Next year, I turn 50. I am neither the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed twentysomething I used to be, nor the worn-out old man yelling, “Get off my lawn!” that I sometimes fear becoming. Instead, I am in between.
In between is a weird place to be. You’re neither where you started nor where you’re going. You’ve come a long way, but you’ve still got a long way to go. The journey has given you road-tested experience, but that experience has dulled your wariness of what’s just around the corner.
So, when trouble strikes, you don’t see it coming. Carey Nieuwhof didn’t write this book for middle-agers like me, even though he’s middle-aged like me. Nor did he write it solely for pastors or other Christians, even though he’s a Christian pastor. Instead, he wrote Didn’t See It Comingfor anyone who wants to live free of cynicism, moral compromise, disconnection from others, irrelevance to others, pride, burnout, or a general feeling of emptiness. Those are the “7 greatest challenges that no one expects and everyone experiences,” as the book’s subtitle puts it.
If you’re young, this book will help you proactively keep a fresh, hopeful perspective on life, work and ministry. If you didn’t see it coming — itbeing one of those seven horribles — this book will help you recognize where you went wrong and how to get back on the right path. And if you’re in between, like me, it will help you make mid-course corrections so that your experience and hopefulness can be mutually enriching. Throughout the book, Nieuwhof’s advice is biblically grounded, eminently practical and winsomely delivered.
I’ve leave you with this quote, which expresses the key insight of Didn’t See It Coming: “Simply put, self-awareness coupled with a close walk with God will [help you see it coming every time]. When you are intimately in touch with your own emotions and inclinations and deeply knowledgeable about the ways of God, you’ll have a much greater chance of seeing it — whatever itis. Self-aware people have a conscious knowledge of their motives, desires, feelings, and character. They are also in tune with how their actions affect others. The more self-aware you are, the more likely you are to see it coming.”
Carey Nieuwhof, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences(Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook, 2018).
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P.P.S. This review is cross-posted at InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.
P.P.P.S. Check out my Influence Podcast about the book with Carey Nieuwhof.