If you have ever moved somewhere you weren’t really excited to live, you understand how sad and lonely it can make you feel. Any move – no matter excited you may be about it – can be full of challenges. If you are a Christian, you may find yourself questioning why God is asking you to live in this place instead of where life was more settled or in a place where you just know you would have been happier.
The new book Love Where You Live by Shauna Pilgreen challenges readers to look at where they are living. She argues God places us where we live, because He has good works He has planned for us to do in that location. Rather than viewing your current home as a trial that must be endured, she tries to encourage you to look at it more as a challenging adventure with God.
The author has quite a bit of experience with moving – especially moves that require adjusting to different cultures within the U.S. As the daughter and now wife of a minister, it was perhaps easier for her to see God’s hand in her moves than for other Christians. Yet, her real life stories resonate with anyone who has made a major move – especially one they weren’t really thrilled about making.
Although the author spends some time developing her argument for seeing God’s hand in our moves, the bulk of the book is about finding the good works God has planned for you in that place. She gives lots of practical tips she has learned from experience. Woven throughout her advice are real life stories where she has had success and even some failures as she tried these things.
The vast majority of the book covers her adjustment and life in San Francisco. If you are at all familiar with the city, the book really comes to life. You don’t need to know anything about San Francisco though, to learn some great tips for showing God’s love and sharing your faith with the people in your community.
My only real problems with the book will seem relatively minor to most readers. The first is purely cosmetic. For some reason, the publisher chose to “illustrate” some of her points in really boring ways. For example, one page just has squares drawn and labeled. It’s not that the illustration is wrong, but if you are going to illustrate something, use better graphics or add more information. As they are now, the illustrations are mainly wasted space.
My other concern is purely personal and may actually be a misunderstanding of what the author actually did. She talks about putting her kids in baseball that had games on Sundays during worship times. I find it rather unsettling that her entire purpose is supposedly to be serving others and sharing her faith with those in her community – yet she chooses to give the impression that baseball games are more important than going to worship God.
Surely, there were other ways for her kids to play baseball? Why not start a “church league” for kids with other congregations (and no Sunday worship games)? Or explain that it will be necessary to arrive late or come early, because worshipping God is the number one priority for their family? Unless I missed something, merely informing your husband you will be missing worship with the kids doesn’t seem to be the greatest witness to others. It portrays worship as an optional activity for when we have nothing better (like baseball) to do.
Otherwise, the stories in this book are interesting and relatable. Her tips are good – although if you already are involved in your community, they are a bit basic. Every Christian may benefit from her encouragement to focus on what God wants you to do where you live. It’s something we all need to spend more time considering.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.