A Holy Pursuit Book Review
In today's world, our culture is filled to the brim with boss-babe, "You go, girl!" encouragement in regards to how we view and chase our dreams. You can find it browsing the book section at Target or plastered on cute mugs and wall art that fill Home Goods. It's on your home screen as you log into Pinterest and fills the little square boxes as you scroll through Instagram. It's everywhere, and it can often be intrusive and overwhelming. But as Christians, should we view and go after our dreams differently than how the world does? Dianne Jago, the founder of Deeply Rooted Magazine, discusses this question along with her own story of dream-chasing in her book, A Holy Pursuit.
I have been an avid supporter of Deeply Rooted for almost three years and have immensely benefited from their gospel-centered magazines and online articles. When Dianne announced she would be publishing a book, I knew it would be one that I would pre-order! I read A Holy Pursuit in under a week and was surprised at how deeply the book impacted me. Below, I have listed three reasons why I not only love A Holy Pursuit but why it should be an addition to your "to read" list, as well.
1.) A Holy Pursuit is Gospel-Centered and Gospel-Focused.
The foundation of A Holy Pursuit is built upon the gospel, and it's evident throughout the entire book. Jago saturates A Holy Pursuit with scripture, reminding the reader that our study and view of God should not only inform our theology but every other area of our life, including how we view our aspirations and desires.
"God wants the way we think, approach, handle, and strategize about our dreams to be steeped in scripture and in a biblical worldview. In other words, if we are Christians, any and every idea we have (which includes our ambitions and dreams), and any and every plan we make about an idea (which includes our strategies for accomplishing those dreams) should be informed by what God has said about Himself, about reality, about the world, and about ourselves. And these things are found in the Bible. We can't talk about dreams without talking about the Bible." Dianne Jago, A Holy Pursuit [a]
In her book, Jago helps focus our eyes on the glories of Christ, instead of on ourselves. Jesus is the center. He's the one who has redeemed, rescued, and reconciled sinners back to God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God is sanctifying and conforming Christians into the image of his Son. And as we grow in the likeness of Christ, our desires begin to shift. We start to dream about things that will honor and glorify Jesus, instead of making much of ourselves. Throughout A Holy Pursuit, Jago reminds us that embracing our identity as ransomed creation allows us to have a biblical framework for not only how we view God, but also our aspirations and dreams.
2.) A Holy Pursuit is Relatable.
Many books marketed towards the self-help, dream-chaser genre in today's culture are unrelatable, in my opinion (I wouldn't classify this book as self-help, don't worry). These New York Times bestselling authors own multimillion-dollar companies and have huge brand and social media following. But honestly, that's not what most Christian women are after. Most women aren't after thousands of Instagram followers or an expensive vacation home on a tropical island. Some women dream of getting married one day or having the opportunity to go back to college to finish their degree. Though these dreams may lack the luster the world is after, they are still important to the heart of the dreamer, and more importantly, the heart of God.
Throughout A Holy Pursuit, Jago lays her heart bare as she describes the tension she faced following many dreams throughout her life. Her story of building her photography business was one that resonated greatly with me.
"Scribbled in the middle of my journal, I wrote about a deep fear that my plans might not come to fruition: "I have no promise that I'll get to where I want to be and that scares me." I did not want even to consider photography to be outside of His will for my life. Therefore, every positive aspect of my business was counted as a sign that I should be doing this, and anything else was disregarded. I held on tightly to my dream and refused to let it go." [b]
Whew — those last few sentences shake me up a bit. I feel as if my own heart could have written them. In the past, I have held tightly to my dreams; death gripped them almost, for fear that they might slip through my fingers. I believe that many of us have. Many of our aspirations are good, God-given dreams that can be used in a way to honor and glorify Christ — whether it may be the desire to marry a godly man, have a child, or start a business or ministry. But the problem begins when our dreams and goals take God's place; then, they've become idols. Idolatry is something we humans have struggled with since the Fall. Jago does a fantastic job of weaving together scripture and stories from her own life to remind our hearts of the gospel's truth. Placing our hope and trust in our dreams will never lead to freedom or flourishing, nor will we find true fulfillment in accomplishing them. Only by trusting in Christ do we find true freedom and fulfillment.
3.) A Holy Pursuit is Practical.
Jago's robust, gospel-centered foundation in A Holy Pursuit drew me to her book initially. But, her book's practicality is one of the many reasons I wholeheartedly recommend it to others. The beginning of A Holy Pursuit focuses on laying a biblical framework for gospel dreaming, while the latter part of the book zeros in on how this framework fleshes itself out in everyday life (Hooray for practical theology!). In the chapter titled "Discernment for Dreamers," Jago provides helpful questions that guide the reader to examine their heart in light of the gospel — Do my dreams make much of me or do they point to and honor the Lord? Now, I'm not going to list them, for there are many (plus, I want you to buy the book!), but they have already been a helpful tool for me in checking my own heart.
I truly believe A Holy Pursuit is a book that is needed in our world today. Jago reminds us in her book not to be shortsighted Christians who chase after the pleasures and desires of the world but to be a people whose eyes are fixed on an eternal and future glory. [c] Our hope isn't found in whether our dreams become a reality or not — no, our hope is secure, anchored, and forevermore. For it is built upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, our King.
[a]: Dianne Jago. A Holy Pursuit. B&H Publishing, 2020. Page 94
[b]: Page 37
[c]: Page 187-188
Photo from Unsplash by Angie Spratt