Katie Bennett . Heavenly Minded Mom: A 90-Day Journey to Embrace What Matters Most . Abingdon Press 2018.
Reviewed by Etta Dale Hornsteiner
We have gotten so caught up in life and caught up in all the wrong things. We have become so distracted by life and by all the wrong stuff. We’re worked up, easily angered, fettered, overly sensitive for all the wrong reasons. Bennett, in this charming 90-day devotional book, takes us on a journey to remind us what really matters to our existence. And I use the word existence rather than life because what really matters is even bigger than the life we think we know. With simplicity and succinctness, Bennett touches on almost every aspect of our lifestyle: people pleasing, busyness, pain-free life, the American Dream, financial security, nationalism, happiness, family, just to name a few. The theme of Bennett’s devotional is that an eternity perspective keeps us focused on what really matters so that we can enjoy life in its fullness.
Why is this eternal perspective important?
Of course, an eternity focus may seem antithetical to life. But such a focus prevents us from becoming disillusioned, anxious, and jaded by everyday life. Cultivating the eternal perspective helps us to remain free of the issues of life that can suffocate our souls. Bennett calls this “freedom from so many fetters”. This perspective also releases us of “false meaning and ill-founded hope,” she adds.
A look inside the book
This book is easy to read as a devotional or as part of a devotional. The book has a way of focusing the reader. That’s why I think it works well as a morning read, as we prepare for the day. I also think it is an excellent read just before bedtime to remind us at the end of the day of what is truly important. The book is, undoubtedly, a constant mental adjuster. It’s small—little bigger than a pocket book—and this makes it an easy traveling companion.
A 90 Day Journey is divided into three sections. The first section, which takes us through the first 30 days, is about the things our hearts tend to get bogged down in. My favorite chapter in this section is “The Idol of People-Pleasing”: “A controlling desire for the approval of others is like a heavy weight tied onto our leg,” writes Bennett. “People-pleasing is not a good thing, because it leads us to feel we must have the approval of others to be okay,” Bennett continues.
The second section teaches us how to think and cultivate this eternal perspective. The perspective calls for a change in thinking; so, I really appreciated the journal questions at the end of each chapter in this section. The questions are stimulating and thought-provoking. If we haven’t encountered these discoveries already, they wake us up to what is reality. My favorite chapter in this section is “The Lost Art of Fearing God”: “I wonder,” Bennett prods, “have we given up on reading the whole Bible—on reading it honestly? The truth is, God’s love and grace must be understood in the context of His holiness and justice. One gives the other its power and meaning, and both aspects of God are equally true and important.”
The third and final section is about things that will last. This section is intended to restore meaning to all the things in our life. Once stripped of its falsehoods, the real meaning of everything in our life is seen in the context of Christ. It’s the realization that to gain means giving it all up. Quite naturally, my favorite chapter in this section is “Our Bodies, a Temple.” Oh, this is a perspective I have been teaching in my health and wellness Bible study and praying for so many to get. “What is the purpose of this flesh and blood, muscle and bone, eyes and smile with which you’ve been adorned?” Bennett inquires. She acknowledges that “there are many answers, but a good summary is “for the glory of God.”
Evaluation of the book
For some of us, Bennett’s book, Heavenly Minded Mom: A 90 Day Journey to Embrace What Matters Most, might be a bit overzealous or too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. But I disagree. If you take the time to read this devotional each day, it would cultivate an eternal perspective, which will contribute to a peace of mind as the divine reality is brought into existence.
Finally, I know the book seems to be addressed to mothers but ignore the title. If there was one thing I would change about the book, it would be the main title, which seems to downplay the bigness of its message. It is time to cultivate the eternal perspective; therefore, it should be read by anyone who wants to live fully, beyond this present reality.