Four Gifts by April Yamasaki
I decided to read this book after reading a blog from Sarah Bessy. She had a plan to read a list of books from people from a different ethnic group from herself and, because most days I rarely have an original thought in my head, I thought that I might do that too. I could have missed it of course but I don’t think the writer’s ethnic group made any difference to this book at all. She is a Canadian Pastor and Professor and apart from finding out that 43% of Canadians don’t take their full alloted annual leave (What is wrong with you?) I don’t think there is anything specifically that was not applicable to everyone.
The book is about self-care. The author and some of the people who have endorsed the book seem to have made the assumption that this is a controversial subject for a Christian. I think I am way ahead of them on that. I think, in these times, when Christians are dropping like flies from overwork and undercare (Is that a word?) looking after yourself is essential. At one point she says that this is a book that will give you permission to take care of yourself. It is obviously written for someone less self-centred than me.
The book is divided into four sections. It looks at
The Heart – overall well being, The Soul – our spiritual well being, The Mind – our mental well being and Strength – our physical well being.
Among the subjects covered are personal boundaries including saying “no”, self discipline, taking a personal sabbath, dealing with social media, sacred pauses and diet and excercise.
I’ll be frank with you (just had a weird flashback to two lads in my secondary school whose favourite joke was “You be Frank and I’ll be Ernest.” It made them laugh like drains. No wonder all the girls in that class sprinted home every evening to make sure we didn’t miss Shang-A-Lang) Anyway, as I said, to be completely frank, there is nothing in this book that I haven’t seen before. Sometimes it’s like when your specialist subject on Mastermind is “The Flamin’ Obvious” (at one point she does tell you that sleep is important) However, it is a very lovely, gracious and gentle book – intelligently laid out and argued with lots of useful advice. Possibly the best way to read this is with a notebook and pen and use it as a study book to work through some thoughts about looking after yourself. I think it is not just to be read but to be used as something to look at areas of your life that may need your attention.