What Does Your Soul Love?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I received an ARC from InterVarsity Press, this review expresses my personal opinion. 

Prepare yourself to go deeper into being who God wants you to be, the fact the Gem and Alan Fadling write this book honestly and openly makes it more relatable. While reading this book I had to take time, not only to answer the questions at the end of each chapter. But to let God speak to me through these eight questions. And I am still working through them, I believe that this book like the word on chapter one, it is an invitation from God to look our life closer and with a different perspective, to be open, genuine, to be real first with God and then with ourselves.  A great choice and recommend it.
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I liked the idea of this book a lot. The eight questions asked have been helpful in evaluating where I am, but I had a hard time connecting with this book. I’m not sure if it was the format or the writing style, but it was a much slower read than I expected. There are probably other books I’d recommend on “revealing Gods work in you” before this but overall it wasn’t a bad one.
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Great book...deep, thoughtful, transformational. 
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This book reads sitting outside on a perfect day near a quiet stream feels. The cadence is gentle and encouraging. The authors are clearly out to convince the reader that you and I are going to be transformed to perfection, just as Jesus promises in Matthew, but on God's time and in God's way. The book gives gentle encouragement - which is not to say easy steps - for working as God works in you.

My one quibble with this book was that the authors focused so much on the transformation of humans that God himself sometimes seemed out of focus. If our primary goal as humans is to "glorify God and to enjoy him forever" as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, then sometimes I would have expected a little more of the transformation talk in this book to be about that rather than to pick up the secular lingo of "your truest self" and such. That said, much of the book is quite God-focused.

Thank you to the publisher and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC of this book.
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In order to grow, one needs to change. In order to change for the better, one needs to be willing to be formed. In order to be formed, one needs to be transformed from the inside out. If we want to grow, we need to be changed from the inside out. Often, we need to be challenged into making a decision to be changed. It does not come easy, as Gem shared her struggle with the question whether she would be willing to give up her husband. The the question represents the dark room, the answer provides the light waiting to illuminate the room. Using Thomas Kelly's reflection as a guide, this book essentially helps us connect our mental levels with a more profound inner level through "fruitful interplay." The eight questions proposed by the authors form the framework to enable such interactions. Authors Gem and Alan Fadling lists a few other questions to expand on this. These eight probing questions are:

    What do you really want? (Your Desire)
    What is getting in your way? (Your Resistance)
    Where are you hiding? (Your Vulnerability)
    What is most real to you? (Your Truth)
    How are you suffering? (Your Pain)
    What are you afraid of? (Your Fear)
    What are you clinging to? (Your Control)
    What does your soul love? (Your Joy)

Undergirding these questions is the fundamental truth of first being loved and beloved by God. This is the anchor from which all of our affections and desires proceed from. If God had not loved us first, how would we know what love is in the first place? God is the Initiator while we are the respondents. The authors remind us that transformation is never something we can do to ourselves. It is about our willingness to be changed. Using their experience and knowledge as spiritual directors, Gem and Alan help us along with asking simple basic questions. They supply us with "process words" to learn new ways to describe the spiritual orientations; exercises to enable us to practice; and reflection questions to challenge us.

The first question about desire begins with pace. We need to slow ourselves down to the pace that we need instead of being rushed about by external forces. Sometimes, when we pause for a reflective moment, we will begin to see that much of life is vanity. Then we will be prompted to ask what do we really want in life. This first step reminds us of the distinction Jesus made when he contrasts Mary's devotion to Him and Martha's harried behaviour. The second question tackles the barriers preventing us from being willing to change. Inner resistance is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. The authors remind us that resistance to change is an impediment to growth and transformation. The third question deals with our vulnerability, to expose what we tend to hide. Until we learn to be honest before God, we will have trouble being honest with people, including ourselves. The fourth question is about differentiating the reality from fantasy. They contrast "relief" from "healing." Frequently, we mistake the former when what we really need is the latter. Like an able spiritual director, the authors guide us back to God. Then we are faced with the reality of the fifth question: "How are you suffering?" This is a sensitive phase as doubts may creep into our awareness of God's love. Truth is, pain is a signal that something is out of whack, and the way forward is toward healing, and spiritually, this means either reconciliation or renewal in God. The sixth question is about fear, especially when we feel alone. We need to then learn to realize God's presence with us and not allow false perceptions to deceive us. The seventh question reminds us to let go and let God.  It is about faith and trust. If God is Lord, He must be Lord over all. Finally, the eighth question shows us the reason for it all: Joy. The authors remind us that the process of transformation is an ongoing one.

My Thoughts
These eight questions are gently dealt with in each brief chapter. One thing to note is that the book is less about answers but more about questions to help us locate the answers we need. Instead of probing the book for gems like a microscope, we ought to read the book like a mirror of our searching heart. Let the words guide us to ask the appropriate questions about our current status, our existing lifestyle, our desires, and more importantly, about ourselves. The key words throughout this book are the words "change" and "transformation." While the words may be different, their orientation is the same. Let me share three thoughts about the book.

First, motivation is needed to change. It has often been said: "Where there is a will, there is a way." This is about motivation to do something. The soul of the Christian faith is essentially about the love of God in Christ, to be loved, and called to share the love of God with all. This central motivation is the key to understanding the Christian faith. Sometimes, it is helpful to turn this question around to ask: Who is the One we truly love? What is it that we really desire in life? These questions can help to reveal our inner longings of the heart. For the revelation of these desires will help us face them head on.

Second, the key to any transformation is the willingness to change. No matter how much motivational exercises we do, if the heart is not triggered, there will be no progress. Sometimes, this needs some push, but more importantly, we need to be open to the working of the Spirit in our lives. Spiritual transformation is never something that is actively pursued by us. We need to let the Spirit work in us. Like what Jesus taught Nicodemus about being born again, as likened to the movement of the Spirit. Where it comes nobody knows where it comes from and where it is going. Being willing to change is about faith in God and trust that He knows what is best for us.

Third, use this book as a primer toward spiritual direction first rather than transformation. The questions asked may be too simple for some or overly intimidating for others. Nevertheless, take each question and pace ourselves to answer it. When the going gets tough, try another way to approach the question.

This is a wonderful book to help us distill the essence about our spiritual life.

Alan Fadling is president and founder of Unhurried Living, a ministry based in Mission Viejo, California that helps people to "rest deeper, live fuller, and lead better." Apart from just being spiritual director He has consulted widely including Saddleback Church, Open Doors International, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and several others.

Gem Fadling is wife to Alan, and is a co-founder of the same ministry.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.

This book has been provided courtesy of Inter-Varsity Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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“Paying attention to our soul helps us answer and discuss such questions as “In what ways is God meeting me in my “What can I do to better see God, hear God, and walk with God?” real everyday life?” and “What can I do to better see God, hear God, and walk with God?”” - From What Does Your Soul Love? By Gem and Alan Fadling

From the opening page, What Does Your Soul Love by Gem and Alan Fadling is more of a practice than a book, more meditation than reading. This is one you will want to muse over, journal and spend time soaking in, I loved it! Making time in the day to chew over life questions is so important and drawing closer to God is so restorative. Through eight key questions, Gem and Alan guide the reader on a journey to clarify one’s role in God’s kingdom, one’s value and how one can glorify God further.

“The eight questions posed in this book can help us cultivate this kind of deeper awareness and soul focus. They help keep us on the journey of transformation. They keep us in the presence of the transforming One.” - From What Does Your Soul Love? By Gem and Alan Fadling

Without complex instructions, Gem and Allan outline exercises and habits which can take day-to-day activities to new depths. They explain this two-stream living as follows “On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings…”. Awakening the reader to God’s presence, God’s guidance and identifying ways to get in better alignment with God’s will, they show the reader how to seek and find deeper joy in life.

They don’t ignore the difficulties that change brings and they share stories of their own experiences to bring their guidance to life and inspire the reader by showing it is possible to transform.

“We’ve noticed, however, that sometimes we are tempted to avoid necessary change because the pain of what’s unwell seems easier to endure that the unknown pain we imagine in the path of change. We must learn to cultivate awareness around our resistance to change as a surface reaction to a deeper and better invitation.” - From What Does Your Soul Love? By Gem and Alan Fadling

I thoroughly enjoyed it, I was challenged, inspired and drawn closer to God. It’s a book I will return to several times to get more out of it as I implement it piece by piece. I highly recommend it, it’s a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale.
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This book gives you eight “soul” questions to ponder.

    Desire: What do you really want?
    Resistance: What is getting in your way?
    Vulnerability: Where are you hiding?
    Truth: What is most real to you?
    Pain: How are your suffering?
    Fear: What are you afraid of?
    Control: What are you clinging to?
    Joy: What does your soul love?

With insight and practical application exercises, Alan and Gem lead you through these questions in this spiritual primer for your inner life.

The topics are diverse and entire libraries have been written on the subjects of each section, but here is a book that gives insightful consideration and a solid jumping off point for each topic. Applicable for someone who is just putting their toes into the river of spiritual formation as well as for those who are at home swimming in deep waters, What Does Your Soul Love is a valuable companion on the journey of transformation.

I received a free digital galley of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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What Does Your Soul Love? is a book that can be used as part of your own spiritual discipline work.  There is also a group guide for those who might want to use it with a small group. There are eight questions (one question per chapter)  that the authors use to guide your reflection.  The first is “what do you really want?” And the last is “Joy: What does your soul love?”.  I particularly enjoyed reflecting on this to guide my life right now.  It helped me remember how much I love singing and I am doing a lot of that right now.
 This book has the right amount of reflection and examples from the authors as well as Biblical examples and questions for reflection.  This would be an excellent book for those who are experienced with the spiritual disciplines or those seeking to learn more.  
I received a complementary copy from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is an excellent study and I will be using with my ladies. They have done a good job of leading you into spiritual direction with very important questions.
I received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
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If you are looking for a little clarity on your own life from a spiritual (Christian) standpoint, this book is a great choice. It is very accessible with plain language and very brief excerpts from the Bible, as well as plenty of conversational advice and anecdotes from the authors.  

Because there are two authors, I was pleasantly surprised with how cohesive this text is. Sometimes books with multiple authors can get a little clunky with two writers giving personal anecdotes. This book handled that aspect well. 

I liked that the authors organized their thoughts around 8 questions you can ask yourself, journal about, or pray about. There are also short, popping questions in callout boxes throughout the book -- some of these are like little mini truth-bombs (like "Do you want relief or do you want healing?"). The writing doesn't come across as directives; rather it feels like an open conversation where you can imagine the authors saying to you, "Tell me more about that (situation/feeling/etc.)."
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This is a book about discovering who you are by learning about how God is working inside you. I picked up “What Does Your Soul Love? Eight Questions That Reveal God's Work In You” because I thought it might be interesting. I wasn't expecting it to make me think so deeply or encourage spiritual transformation and personal growth at such a deep level.

The authors, Alan and Gem Fadling, ask readers a series of eight questions designed to cultivate “deeper awareness and soul focus.” What do you really want? What is getting in your way? Where are you hiding? What is most real to you? How are you suffering? What are you afraid of? What are you clinging to? What does your soul love?

With each chapter, they discuss a core aspect of who we are deep down inside. Desire, resistance, vulnerability, truth, pain, fear, control, joy – how we experience and relate to these things has a huge impact on who we are as people. As the chapters unfold, the Fadlings discuss each topic in depth and invite us to think about change in these areas as something that happens inwardly as a result of God's work in us rather than as outward changes we need to try and make ourselves.

I found the exercise and reflection questions at the end of each chapter hit-and-miss for me personally. Some were extremely helpful while others fell-flat. I didn't resonate with many (though not all) of the authors' personal examples either and found myself skimming over them a few times. However, that was more of a personal preference than an issue with the book. Overall, I found the questions, content, and perspective on growth offered in “What Does Your Soul Love?” challenging in all the best ways. I highly recommend it for those interested in spiritual growth and development.

My thanks to InterVarsity Press, the authors, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Usually when I read a book for review, I look at it theoretically. I dont necessarily take the time to delve deeply into my psyche each time a book wants to advise me how to live a more fulfilling or successful life, but I can make a judgement about how effective or useful certain questions would be in a distance kind of way. What Does Your Soul Love, however, is written in such an approachable and appealing, and heartfelt way, that I really had no choice to turn a 'read for review' into some deep deep soul work. Which is quite something when it springs up on you unexpectedly, I must say...
This book looks at eight areas, such as 'What is most real to you', and 'How are you suffering', and frames the question within a context of real life scenarios, passages from the Bible, specific questions and transformational action points. 
I cant stress how far above other self-helpish/ spiritual advice/ living your best life type books What Does Your Soul Love really is. It has such a heart, and is written both conversationally and intuitively, but its words are also deeply meaningful and thought provoking (so many highlights, Im really going to have to buy a hard copy so I can get at it with a real life highlighter I think!). Ive never managed to find a spiritual adviser of my own, and for the first time Ive found a book that I think can come close to doing that job for me.
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Maybe you’ve been wanting to embark on the journey of spiritual transformation.  You want to experience real change and you’ve tried changing your outward behaviors, but with no lasting result.  In their book What Does Your Soul Love: Eight Questions That Reveal God’s Work in You, authors Gem and Alan Fadling say that transformation is actually a work of the heart that Jesus must do in you, which then affects your outward behavior.  It’s an issue of cooperating with the Holy Spirit, they say.

If you’re still left wondering how that happens, pick up their book, What Does Your Soul Love?  You’ll find a guided journey that leads you to address your inner soul in a dynamic way and engage with God more deeply.  Besides addressing a particular transformational question, each chapter includes:
- Process words to help redefine some words to increase openness to what God wants to do in you;
- Exercises to help you take action; and
- Reflection questions for processing and personal journaling.

Gleaned from their own spiritual transformational journeys, the Fadlings offer these eight questions, which are unpacked in the book:
What do you really want? (Desire)
What is getting in your way? (Resistance)
Where are you hiding? (Vulnerability)
What is most real to you? (Truth)
How are you suffering? (Pain)
What are you afraid of? (Fear)
What are you clinging to? (Control)
What does your soul love? (Joy)

The book doesn’t offer easy answers, and the true journey will require hard work on your part as you become more aware of your soul and seek God on a deeper level.  You’ll struggle through some things as you seek to answer the questions above.  But all throughout, you’ll be reassured of this truth:  “we are already loved as we currently are.”  Pick up a copy of What Does Your Soul Love and begin the journey to true transformation.  Patiently work your way through the book and God’s Word alongside, and you’ll find yourself growing in ways you never imagine.

Note:  I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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