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(Review) Wholeheartedness: busyness, exhaustion, and healing the divided self by Chuck DeGroat

Publication Date: March 2, 2016
Publisher: Alban Books/Eerdmans
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian living
Pages: 208
Source: Free copy from Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 
Rating: 2 stars for okay


Link for more info at Eerdmans


Part 1: Diagnosing Our UnWholeness
1. Feeling Pulled in a Thousand Different Directions
2. Perfecting Ourselves to Death-and Learning to Embrace Imperfection
3. Using Our Brains: The Neurobiology of Wholeness

Part 2: Awakening To Wholeness
4. Awakening to Our Lives: A Poetric Invitation
5. Becoming Holy without Becoming Exhausted
6. Understanding Our Whole Story

Part 3: Experiencing Wholeness
7. Returning to Our Core, Recovering Our True Self
8. Cultivating Wholeness amid Our Scattered Selves
9. Embracing Sweet Communion

My Thoughts:
Parts 1 and 2 explain what wholeness means and how as a Christian we can experience this in Christ Jesus.
In Part 1, perfectionism, shame, exhaustion, and a critical attitude are strong factors in not being a whole person.
In Part 2, Christians in history are examined. Those who have modeled "Wholehearted living for us." These people are Quaker Thomas Kelly, Jesuit Priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, and poet Derek Walcott.
Chapter 5 teaches us we need "major heart surgery" in order to live a "whole-and-holy life."
In my work, I often ask people to do this hard work of applying the scalpel. I ask them to look hard at their own stories, both how they've been hurt and how they've hurt others. I ask them to name parts of themselves that are triggered, often in our meetings together, and frequently when strong, triggering emotions arise. I ask them to transcend their reptilian brains and their black-and-white certainty left-brains and become reflective. This is very difficult work. Often the pain gets worse before it gets better." Page 101
In Chapter 6,
Wholeheartedness is a participation in the life of God, of the only whole human being who has ever walked the earth-Jesus. Wholeness dwells in human beings by the Spirit of God, whose divine life pulsates within those who drink at the Well. Page 118. 
Part 3 is applications to bring about a wholeness in our spirits. We are reminded we are on a journey and the goal is wholeheartedness. Quotes and questions are for reflection, study, and meditation. Encouragement is given to breathe deep and exhale. The search is for the "True Self." The intention of this exercise is to weed out and let go of the the bad voices, and embrace God's voice. Another term for this part of the book is contemplative prayer.

I did not order this book to read and review, but I decided to read and review it nevertheless. I would not have chosen this book because it does not appeal to me. In all fairness, it's just not my cup of tea. I know very little about contemplative prayer. I've not studied this type of prayer. I am aware there are people in the Christian community who are opposed to this type of prayer. I'm a prayer warrior, but I don't do breathing exercises nor repeat phrases, etc. For some readers, this is a book they would heartily embrace. For me, I'm just not excited about it. I did enjoy reading chapters 5 and 6. I felt the information located here was the heart of the book.