What Keeps You Up At Night?: How To Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams, by Pete Wilson
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
As someone whose mind never seems to rest and who is a chronic insomniac, this is the sort of book that was written for someone like myself. And yet there is nothing particularly surprising about this book. It is not as if the author has very much that is new to say, for the essentials of this book are very straightforward: overcoming fear and developing faith and courage require trust in God and a lot of practice. The lack of novelty is not a bad thing at all–the author mixes personal stories along with a large amount of accurate paraphrases of biblical passages and insightful examples from history and literature to make his point, and it is well done, entertaining, and immensely encouraging. There is little more to ask for in a book about such an obviously difficult struggle as living a life of overcoming fear than the author does. A solid and heartfelt job of presenting fundamentals is far better than superficial novelty, any day of the week.
In terms of its organization, each chapter of this book is about 20 pages or so, a pretty standard length, and it straightforwardly looks at such issues as impatience, coincidence, truly letting God be in control of one’s destiny, trust, fear, conflict, adventure, encouragement, difficulty, and so on. Even though the book’s cover features a lot of glitz, looking alarmingly like the last birthday card I purchased (which featured a slightly off-color joke about attractive sheep), but at its heart this is a book that seeks to remind its reader about what it takes to walk along with God. It is not a book that strays into theologically murky waters or debates doctrine, but rather focuses on a clear area of importance in practice that is basically without serious dispute–our need to trust God and develop faith in Him. This book goes about that task with considerable humor and insight, but it remains a straightforward task well-suited to a book like this.
One aspect of this book that pleases me as a reader is that it is filled with explanatory headers, each chapter reviews its main points, and there are thoughtful questions at the end of every chapter for reflection. This is not a novel technique, but it is one that pleases me. It is the little details that make a book great, especially a book which seeks to encourage change in behavior. By keeping points simple, by making sure one’s organization and train of thought is clear and marked with plenty of reminders and signposts, it is easier to examine what is necessary to go about doing something worthwhile, even if it merely means feeling a bit less anxious as one waits for God to reveal a solution to a situation that is being set up obviously for one. If such encouragement is not new, at least it is welcome, and that is enough to appreciate without demanding a difficult task. After all, it is hard to surprise someone who reads as often as I do, but that does not make a bit of familiar ground any less welcome. This is a book that should please those looking for encouragement to rest, enjoy God’s Sabbath, and build a little bit of trust and faith, to work on it over time and help it grow for times when a great deal of moral courage will be necessary.