Set Apart: Stop Comparing, Own Your Giftedness, and Rest in Jesus – Denisse Copeland

Set Apart Denisse Copeland
Set Apart: Stop Comparing, Own Your Giftedness, and Rest in Jesus by Denisse Copeland
Published by Baker Books on August 17, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Marriage, Parenting
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What do you do when that voice in your head tells you you're not enough? Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not capable enough, not present enough. Where do you turn when the world's promise that you can have it all becomes a crushing expectation that you must do it all, at all times, and keep a smile fixed on your face while you wither inside?
Unpacking the biblical story of Mary and Martha as she shares her own story of recognizing her unique giftedness, Denisse Copeland shares the liberating truth that you have a right to be you. Just you, at the feet of Jesus. She shows you how to embrace your identity as a woman set apart, not to do it all but to be exactly who God created you to be. No apologies. No guilt. No compromise.
If you're tired of comparing your life to others as you strive to be all things to all people, Set Apart is your invitation to lay your burdens down and abide in Jesus--faithful, free, and fulfilled.

Denisse Copeland bases this book on the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. She writes that even though this story can seem discouraging to driven, Type-A women, its true message doesn’t focus on comparing the sisters or their personal attributes, but calling them both to rest in Jesus. Throughout this book, she encourages women to avoid the trap of comparison, find their adequacy in Christ, and live in spiritual peace instead of constantly striving for perfection. Copeland shares her own testimony of struggling in an unstable childhood, looking for love, and never feeling like enough, and she connects the gospel to her personal experiences, sharing about the freedom that she found when she became a Christian.

Copeland also provides a realistic view of growth over time, showing how she is gradually leaving behind old ways of thinking. Throughout her topical chapters about subjects like worship, prayer, worry, and rest, she shows the reader how her view of God has deepened over time, and she ties each chapter back to the overall theme of finding our worth in Christ. Set Apart: Stop Comparing, Own Your Giftedness, and Rest in Jesus will be a breath of fresh air for women who are weary with trying to perform up to their own and others’ expectations. Copeland shares lots of honest, vulnerable stories about her struggles with approval-seeking, and I appreciated the range of different illustrations she gave.

Since Copeland is currently a young wife and mother, many of her stories relate to marriage and parenting, but she also writes about her life as a child and teenager, and about experiences that she has had at work. This book can help women regardless of whether they share the author’s life stage, and I appreciate the range of experiences that Copeland covered in her illustrations. I also enjoyed her reflections about growing up in Puerto Rico and moving to America in high school. Her unique cultural perspective adds a lot to this book, and she does a great job combining clear biblical teaching with personal illustrations. This is a great book for women with similar identity struggles, especially new believers, and I would recommend it to both adult women and teenage girls.