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 Jamie Ivey’s You Be You. Enjoy!
Have you ever had one of those friends who knows you really well (I mean sees all of your dust bunnies and the skeletons in the back corner of the closet and what your waistline actually looks like without Spanx®) and loves you anyway?
The one who sees the fire in your eyes on your darkest days and challenges you to follow your dreams, no matter how many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and cumbersome daily realities you throw her way?
Sure, every now and then she gets under your skin, but deep down you know she’s 100 percent for you and 100 percent will cheer you on no matter what, even when she has to say something tough.
That’s the friend you’ll find in Jamie Ivey when you read her new book, You Be You: Why Satisfaction and Success Are Closer Than You Think.
Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it.
Early on in the read, Jamie clues us in on what she’s aiming toward in our time together.
She says, “Do you want to know my entire goal for this book?”1
Why, yes, we do, Jamie. Thanks so much.
Jamie continues, “I want you to do what God has equipped you to do with the passions and talents He’s put inside you. I want you to show up for your life. I want you to believe and trust that He has good things for you, and that He wants to use you to do big things right where you are. I want you convinced that you’ll make the greatest impact on your world when you allow Him to work through you right where He’s planted you. I want you to be you. Living your calling. Which simply means being faithful. … Just faithful. To Him. Where you are. With what you know. With what you have.”2
Now, if that isn’t one of the best gospel-centered pep talks I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.
In other words, according to Jamie, “… you can live out God’s will for your life, no matter what season you’re in, no matter how your days are looking right now.”3
You can do what God has called you to—you can glorify Him—wherever you are.
So how do we get there? Jamie walks us through it in her book’s progression—we glorify God by discovering ourselves, accepting ourselves, and becoming ourselves.
As we come to embrace who God has crafted each of us to be individually, we’ll be more apt to use our voices and maximize our gifts to God’s glory and our satisfaction. No one is left out of the invitation to be used by God, even if you feel stuck in a rut or have one difficult day after another. Jamie says, “Trust [God] with where He has you. Your voice has power. You can use your voice for the glory of God wherever you are.”4
And Jamie wants us to know that our voices and our skills are vital to God’s work here on earth. She reminds us, “… God has equipped each of us with exactly what we need for playing our part on His team. … God wants me to be me, and He wants you to be you.”5
As we are learning to be grateful for who God made us to be, we’re going to have to deal with the ever-present thorns of comparison and discontentment. Undaunted, Jamie tackles these tough topics, wisely observing, “… the root of all these problems is a lack of trust in what God has given us and where He’s put us. We want more. We want different. We are insecure about who God has made us to be.”6
In case you haven’t already noticed, this is not the portion of the book where Jamie is pulling any punches. But she proves herself to be a true friend in it.
She helps us to see how stewarding the gifts that God has given us frees us from comparison or envy. It frees us to cheer one another on and point others to God in our victories and even in our missteps.
She also gives us some really practical and helpful questions to ask when faced with comparison or envy. (I confess: these were so convicting to me personally.)
Jamie says, “When you look at others, when you listen to them talk, when you feel the comparison impulse kicking in, force yourself to test it. Ask yourself: Who are these people pointing me toward? Are they pointing me toward themselves, or are they pointing me toward Christ? … How could their example encourage me to chase hard after God’s heart?”7
According to Jamie, as we abandon comparison, we will find true contentment in an abiding and vibrant relationship with Jesus. What great news.
Truly, I could go on and on, but I don’t want to give too much away. You need to have your own friendly chat with Jamie in the pages of You Be You.
Needless to say, I was encouraged and challenged in the best ways by this read. It felt like a warm hug and just enough of a friendly kick in the pants to push me toward the exciting possibilities that linger just on the horizon.
Jamie serves us well by helping us dream what God might do with an open-handed life and a heart that says yes to the adventures He is yet to call us on.
Read it and learn to use your voice for God’s glory right now and right where you are. You’ll be glad you did.
Sarah Doss is the Editorial Project Lead with Lifeway Women Bible studies. She loves a quirky sitcom, baking as therapy, and travel (international or otherwise). As a recovering Lisa Frank enthusiast, she maintains a healthy affinity for school supplies and all things letterpress. Keep up with her on Twitter (she loves Twitter friends) at @sarahdossy.
https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/you-be-you-P0057945981. Jamie Ivey, You Be You: Why Satisfaction and Success Are Closer Than You Think (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2020), 34.
3. Ibid., 8.
4. Ibid., 65.
5. Ibid., 78.
6. Ibid., 98.
7. Ibid., 111.