Book Review: Unburdened

Christian Book Review: UnburdenedUnburdened: The Secret to Letting God Carry the Things That Weigh You Down by Chris Tiegreen

Tyndale House Publishers has graciously provided me with a review copy of this book.

If I were to use one word for this book, it would be balanced. Back to that later.

Right off the bat I have to say I don’t like the word Secret in the title. Doesn’t it say somewhere that there is nothing new under the sun? Maybe we’re above the sun on this matter. I thought we were done with books that say secret or cure or free from whatever. I rather doubt it was the author’s idea to put that in there.

Another small complaint is that Scripture references, of which there are a lot fortunately, are end noted–shown in the back of the book. I would think if not showing the reference in parenthesis at least they could be shown at the bottom of the page. I’ll be glad to look up the Scripture but having to look it up in the back of the book first makes for two “lookings up”.

This book was timely for me. I read it after I had gotten back surgery–a lumbar double fusion. My faith was being tested at the time and I was worrying about everything. Because of this book I made a commitment to worry less, with God’s help and direction of course. Because of the surgery, I read the book and am now reviewing it later than many other people so I will try to cover things that others may not have yet.

The book is balanced because just when I felt he was cheerleading about not worrying on our own, he wrote about how important it is to do it with God’s help. When I thought he may be writing about the power of positive thinking, he would write about how we need to not just stop worrying, but replace our thoughts with Biblical ones.

He balances our responsibilities with God’s, explaining both well from a Scriptural perspective in alternate chapters, including some anecdotes from his own life.

We can’t shed all of our responsibilities and obligations. We have decisions to make, tasks to perform, things to learn, bills to pay, and people to care for. We don’t live in a vacuum.

We can, however, cast all our cares on the Lord. That’s a promise–or, rather, a command. It’s an act of rolling our worries off our shoulders and onto his, fully expecting him to take responsibility for dealing with them appropriately. We absolve ourselves of the responsibility for determining the outcome and handle only the aspects of those burdens that he tells us to handle.

Most of us have read that sort of thing many many times but within the context of the book it’s good to review it again.

What and how God tells us something can be a sticky issue in other parts of the book. I won’t go into that here because it depends on your theology and view of what and how God speaks. Just be aware of those things when reading the book.

One portion of the book I disagree with is that, “Those who see themselves as adopted children of God in whom he absolutely delight find themselves growing in purity in ways that a person focused on his utter need for mercy never does.” The first part of that statement is certainly true. But Biblically we are to constantly recognize and confess our sin and grow in appreciation of his mercy. I will say that he’s addressing people who focus too much on their sin and not enough on being redeemed children of God, but I think he goes too far here. He gives no Scripture in this section other than being dead to sin.

The second to the last chapter, titled Praise, comes awfully close to the “power of positive thinking” type of psychology. In reading it a second time, I can see where he comes so close to that type of mindset, but then comes out of it by bringing the spiritual dimension back into it. I would read that carefully, but with an open mind.

Here are a few more quotes that might give you an idea of what the book is like.

God is deeply concerned for your body, and he does promise to heal us, but he is infinitely more invested in your heart. That’s where his Spirit thrives and does amazing things in your life.

We can never experience any kind of loss that he does not have some kind of provision for.

The fallacy of mistrust is that it doesn’t recognize God for who he is.

We don’t have to figure out the root cause of all our wounds and issues in order to deal with them.

But that’s the goal: deep-down trust that can count on his agenda to be at least as good as or better than our own. Then we can relinquish ours and rest in his.

I recommend this book. It’s rather basic and most of us have read much of what’s written (and I didn’t find a secret) but it’s written in a way that most everyone could benefit from. Knowledge of the Bible is necessary, but there is no deep theological or philosophical jargon that would leave anyone confused. As mentioned earlier, because of reading this book I made a commitment to worry less. That’s very valuable even if I disagree with some of it. On the whole I think it’s a solid book that will help anyone who needs to work on this matter.

Buy it at:

Paperback: 240 page
Publisher: SaltRiver
Published: June 7, 2010

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