About the Book
Title: The Struggle is Real
Author: Nicole Unice
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian life, spiritual Growth
Release date: August 21, 2018
“It just shouldn’t be this hard!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a day where everything that could go wrong does go wrong—you lock your keys in the car while it’s running, lose control with your kids, make a mistake at the office that results in hours more work. And just when you think not one more thing could possibly happen . . . well, fill in the blank.
The struggle is real, friends. It may not be major stuff. Lives are not on the line here. But it makes us feel awful . . . and then we feel guilty for stressing when other people have “real” problems that are so much more serious.
Yet the fact remains: We live in a world that often feels harder than we think it should be. And so it can be easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves—that we’re doing it wrong, that we’ll be stuck in this place forever, that God doesn’t love us. We struggle to practice gratitude, to make godly choices, and to live our daily lives with confidence and contentment. So what can we do?
Join popular Bible teacher and counselor Nicole Unice to discover why the struggle is real . . . and what to do about it. Nicole offers practical tools to help you navigate the daily ups and downs, and ways to rewrite your struggle into a new, God-centered life story. The Struggle Is Real is an invitation to take the hard, hurtful, and confusing moments and turn them into opportunities to grow in wisdom, strength, and joy.
About the Author
Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace.
Her heart belongs to Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as ministry director, leading discipleship and Praxis, a full-time ministry residency program for young leaders. In addition, Nicole co-hosts Hope Cast, a podcast on spiritual formation, leadership, and relationships.
Nicole’s invitations to speak have taken her across the world, and her books come to life through her popular video curriculum series found on RightNow Media. Her first book, She’s Got Issues, released in May 2012 and speaks to a fundamental question of faith: Is being a Christian supposed to change me? Also available is a companion curriculum, She’s Got Issues DVD Group Experience, a six-session journey that includes interviews, questions, and teaching expanding on the book. Her subsequent titles—Brave Enough and The Struggle Is Real—help people distill the complicated stuff of life into a simple and clear path to Jesus.
Nicole holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She loves creating a space for ministry and spiritual formation in the everyday rhythms of life with three children, two pups, one husband, and a whole community of twentysomethings who regularly raid her fridge.
Nicole is known for making friends in all corners of the world, especially via social media. Connect with her on Instagram, YouTube, or at nicoleunice.com—and hopefully face-to-face at one of her upcoming events.
Guest Post from Nicole Unice
There’s a question we throw around that I bet means a whole lot more than we would expect. How many times a week—or a day!–are you asked:
“How are you?”
I don’t know about you, but the answer I hear and give the most is something like …. ”fine”, or —“busy but good!”? It’s kind of the socially acceptable answer, right?
A friend asked me this question just this week as I walked into work. I was multitasking as usual while knee deep into a cell phone conversation about yet another problem. I didn’t answer her, because if I did—if I really stopped and answered—I might have started crying, right there on the spot. My lips formed the word “fine” when in reality, I was anything but—at least not in that moment. And life doesn’t always stop long enough to give a real answer….
But isn’t “fine” the socially accepted answer because it works….or does it?
The reality is, we are all struggling, to different degrees and complexity levels, each and every day. The Struggle IS Real, and when you add up both the little and big daily struggles, it’s easy to understand why this hashtag social media rockstar exists—over 3 million deep at #thestruggleisreal.
But if we dig a little deeper into this common complaint, we might discover a much more sinister root—and real help toward freedom and wisdom in Christ.
In my newest book, The Struggle is Real, that’s what I’ve done. I address issues like:
- Life is much harder than I thought it would be, and I feel bad saying it.
- There are some things about myself that I can’t change…it’s just how I am, and it frustrates me.
- I really don’t know if God is interested in my life, and even if He is, I don’t know how to hear from Him.
(and if you are wondering how real your struggle is, I’ve included a Good Life Inventory on p. 14!)
I wrote this book because I know how real the struggle truly is—and I want us to discover the true source of the answer to these age-old problems. My hope is to take my readers through a journey into this gap between our “just fine” lives and the truly good lives we are seeking and are hungry for. To offer hope that we can live the best life we can, this side of heaven.
Yep, the struggle is definitely real. But the struggle can also start the story. It can motivate us to rewrite our lives into a new story. The struggles can lead us to a new source of hope and freedom, and somehow, even the worst of life can become a place of strength and growth. The struggle is real. And the struggle can be good.
What a day I have had. The washer goes out, my son needs money, and the house is a mess. I go to the store and am focused on getting what I need and getting home. I had to laugh as I started the book because I am that person where everything goes wrong at once. It is like an avalanche that won't stop. Do you really think I want to chat with the cashier at the store? The lady was polite and asked the dreaded question, "How are you?" Now I wanted to say , "Since you asked, my day is going down hill fast. I am at the end of my rope and if one more thing happens I will scream." Of course I smiled and said what everyone says, "I'm fine." We do this because we don't want to share and we want everyone to think we have it all together.
I'm pretty sure the author had me in mind when she wrote this book. I do feel alone and empty inside. I appreciate how open the author is with her own struggles. I can understand her frustration at the carpool lane. I found it ironic that she was on the phone explaining to someone about grace while berating the poor lady directing the traffic. The not so funny part of this story is that we can all relate to her. I believe God places us in situations to show us where we lack grace, forgiveness and compassion.
We all get to make choices in how we handle things. I choose to keep everything inside, shut out the world and suffer silently. That certainly isn't what God wants for me. He wants me to come to Him, trust Him and have a relationship with Him. Of course we will have struggles, but if we continue to shut Him out we are going to dig the hole deeper. " The greatest challenge in life will be the challenge of choice."
I liked how the author speaks from her heart and talks about subjects that can help heal you from emotional pain. It is true that I don't have any really close friends. I have been like that my entire life. There is a boundary that I won't allow people to wander into to get close to me. I know it's about trust and I struggle with that a lot. When the author talked about having a relationship with God but still struggle with bitterness , anger and other emotions that keep me bound up I knew what was coming next. How can I be growing in my relationship with God, if I still struggle with the very things He wants to heal me from? As adults we seem to think we have it all together and fool ourselves and those around us into believing we are happy. The author makes good points about having a real relationship with God. I sure want that and I tell myself I am a work in progress.
We struggle with things everyday, but if we allow ourselves to stay there and let them pile up on us, we are missing out on the joy that God has for us. The concept that God loves us unconditionally blows my mind sometimes. How can He love someone like me who lives on the edge and feels like jumping off ? The good news is that "He will never leave us, nor forsake us." I love that scripture and know with all my heart that there is someone near who watches over me and loves me so deep that I may never comprehend how much. The one thing I took away from this book the most was how important our relationship with God is. He desires to talk to us and for us to spend time in His word.
The author includes a section at the end of every chapter called. "Keeping It Real." I encourage readers to participate in the questions which help you better understand the chapter and also dig deep into yourself. We all struggle with everyday life, but some of us have struggled for years from trauma, hurt, loss and other things. The book has helped me to look at my relationship with God and realize that I still have a barrier up. We will always have some kind of struggle, but how we deal with it can make the difference between staying in a place of bitterness, or coming through it with joy and a deeper relationship with God and others. It's time for us to reach out to each other and be the hands and feet God called us to be.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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