The language of transformation in the New Testament, for example, is in the passive voice. Rather than being initiators of the action, we are responders to the action of another. We are being transformed rather than transforming ourselves.

Gem and Alan Fadling

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the saying goes. Change can feel like climbing a mountain in stiletto heels.

Yet, as Gem and Alan Fadling explain in What Does Your Soul Love? Eight Questions That Reveal God’s Work in You, change is not only possible, it is the birthright of all those who have been born again.

The Fadlings are not about 30-day crash programs or New Year’s resolutions as an avenue for change. Instead, they are inviting readers to go deep, heading inward to the places within our hearts where the Spirit of God is already at work. The deceptively simple questions that form the structure of this book are anything but easy. Chapters include accessible explorations of topics including desire (“What do you really want?”), vulnerability (“Where are you hiding?”), pain (“How are you suffering?”), control (“What are you clinging to?”) and more. The chapter on fear (“What are you afraid of?”) really struck home with me as I’ve been brought face-to-face in recent years with my own unhelpful responses to anxiety in the face of some big changes in my life.

Each chapter contains a thoughtful discussion of the question at hand and some really meaty reflection questions. For example, the chapter on fear ends with questions inviting readers to name the ways in which they attempt to protect themselves when they’re afraid, consider how they might connect with God when fear causes them to fight, flee, or freeze, and reflect on the specific concerns they’re carrying for others over which they have no control.

Gem, a spiritual director, and Alan, an organizational coach, focus on long-term change, and encourage readers to stay with these core formation questions in order to grow – and change. One of the appendices in this book includes a five-session guide that small groups can use to work through the material in the book. I can imagine the meaningful discussion that would arise from this book in the context of a small group. But I can just as easily imagine an individual working through each chapter in this book via journaling, prayer, and reflection – coming back to these eight questions again and again. Highly recommended!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but this gift did not in any way affect this review. I’d gladly buy a copy or three of this excellent resource.

Cover photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash