FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:
ABOUT THE BOOK
Does your life ever feel like one series of rushed moments after another?
Do you want to feel more present and connected to those you love? Do you want to be able to listen without thinking the whole time of what you’re going to say next? Do you want to feel less distracted, less busy, and more whole? Most of us spend our distracted lives longing to get to the next, better moment and fail to notice the present one. We lack space between one task and the next, one thought and the next, one email and the next. Social media, TV, work deadlines, and family stress steal our enjoyment and engagement in the moment.
Holy Noticing will teach you how to:
- become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and environment
- recognize Christ’s presence in the moment
- reduce your stress by developing the ability to focus on God and people rather than tasks
Many today think mindfulness is dangerous, unchristian, or associated with Eastern religions—and often it is! But Dr. Charles Stone reveals that the art of holy noticing—purposefully paying attention to God as he works in us, our relationships, and our world—is a spiritual discipline Christians have practiced for millennia. Holy Noticing explores the historically Christian and biblical roots of this lifestyle, as well as Dr. Stone’s BREATHe model, which teaches you to be more engaged with Christ in the everyday moments that too often slip right by us.
Discover the lost spiritual discipline of holy noticing today and learn to engage the world like Christ.
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK
The first half of this book had me quite confused. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was talking about, or if I agreed with the author or not. I read each chapter with my skepticism rising, but also trying to keep an open mind so I could write a fair review for the book.
It wasn’t until the second half of the book that what the author was saying began to make sense to me, and I could nod in agreement and see where he was going. Because of that, I feel like my whole perspective of the book is a bit skewed. I wish the book had been set up a little bit differently without so much “introduction” type writing at the beginning. I do see why the author did that though – I think he was trying to avoid Christian’s jumping to conclusions about why he wrote what he did, and write him off as not having Biblical principles.
Essentially the book is teaching how to take time to slow down, be more in touch with the world around us, and therefore better able to focus on what God is doing.
That is something I can get totally on board with, and why I read the book in the first place. The way the author suggests to do that – his BREATHe method (and yes, the last e is lowercase) still has me slightly confused, but goes something like this:
B: Ponder and Yield Your Body
R: Review and Renew your Relationships
E: Notice and Engage your Environment
A: Label and Release Your Afflictive Emotions (Affect)
T: Be Conscious of Current Thoughts
H: Pay Attention to your Spiritual Life (Heart) and the Spirit’s whispers
e: engage the world like Christ
See why I was confused? But when I read through the second half of the book where we spend a chapter focusing on each of the letters, it’s really not that weird. Instead, the author talks about how to spend time praying about each specific thing.
For instance, when you’re on B – your body – what you do is spend three to five minutes each day thanking God for how your body works, His great design, and the various blessings He’s given you in your physical body. As you pray, you also stop to notice if you’re feeling stress, pain, etc… and if you do, then you pray about that as well.
The author mentioned how he often feels stress in his shoulders, so he breathes deeply and prays about whatever is causing the stress. This made sense to me in both physically and spiritually, because I know that I often clench my jaw without even realizing it, which can actually knock my body out of shape. The chiropractor pointed it out to me a while ago and ever since then I’ve made sure to relax my jaw whenever I realize I’m clenching it, and it actually has helped me be less stressed.
This book talks a lot about the science behind certain things – like breathing deeply, paying attention to what we focus on, and what various thought patterns (like anxiety) can do to your body, etc…. Then the author brings it all back to the Bible and shows how these principles are healthy not only from the physical and science standpoint but also spiritually.
As far as putting his steps into practice? Well, I’m still not sure what I think about that. I’ll probably try it someday and that may change my rating of the book, but who knows. 😉 As it is, I will be working at paying more attention to what I dwell on, staying focused in the moment, breathing deeply, and resting in God’s goodness.
This is one of the hardest-for-me to write book reviews, mostly because I feel like I really didn’t fully grasp what the author was saying. If any of y’all have read the book (or do read it) you should totally share your opinions with me.
I’m giving Holy Noticing three and four out of five stars – reserving my final star count until I’ve put the principles into practice and re-evaluate what I think of the book. Moody Publishers was very kind to send me a copy of this book so I could review it.