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Pause and regroup

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Survival Guide for the Soul
Ken Shigematsu

Review by Samm Reimer

The best kinds of books make you stop and take immediate action. They cause you to think about who you are, why you do what you do, and where your motivation comes from.

I knew this book was for me after reading the title Survival Guide for the Soul and the tag line, “How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve.”

As an Enneagram type 3 (the Achiever), part of me is programmed to be driven to succeed, so much so that at times it can be at the fault of my soul, my relationships with others, and most importantly my relationship with Christ. Shigematsu’s book was both a breath of fresh air and a deep challenge for my soul.

Ken Shigematsu proposes that we are living with two different kinds of Adam described in Genesis.

We have the Striving Adam who is driven to succeed, to accomplish and to use gifts in a way that glorifies God.

We also have the Soulful Adam who is driven by relationships with others, and deep connection with God.

There is a constant battle within each of us of these two different kinds of Adam. Both are good; balance is necessary. But finding that balance is the real challenge.

Usually, when I see discussion questions at the end of the chapter, I dismiss them and continue reading. However, since I was so invested in the book, I stopped and journalled at the end of each chapter.

The book also proposes different ways to pause (in the middle of a crazy life), seek Christ, and regroup. Again, I’m normally one to skip over the action items, but took the time to try some of them out in my own life.

Looking back on those responses, and the exercising of the spiritual practices, I learned things about myself (both good and ugly) that caused me to change some of my habits and attitudes.

This is a must read for anyone living a schedule-filled pace in 2019. For those of us who compare our lives to others, to those who are constantly in search of our next title, to those who are struggling to find the peace within a crazy day, this book can provide some guidance and nourishment for the soul.

If you’re ready to challenge yourself and dig deep into the “why” of your life, I recommend this as your next read.

This quote sums up my reading/journalling experience beautifully:

“As we are drawn close to God, our desires are also redeemed and enlarged.”

Ken Shigematsu
Samm Reimer
is a member of Southridge Community Church, St. Catharines, Ont. She is a high school French teacher at a local Christian school and an avid sports fan. She is a participant in the 2019 Leaders Collective cohort.

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