinking about it, but most just look at me blankly.
Opening this book was like a breath of fresh air! I was hooked from the introduction:
“Do you ever think about yourself in ways that leave you weary and exhausted? Welcome to the club. My name is Jared Mellinger, and I have been overdosing on introspection for as long as I can remember. The goal of this book is to show how the gospel rescues us from fruitful self-examination, false guilt, discouragement, and inaccurate thoughts of ourselves.”
Finally someone understood. And he not only understood, but he didn’t doom me to staying this way because it’s “how I’m wired” or assume I could just turn it off like a simple light switch.
If you’ve ever suffered from over-analyzing your actions and motives or if you sense someone you love might struggle with this, I highly recommend you read this book! It will help you begin to understand why your or your loved one’s mind works this way and how much of it is rooted in sinful selfishness. The author is kind in his explanations as a fellow-sufferer though; I never felt judged or condemned but rather diagnosed by someone who had found some remedies and wanted to share them. My very favorite quote from this book was this:
“Whenever we talk about sin as pastors, parents, or friends, we should do so ultimately as a means of stunning people with unmerited grace.”
I felt the author fabulously accomplished his purpose of showing me the sin that has been sending me into the vortex of introspection and immediately pointing me toward the stunning gospel of grace.
My Favorite Quotes
I highlighted so much of this book, it’s actually ridiculous! There are literally entire pages in my Kindle version that are just one highlight after another. Here are a few of my favorites (and yes, this is only a few of them!) in addition to the two I shared above. I made a few of them into pinnable images so you can share them if any of them touch you like they have me!
“The reason we are so preoccupied with ourselves…is because we are not sufficiently occupied with Christ.”
“The antidote to excessive introspection is not to completely forget myself, but to look more to the Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to thinking rightly — and less often — about myself.”
“The irony of identity is that a clear view of yourself comes only as you learn to look away from yourself.”
“Fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore will never be found through introspection.”
“The reason we look inward is so we know what to look to Christ for. It is not much use if we are experts in identifying sin, only to be novices at applying grace.”
“Introspection is a lousy savior.”
“Don’t beat yourself up because you are strongly tempted. When you resist temptation, God is pleased, and you are not guilty.”
“Discouragement and condemnation thrive on generalities and inaction. Spirit-empowered obedience chokes discouragement and proves our repentance.”
“Seeing the good that God is doing in us and through us is an overlooked aspect of the Christian life. By his grace Christ is powerfully changing us and working through us. His gifts and graces adorn the lives of each of his children. That includes you. But too often, our view of ourselves excludes the good.”
“For every look to ourselves, take ten looks to Christ. And an important part of that one look to yourself is identifying the ways that your life is pleasing to God. We overlook that our Father is truly pleased with us when we obey.”
“As Christians, we walk in faith, obedience, and love for Christ. Therefore, our lives are fundamentally pleasing to God. Our Father does not intend for his children to go through life feeling like spiritual losers any more than a parent wants his or her kids to feel like losers….Treasure the tiniest evidences of the Spirit’s work in you.”
“We know what it is to feel like we are trapped in ourselves, unable to escape. We know the burden of introspection. But that is not all we know. Christians know that hope has a name. He is Jesus, and in his name is freedom for our souls.”
About the Author
Jared Mellinger joined the Covenant Fellowship Church pastoral team in 2006, upon graduating from Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Churches. He became senior pastor in 2008. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection. He resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.