Title: Becoming a Woman of Excellence
Author: Cynthia Heald
Publisher: NavPress (Tyndale Publishers)
# Pages: 176
Rating: 5 out of 5
Why I Chose It:
In a world where success and achievement are driven by Pinterest perfection and 140 character blurbs, it can be difficult to feel confident as a woman. The roles and responsibilities quickly become overwhelming, even exhausting. Becoming a Woman of Excellence looks past the mirage society presents to us and explores the biblical concept of excellence. I chose this book with hopes of strengthening the characteristics that will help me better serve God and those in the world around me, rather than focusing on the many shortcomings I notice when looking at myself through the lens of social media.
Society beckons us to succeed―to achieve excellence in our appearance, our earning power, our family life. God Himself also beckons us to be women of excellence. But what exactly is He asking? If you’re hungry for God’s perspective on success in a society that bombards you with conflicting demands, feed on the truths of God’s Word that you’ll discover in these pages. You will not only learn to “approve the things that are excellent” but will also experience the joy of becoming God’s woman of excellence. This bestselling topical Bible study has helped over one million women over the past 30 years, and is newly revised and updated so today’s women can discover who God designed them to be in this day and age. Written by Navigator author and Bible teacher Cynthia Heald, the 11 sessions in this Bible study explore what your identity in Christ is and how you can best serve Him.
Working through this book has been a slow process for me, but only because quiet time is a rarity as the mother of 3 young children. This 11-part series is perfect for personal or group study. Personally, I would have enjoyed it a little more having other women to discuss some of the topics with, but I still gained a lot working through it alone.
The book itself is divided into four sections (The Goal, The Cost, The Prize, The Praise) with topics that guide readers through the various aspects of excellence through a biblical lens such as obedience, purity, and wisdom. When I selected this book online, I expected it to be large and clunky. Imagine my surprise when a slim, lightweight paperback arrived on my porch. It is inviting and easy to read, both in terms of aesthetic appeal and subject matter.
I appreciated Heald’s insights, as she puts it, from “a certified older woman.” Her tone and phrasing reminds me of my own late grandmother, for whom I would give almost anything for just one more talk with. The book was inspired by reading the story of Ruth, a woman whose life was far from easy, but who refused to compromise her character in order to get ahead. Heald uses this story as the basis for her overall message that suggests that one’s personal achievements are not nearly as indicative of excellence as one’s character. No matter how perfect that birthday party was or how successful my Etsy store becomes, if these actions were not completed by a virtuous woman, excellence has not been achieved.
Each chapter begins with a scriptural verse which helps to focus the reader on the topic at hand. The author then provides her insight and follows up with questions for the reader to ponder. While there is space for personal response, it is limited and I would suggest keeping a journal handy if you prefer to respond in depth. Since I was working alone, I utilized this option–there was so much I had to say and so little space to write! However, I could see making short notes to jog your memory (for later discussion) if you were participating in a bible study.
Overall, this revised version of Becoming a Woman of Excellence is a tool I hope to see more women (young and old) engaging with. It encourages you to open up your bible and truly participate in learning more about God’s word while making a conscious effort to examine your own inner spirit. Perhaps the best part is that you never feel like you come up short, only that you are on your own journey toward becoming a better version of yourself.
**I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.