**Giveaway closed: Congrats to Jennifer W on winning!**
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading Kyle Idleman's newest book, AHA. The prospect of having a moment or moments of clarity that change ones life is always appealing to me.
Mr. Idleman bases his book around the parable of the prodigal son and the way that son reacted once realizing he needed to change and as soon as possible. Right away he gets into how God sends alarm bells in our lives to get our attention. It reminds me of that part on Bruce Almighty where he asks for a sign and all the signs on the road say, "wrong way", "dead end", flashing red and he keeps on driving. He refers to the story in Genesis of the brothers, Cain and Able and how God tried to warn Cain and give him the opportunity to do what was right. In Genesis 4:7 God says to him "But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it".
A situation rose up in my life concurrent to reading this, a situation that was not bad but had the potential to become so, left unattended. I must have been at least conscious of the possibility because I immediately knew God was speaking to me through these verses, through the message in the first few pages of this book that I was "coincidentally reviewing". I heard the Lord whisper yelling at me, "come to your senses now!", "be like Joseph and run!".
As I grow closer to the Lord and more confident in my identity in Him I have also felt attacks rising against me. I saw this situation clearly as a trap, it didn't look like much from the outside, and perhaps if I hadn't have been reading this book I wouldn't have bothered seeing it as such. The author is so right, and God gave me an up close and personal example of these warnings God gives us to save us from what could hurt us and others. I felt the Lord telling me, listen now before it becomes something altogether different than you think it could. I've never felt a need to radically obey the Lord as I have in that circumstance as I read concurrently the proverbs that warns, "can you hold fire close to your chest and not get burned?" and so I ran.
The very next chapter he speaks about coming to that desperate moment, the moment that can bring the AHA. The one in which, if we haven't heeded God's warning we reach this place and we no longer can run from Him. I've had these moments in other circumstances, much of my depression could be defined by this. That place where we become desperate and God becomes real, for the prodigal son it was eating pig slop. Sometimes deserved consequences, sometimes inflicted pain by outside circumstances but as he says these moments are "the defining moments can be our response to loss" . God calls us, wake up, come back, respond.
He talks about how so many times we try to do this life of following Jesus in our strength, only to end up living under deep guilt because we can not do it. That many times this AHA moment comes from realizing this and letting God reveal truth to us, sometimes this happens over a period of isolation. He says "sometimes we want to seize AHA, but AHA is not seized it is received." Again, this resonated with me. Throughout this last year and half I met a few times with someone who told me to change my posture with the Lord as one who was receiving, and stop striving. To let Him give me His love, show me who He is, who I am, what my identity really is. This is not something I could grasp and grapple for, it had to be received. Not hurried, but slowly imparted.
I have heard it said that self work is hard work, so also is the life of the Spirit. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, not work for it, but work it out, but its WORK. It is hard because we have to stop, look at what is hurting, feel it. You must be brave because it's admitting that you are not OK, that you have made some mistakes along the way, that there is healing that is needed, and there is healing that is available. Being honest with ourselves is also a part of that AHA, as he describes, and this can be scary.
"I don't want to spend any part of my life missing out on what God wants me to see now. I don't want to come to my senses in twenty years if God is trying to wake me up now."
Do we want to be awake? Or is sleep a comfortable shadow of false security?
He goes on into other key aspects of having these AHA moments, brutal honesty about our shortcomings, mistakes, brokenness, and being able to be honest with others about these as well. How instead, many times, we embrace things to protect ourselves such as denial, projection, or minimizing these things in hopes that they will just go away.
"AHA won't happen until we come to a place were we stop defending ourselves".
The last part in the book he talks about is immediate action, how the prodigal son decided he would go back to his fathers house, what he would say to him and got up and went. He points out, "so often we know what needs to be done, but we just can't move." There are so many good points in this section about why we stall ourselves. About what we say we believe and what we actually believe and the power that lies in the chasm in the leap between the two. About our passivity, our procrastination, and our defeatism.
Finally he talks about the son having returned to the father's house. Pointing out that the father runs to him and repetitively kisses him, and I thought about how I kiss my own boys. That he, just like our Father, isn't like a cop waiting to bust us but to run to us, welcome us back with open arms. Also not forgetting that older brother who is mad about this, and pointing out that he, also, was a prodigal. He quotes Tim Kellar who says, "the bad son was lost in his badness, but the good son was lost in his goodness." but points out how the father approaches them both, God initiates with us, no matter where we might be stuck.
He closes by telling us
"we expect God to be an angry father who demands justice, but through Jesus, HE gives us love and grace and we don't deserve it. Ultimately it's not a story about two sons who disobey, but about a Father who loves His children unconditionally."
That is the best news.
I really recommend this book, it was insightful and personally really helpful. God definitely used it to speak to me in many ways. So often we want this big moment to come to us easily, but there are so many aspects that go into this AHA moment we want to change our life.
If you would like to order this book you can go to the website HERE
also I am giving one away to one reader, and it might as well be you!
GIVEAWAY ENDS 3/26