Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World – Charaia Rush

Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World by Charaia Rush
Published by Baker Publishing Group on March 19, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Living in a broken world gives us plenty of reasons to armor up, shut down, and numb out. But God wants more for us than just getting by. When we harden ourselves to the world, we not only close ourselves off from the good things God intends for us but close off avenues God wants to work through in others' lives as well.

With deep empathy and encouragement, writer Charaia Rush invites us to experience the countercultural path of staying open and vulnerable to the goodness of God and the miracle of staying tender in a tough world that only God can bring about. In Courageously Soft she helps you to

· identify the root of a hardened heart
· move from fearful self-preservation to the hope of being held
· recognize God's presence in the midst of pain
· replace denial, shutting down, and closing off with abiding trust in God's love and care

If you have been feeling exhausted, bitter, or beaten down by disappointment, betrayal, or suffering, this grace-filled book will help you find your way back to a posture of love, trust, and hope.

This thoughtful book explores how Christians can maintain a gentle, soft spirit even when they are suffering in ways that would normally lead to harshness, cynicism, and resentment. Charaia Rush reflects on her own experiences, particularly with the loss of her marriage due to her husband’s infidelity and abandonment, and she explores Bible stories about what it looks like to have faith, resist cynicism, and experience true forgiveness in the midst of suffering, oppression, and pain. Her writing style is engaging and easy to read, and I appreciate her vulnerability and honesty about her emotional struggles in the midst of her failing marriage, as well as wounds from childhood that affect her outlook on life.

Rush clearly balances the call to choose gentleness with the reality that remaining “soft” in the midst of hardship is ultimately a gift from God, not just something we can achieve through our own determination. She also enriches this book with deep reflections about false beliefs that many people hold about God and themselves, and she encourages her readers to move beyond doubts and harmful theology. For example, she writes about her personal temptation to believe that good things don’t happen to people like her, and she engages with biblical teaching to show that God truly loves us and intends good for us, even when we feel punished or rejected. She also engages with what true biblical forgiveness looks like, in contrast to her past beliefs that flowed from church culture instead of the Bible.

Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World is a beautiful, touching book about an important topic. Although I have read many books about pain and suffering, Rush’s focus on keeping a gentle and sensitive spirit instead of hardening your heart is a relatively unique one, and I appreciate this book’s blend between deep biblical teaching and personal reflections. Rush’s honesty and vulnerability give this book even greater weight, since she is offering hard-won truths from her own walk with God, and since readers can see what she has endured. I really enjoyed this book and found it deeply encouraging, and I would recommend it to adults and teens who are going through tough times.