Live Slowly: A Gentle Invitation to Exhale – Jodie H. Grubbs

Live Slowly: A Gentle Invitation to Exhale by Jodi H. Grubbs
Published by IVP on April 30, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Give yourself permission to slow down.

Jodi Grubbs did not give herself permission for too long, falling headlong into the endless rush and exhaustion of hustle culture. After leaving her childhood home on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean, she had assumed the rapid pace and stress of city living in the States. Soon she realized God was bidding her to a return to the "island time" of her past.

In time Jodi found sanctuary and ways to care for her soul by making space for God, others, and herself. Evoking the contentment she once had in the gentle rhythms of Bonaire, she learned of another path: a path away from burnout and toward restoration. And she invites you, too, to grasp a sustainable approach to life anchored by the forced pauses of spiritual practices and an openhandedness before God. Each chapter offers slow-living shifts to help you put the concepts into practice. Begin to rest and let go of the need to keep up, as you learn to live slowly.

This book originally appealed to me because of the beautiful cover, and I found the book relaxing, comforting, and encouraging. Jodie H. Grubbs shares her personal story of driving herself to burnout and then learning to reclaim the “island time” of her childhood in Bonaire. She learned to slow down as both a life management necessity and a spiritual practice, and throughout this book, she shares advice and encouragement for other women who want to do the same.

Grubbs reflects on how our forced change of pace during the pandemic opened many people’s eyes to how over-committed and overwhelmed they are, and she encourages women to take inventory of their lives and align their schedules with their true needs, desires, and goals, instead of going all the way back to their pre-2020 grind. She includes practical tips for how people can assess their current commitments, and she encourages women to set boundaries instead of saying “yes” to everything because they’re afraid of disappointing people. One chapter specifically addresses burnout in church contexts, and the author’s personal story and advice will be helpful and validating for many readers.

Live Slowly is full of advice and encouragement for readers to assess their capacity limits, set boundaries, and let go of guilt for not doing as much as other people. Grubbs reflects on how people’s personalities affect their bandwidth, and she encourages other highly sensitive types to know that it’s okay that they can’t keep up with the frantic pace of modern life. She assures her readers that they can succeed and experience acceptance without running themselves ragged, and she encourages them to find rest and peace in God. She also includes examples and heartfelt encouragement for people with chronic health issues. However, she doesn’t adequately acknowledge people who lack the financial privilege to slow down. This book’s spiritual and emotional themes can still encourage anyone, but I wish that the author had included caveats and applications for people who have to work grueling schedules to make ends meet.

Live Slowly: A Gentle Invitation to Exhale is a great book for women who want to rethink their pace in life. I enjoyed this author’s beautiful writing and lovely descriptions of the island where she grew up, and I appreciate her practical tips for how to set limits, truly rest, and connect more deeply with God and others. Each chapter concludes with insightful reflection questions, and there is also a brief group discussion guide at the end. This book offers big ideas and clear suggestions for how to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle, and I found it very wise and helpful.