Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. This month we’re sharing book notes on Rachel Jones’ Is This It? Enjoy!
In this case, I totally judged a book by its cover. Rachel Jones’ Is This It? stood out to me in a conference bookstore because of its cover and title. Bright yellow, the cover features half an avocado surrounded by questions and statements I’ve asked and said many times: “Where is my life going?,” “Is God even there?,” “Will I end up alone?,” “Will this ever feel like home?,” “I hate my job!,” “I have no real friends!,” “I wish I was back at school!,” and a personal favorite, “Am I failing at life?!”
I knew this book was for me.
As someone who lived through what society calls a “quarter-life crisis” and survived, I do wish I had this book about 10 years ago. I am hesitant to date myself like that, but, as Rachel points out in a chapter called, “Getting Old,” we’re all just getting closer to death every day (but that’s a good thing. She explains it better than I am here.). If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, you’ve most likely still felt it.
I love how Rachel describes it:
“The Quarter-Life Crisis creeps up on birthdays and New Year’s Eves, and it rears its head any time you see on social media that someone you went to school with has had a baby, got a promotion, or simply had the audacity to look happy in a photo. It’s that desire to change something about your life, but being overwhelmed by the options. It’s the uneasy feeling that comes when you take stock of everything around you—the people, the places and the relentless routines of work and washing up—and find yourself asking, ‘Is this it?’”
Essentially, this book teaches you how to “adult” while maintaining a healthy perspective that this life is not all there is. In other words, no, this isn’t it.
Rachel takes categories that we all (or is it just me and Rachel?) tend to freak out about during our twenties (and maybe beyond) and uses them to point us toward our true hope and peace—Jesus. She does so in a way that’s humorous and winsome and assures us we’re not alone. She talks about dissatisfaction, decision paralysis, nostalgia, relationships, loneliness, careers, and the search for meaning.
One section that I really loved, especially in the current season we find ourselves in, is a section on nostalgia and regret. Rachel takes passages from Zechariah and Haggai and talks about living in the “small things.” Sometimes what we do in our twenties and thirties can feel small, especially when we compare our day-to-day with others’ highlights. And yet Zechariah tells us not to despise the day of the small things. We are to be faithful even in the small things, even if it feels like we should have moved on to big things at this point.
In every topic she covers, Rachel points readers back to Christ. Ultimately, this life is only a small chapter in our stories if we’re in Christ. Rachel points readers’ focus to eternity. If we keep in mind that this is not “it,” many of our questions and freak-outs will be answered and calmed. As we work toward Christlikeness instead of grown-up-ness, we will be encouraged and strengthened to do everything for God’s glory, even adulting.
Elizabeth Hyndman is still recovering from her Quarter-Life Crisis. She reads, writes, and tweets. Officially, she’s a social media strategist at Lifeway. Elizabeth grew up in Nashville, sips chai lattes every chance she can get, and believes everyone should have a “funny picture” pose at the ready.