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Happy New Year & a Book Review!

Happy New Year! OMG! It's Quite a Novel Idea's FIRST new year! 2016 had some highlights for me and launching this blog was definitely one of them :) 

So I figured what better way to start off the 2017 than with a book review. 

"What we are all looking for, is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable. We look for that ultimate verdict every day in all situations and people around us. And that means that every single day, we are on trial. Every day, we put ourselves back in the courtroom."

I was gifted this book last week (yay for people who know the way to my heart lol) and it was literally just what I needed. In this 44 paged book, Keller sets his readers up for some introspection. 

This little book carries a lot of punch in just a few pages. Keller sets the scene by dissecting the idea of self esteem. He notes that in traditional culture, having an extremely high view of one's self was credited for being the cause of many immoral behaviors. However, in modern western culture that idea has been challenged. It now seems that we credit the frowned upon behaviors of people as being reflective of too LOW a view of themselves. 

Keller challenges this by defining this issue as being more about our ego than our feelings. 

"The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it...it is always drawing attention to itself. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can't be hurt! It is the ego that hurts--- my sense of self, my identity." 

He goes on to describe the trap of comparison most of us fall into. We don't find pleasure in and of things. It would seem that we find pleasure in things relative to how we measure up to others. We aren't just proud of our accomplishments, strengths, morality, etc. We find pride in being stronger, prettier, wealthier, etc than OTHERS.

The issue with this is we subject ourselves to link our identity to the verdict received based on our performance. Whether we have an inflated view of self or a deflated view of self, Keller notes that BOTH are futile.  

As I read this book, here were my biggest takeaways: 

  1. Strive for an ego that is not puffed up (with air or fluff) but rather for one that is filled up with something solid.
  2. The essence of humility is not thinking less of myself but of thinking of myself LESS.
  3. It is not the opinion of others or even my opinion of myself that actually matters. It is the security found in the truth of who I am that is found in Jesus.
  4. In Christ alone, we get the verdict BEFORE the performance. Whoo hoooo!!!!! Seriously, this was IT for me.
  5. I need to relive the gospel on the spot, every day, moment by moment and ask myself what I'm doing in the "courtroom." I should not be there. The court is adjourned. Yesss Keller yesss! 

Yep. Pretty much what Tim Keller did on my whooooole life lol 

I truly recommend this book. Whether you are a person of faith or not, in just a few pages, Keller made some very solid points. He did a great job addressing the issue at hand while offering his readers something sweet to wash it down with. Plus, it was a quick read! 

So why not a 5? I would have loved to have more practical tips on HOW to move from a puffed up ego to a FILLED up ego, but this read was set up as more of a mental appetizer. And in that regards, it delivered. 


  1. Happy New Year, Jenn! :) I don't think I've ever heard of The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness before, it sounds really interesting.

    1. Thanks Adalyn! Same to you and it was definitely an interesting and thought provoking read :)

  2. Happy New Year!! Sounds like this packed quite a punch in sun a few amount of pages. Glad you took away a lot from it.

  3. Sounds like a good read! Keller is a great writer.

    1. Isn't he? I've heard so much about his books but this is the first I've read. I plan on reading more of his work.

  4. Happy new year! Sounds like this book has quite the impact for how short it is. I like how you summarized the key points of this book!