Why I picked up this book:
Jo Saxton is the real deal! I first encountered her online and have watched her lead and champion the voices and leadership of women and people of color long before I read a book of hers (though I had intended to for quite some time). “The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For” is her latest addition (released today). Yay! I’m glad to support anyone who is so intentional about uplifting and making a way for others.
Who Should Read The Dream of You:
Jo is a leader who is intentional about speaking God’s truth into the hearts of God’s people, and especially to women. Throughout this book, Jo shares her personal story and struggles with identity, and I believe it will encourage any woman who is struggling to find herself (the real you) and her purpose.
What’s in Store for You:
This is an honest contribution to a much-needed conversation about a woman’s worth and identity. Jo is direct about her own struggles and insecurities. She brings the truth of God’s Word to light through her life story in a very practical and refreshing way.
She invites readers to look at themselves and get honest about where they’ve been, where they’re going, and how (by the grace of God), they will get there. She starts at the beginning:
What was the dream you have for yourself from the very beginning? Before life interrupted, before anyone told you who you were allowed to be?
Then she takes the readers on a journey of exploration. One of the biggest lies we believe in this life is that we have to do something in order to be something.
When teaching on the doctrine of justification this morning, I was reminding the women in my study of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Because of what Jesus has done, the actions he has taken, we are justified and brought into right relationship with God, the Father.
When we understand that truth, we are released from the burdens, guilt, and shame of false hopes and high expectations, insecurities, and the thoughts of not being good enough. Understanding this truth helps us affirm our identity in Christ, makes restoration of our human relationships possible, and gives us a renewed hope and energy for how to move forward with right or just actions. We can live our best, most authentic, and joyous life, and we can share that life with others. Jo reminds us: “When Jesus sends us out, a key place where He sends us is to the life we already have.” Affirming our identity changes our perspective.
My personal take-aways?
I love how Jo begins each chapter with a short letter to the reader. The notes are intimate and you feel like she is speaking and writing to you and no one else. It’s personal. My favorite—the one that spoke to me directly, and the page I now have folded in half—is at the beginning of Chapter 3 titled, “The Talk”:
You’re driven. You’re ambitious always an overachiever though you don’t personally feel that you are…No one knows how you do it all. In truth you don’t know either, this is just your normal. You do it because you do.
I also love the overall premise of the book, and find it particularly helpful for mentoring and discipling people. When I was leading the discipleship ministry at my church, I outlined the three-step and progressive mentoring framework of:
- Knowing and Loving God
- Affirming our identity in Christ Jesus
- Loving our Neighbors
I always found it most difficult to select a resource for the second pillar: affirming your identity in Christ Jesus. There just wasn’t a lot of material from which to choose, and the ones that were available did not always lead with the truth of God’s Word. Jo’s book is a welcomed addition to my mentoring resource library, and one that I will highly recommend to others.
Besides the personal inspiration and adding a mentoring resource to my library, I enjoyed getting to know Jo better. One of my favorite verses in college was Romans 8:28 – “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).” Verse 9 continues, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” It is not hard to see how God has used the vast experiences of Jo’s life to affirm her identity in him, and to prepare her for the kingdom work he has assigned to her hands. I’m encouraged by her life’s story and faithfulness.
“If you’re going to embrace your God-given identity, reclaim your voice, and live out your purpose, it will be a fight. You’ll need to learn how to name, confront, and slay the giants that stand in the way of the life you were made for.” Jo Saxton
“Jesus used the image of the yoke to invite the people into the kind of close relationship with Him where He is the experienced leader, pulling the weight, carrying the burden, and tethered to us. Ultimately, He carries the burdens of all our sin, guilt, shame, and brokenness all the way to the Cross.” Jo Saxton
“Healed people can heal people. Freed people can free people. Changed people can play their part in seeing lives and communities changed.” Jo Saxton
Book of the Week: #TheDreamOfYou – “While the work of redemption is incredibly liberating, it’s also incredibly costly.” @josaxton
Book of the Week: #TheDreamOfYou – “Who are you apart from the wealth you have earned, your flocks, and your possessions?” @josaxton
Book of the Week: #TheDreamOfYou – “Each of us has a calling, and each of us runs into forces that try to limit us and silence our voice.” @josaxton
Book of the Week: #TheDreamOfYou – “Survival is not the same as being whole.” @josaxton
Next Up on this Topic:
“More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World” by Jo Saxton
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2018