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Let me thank the Hachette Group who graciously sent me a copy of Jason Frenn‘s new book Power to Reinvent Yourself: How to Break the Destructive Patterns in Your Life for this review.

As regular readers of this blog well know, I’m not high on “self-help” books in general. While the fault may lie equally between author and reader, one generally offers too much, and the other expects too much.

We are all unique combinations of genes and life experiences. It stands to reason that what works for one won’t work for most others. Therefore, I believe most self-help books actually “work” for a small number of people only, leaving the rest sometimes worse than they were before.

That being said, I do think that these types of books do offer important insights, if we approach them as such, rather than as cure-alls. Jason Frenn has indeed accomplished that in a number of ways.

Generally speaking Mr. Frenn offers the reader a series of steps to achieve a major change in life. The change can revolve around virtually any perceived problem–alcohol, sex addiction, an unhappy career, financial woes. The same basic steps apply to each and every one.

Many of the steps will be fairly well known to anyone who has read such books in the past. However, again, I think Mr. Frenn offers some unique insights.

The first is that we must identify the root problem we are unhappy about. It is not enough to say we want to lose weight for instance. We must uncover why. And it is not enough to say that we want to be healthier. The more pertinent question is why do we want to be healthier. Fear of dying young might be the real reason we want to lose weight. It’s important to dig this out if we are to then face the next hurdle: what are all our reasons for not losing weight?

For as I think Frenn correctly states, we won’t lose weight and keep it off, unless our reason for losing outweighs (no pun intended) each and all our “but” reasons for continuing as we are. So that is the second quest, to uncover the strong reason for change which will overcome our inertia and all the lazy reasons we dream up to not do the work.

Another powerful insight, is that we must examine in detail how we view the world, and how that view lines up against reality. Are we in step with the way successful people see things? What life experiences have perhaps shaded our perceptions?  See the world as it is rather than as we have erroneously perceived it helps us to see how to go about making the necessary changes.

Mr. Frenn peppers his book with “life stories” to illustrate the points he wishes to make. They help show how for instance we might look at the “pay off” for our bad behavior and how we might find a healthier substitute.

Jason is an internationally known evangelist, writer and speaker. Thus is comes as no surprise that God is central to his message. While the non-believer can still find advice that is helpful in this book, the believer will resonate with some of his suggestions.

Believing that a loving God supports and guides us on our quest to improve our lives is helpful. Thus prayer, church attendance, and faithful support groups are exceptionally useful to one who is struggling to overcome sometimes life-long destructive patterns of behavior. Scriptural examples also abound in the text which help to illustrate how God has provided solutions or new ways of engaging that are healthy and growth oriented.

Frenn encourages establishing good behavior as a habit. He urges that we replace negative thoughts with positive ones. As we engage in helpful behaviors we are re-enforced in them. He also encourages forgiving others whom we feel betrayed by, as well as seeking forgiveness for wrongs we have done to others.

These are all part and parcel in making a total makeover of ourselves. This is perhaps unique to his book and not well pointed out. By offering changes that remake ourselves more completely, we,  it seems to me, enhance the probability of success with the original “problem.”

As I said, I don’t claim that this book will change your life, but it does, offer some very good questions to ask yourself, some insightful advice, and some gentle reminder that through it all God loves, even in our brokenness.

Mr. Frenn and I would probably not agree on a good deal theologically speaking. But I don’t find that that hampers one receiving  the message and benefiting from it. If you are struggling with some issue in your life at present, you may want to take a look at what Jason Frenn has to say about it.

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