by Sharon Jaynes
If I were a betting woman, I’d wager that every woman reading this review has at one time or another told herself something that isn’t true. I’m guilty: earlier today I fumed to myself, “I am such an idiot!” On a more spiritual note, the other day I said to myself, “God is so frustrated with me over that sin.” Speaking lies to oneself is a destructive habit that does not honor God. In “I’m Not Good Enough”…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves, Sharon Jaynes, though she focuses solely on destructive lies that women tell themselves, teaches women how to replace lies with the truth of God’s word.
“I’m Not Good Enough”… is organized into two parts. In part one, “The Battle for the Mind,” Jaynes lays her foundation by explaining how to use God’s word to recognize the enemy’s lies, how to replace the lies with the truth of God’s word, and how to train one’s mind to meditate on and memorize scripture. She encourages women to recognize the lie, reject the lie, and replace the lie with truth. In part 2, “The Lies Women Tell Themselves,” Jaynes effectively uses stories and anecdotes as she offers compassionate and biblical rebuttals for eleven lies women tell themselves.
Chapter 6: I’m Not Good Enough
Chapter 7: I’m Worthless
Chapter 8: I’m a Failure
Chapter 9: I Can’t Forgive Myself
Chapter 10: I Can’t Forgive the Person Who Hurt Me
Chapter 11: I Would Be Happy If _______
Chapter 12: I Can’t Help Myself
Chapter 13: My Life Is Hopeless
Chapter 14: God Doesn’t Love Me
Chapter 15: God Is Punishing Me
Chapter 16: I’m Not Good Enough to Be a Christian
The Not So Good
Though she touches on the work of Christ and the effects of the gospel throughout the book, the final chapter presents a clearer presentation. My only problem comes after her presentation. She puts emphasis on making a decision. As in, “If you can’t remember a time when you accepted Jesus…” Rather than emphasizing a changed life, she offers a written prayer, which I think is problematic because it carries with it the danger of giving someone a false assurance of salvation. Furthermore, since this book is written primarily to Christians, I think she assumes a commitment to a local church and so doesn’t emphasize the importance of church fellowship for spiritual growth. She also uses spiritual cliches from time to time, the worst being “deciding to get on the train.”
Overall, Jaynes is spot on regarding how we go about using God’s word in the process of renewing our minds. Jaynes does not attribute every negative thought to the devil; she probably wouldn’t attempt to evaluate the origin of every thought. Rather, she emphasizes the steps involving scripture meditation and memorization. She writes specifically of how the gospel makes a real and tangible difference in our thoughts and actions. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Jaynes didn’t propagate the popular teaching that says in order to move on in our lives we have to forgive ourselves. Rather than advocating self-forgiveness she encourages women to believe that God forgives those who follow Jesus. And when approaching the topic of forgiving others, Jaynes did emphasize that it is for our own mental and emotional health that we forgive, but she coupled it with faith in God’s promise to have his vengeance in the way that He sees fit.
The appendices includes a quick reference of lies and scriptures and a Bible study guide. The study guide is more like a Bible study than a chapter-by-chapter supplement to the book. In fact, the study guide does not directly correspond to the book at all. It is designed to help the reader dig deeper in the scriptures and put into practice what Jaynes has written in the book.
Based on the title, I expected to spend a couple of hours rolling my eyes. Instead, I found more to like than dislike in this book.