I Could Use A Nap And A Million Dollars: Biblical Alternatives To Stressed-Out Living, by Jessie Clemence
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Blog Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
In reading this book I had a familiar problem that I have often documented before, in that the book was written by a woman, largely about women, and for women. Unlike some books where this problem is the case , the author outright states that she knows little about the way that men deal with stress aside from hitting things and so she does not aim this book at them, and at points in this she expresses surprise that men would be reading this book at all. It is likely that the author wished to show herself an expert on an aspect of stress, namely how it deals with her, rather than take the time to learn if there are any different approaches that would be beneficial in writing to and about men, although it is lamentable that she chose to set herself up as a partial expert rather than to seek to understand men. This world would have a lot fewer books, and be the better for it, if authors refused to write about a subject unless they could do it justice and do their audience justice.
This book is a set of short chapters that take up about 200 pages divided into three parts. The first part of the book looks at the stresses relating to adulthood, such as housework, finances, health, aging, romance, responsibilities, change, and politics. The second part of the book looks at the stress that other people cause us, like arguing and conflict, chaos and noise, misunderstanding, drama, competition, entitlement, family dynamics, and possessions. The third part of the book looks at the stress we cause ourselves through procrastination, micromanagement, perfectionism, mistakes, overscheduling, sin, discontentment, material possessions, personal plans, and pride. Each chapter ends with questions that make the subject matter personal, a focus on scripture, and a personal prayer. Overall, the author blends a great deal of humor along with an attempt at scriptural points for most of the chapters, although she claims that clutter was not an issue in the ancient world so she attempts no scriptural discussion of this particular point, leaving it to the reader to determine to what extent our possessions are owning us rather than the other way around.
There is a great deal to enjoy about this book. The author is witty and humorous and tells a lot of funny stories about herself. She also appears to be at least generally familiar with the Bible as it relates to issues of stress and anxiety and trusting in God even though it is difficult for us to do so. It is hard, though, not to see this book as a bit of a wasted opportunity. As is often the case in books, this author wants to portray herself both as an expert in the application of scripture as well as someone who struggles as well, and when this tension is combined with the author’s seeming ignorance about how men deal with stress, the author comes off not only as more clueless than is desirable for a would-be expert guide to spiritual matters but also as someone who should be more focused on learning than sharing her supposed expertise with others. This is an author whose flaws and shortcomings are worthy of reflection and repentance, but the author seems to treat it as one big joke. Unfortunately, this lack of seriousness makes this book less effective than it could have been had the author been more focused on understanding than presenting herself as a nearly blind guide to the blind.
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