Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · Inspiring Reads · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Seeing the Good in Life

Looking through Netgalley for my next book to read, I saw the book, “See the Good” and thought, “Yes!”

I mean, who doesn’t want to “see the good” in life? After years of…

  • Living in a pandemic,
  • Consuming a daily diet of doom-and-gloom news,
  • Fearing rising prices and supply shortages

Sign me up!

In his book, “See the Good: Finding Grace, Gratitude, and Optimism in Every Day,” author and entrepreneur Zach Windahl wanted his readers to approach each day with gratitude in their hearts and hope for tomorrow. He wanted them to see God’s vision for their lives and His kingdom purposes. He wanted Christians to rewrite the narrative of their stories, see God on the move around them, and to love and be a blessing to others. What a breath of fresh air!

As a writer, Zach starts with a personal story, usually one with adventure and a dash or two of humor. He reminded me of Bob Goff who wrote the foreword. He moves from light-hearted to serious. The reader is entertained, learns a bit about Zach, reads a great story, and then is connected to scriptures from the Bible that lead to a big idea or concept. Then, he has these great questions in each chapter for the reader to answer.

Zach said he gained his positive mindset during his “unique” childhood. From ages 4-15, he witnessed his mother battling serious illnesses. She had a 5-percent chance to survive her first diagnosis of stage-4 ovarian cancer. During that time, she accepted Christ. She survived and would also battle a tumor on her sciatic nerve, as well as colon and breast cancers. She found herself in and out of hospital. Throughout this time, she didn’t let go of her joy, her faith and her optimistic outlook. Yes, the outcome could have been fatal, but it wasn’t. She was alive.  

And it’s that faith-filled optimism Zach lives out today. He wanted to help Christians change the way they think about life, God, and the world around them. He said we have the choice to decide the story we’ll tell. Every circumstance we face has two sides and two ways of thinking about it. We can “incorporate a practice of gratitude,” he said, recognize the good around us and call it out.

Many view this world as worse than ever, and living out our faith in Jesus Christ has become challenging. Here, Zach mentioned Emperor Nero, saying at least we aren’t being fed to the lions like early Christians. Truth! And the news media tells the news that sells. He reminded me of the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Some good news items though that Zach pointed out were things like our technological and medical advances and major decreases in things like poverty and child labor. Instead of just ignoring bad news though, he wanted readers to go a step further. We can use that information to inspire action and find solutions to problems around us. We might not solve world hunger, for example, he said, but we can buy a homeless person lunch.

Zach had me rethinking some ideas I had just accepted. As a Christian, I knew this world is not my true home, and I do love the thought that my citizenship is in Heaven. But I have dual citizenship. Zach said some believe we have no responsibility here on earth, but really we’re called to be good stewards of the gifts and resources God provides us. We have a role to play here and now. The kingdom is at hand and not something in the future. Zach said we need to bring Heaven to earth.

His message of having an “attitude of gratitude” and optimism sounds easy. Anticipating that, Zach showed how this change in thinking doesn’t happen overnight. The example he gave changed my thinking about the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Reading about their complaining and disobedience in the past, I always thought, “Man, the Israelites were so ungrateful. They had God in their midst and walked through dry land at the parting of the Red Sea. How cool was that? They ate manna from Heaven. How could they go and make a golden calf to worship?!”

Zach said it took 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites to rid themselves of the Egyptian mindset after 400 YEARS of slavery. I emphasized that on purpose. The Egyptians saw the Israelites for what they could produce them, so the Israelites thought that producing was their value. To have God tell them their true worth apart from what they could produce must have been a shock. The Sabbath — a day to rest and to worship the Lord — must have been exceptionally hard to wrap their collective heads around.

They needed some “rewiring,” Zach said, and we do, too. In our current hustle culture, we are not unlike them. We define ourselves by what we do in the world and not who we are in Christ. The work He has for us to do is light and tied with rest. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30,

28  “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)

I wrote down several of Zach’s questions posed in each chapter to do some work on my own in my journal. They are great prompts. He provided 52 more of them at the end of the book. Some examples:

“How many moments do we miss out on by becoming numb to beauty?”

“What do you need to lean into to get through tough seasons?”

“Is [God] a difficult boss just waiting for you to make a mistake, or [do you see Him] as joyful and loving, asking you to participate in His happiness?”

“What has been spoken over you that is false? Ask God what lie you are believing and confront it because He didn’t put it there.”

That last question has been on my mind the most. I agreed with Zach that often those we love the most can say negative things over our lives that just aren’t true about us. They are played on repeat for so long that the message goes unchallenged. I have work to do in prayer now.

The story he told about paying it forward stuck with me the most. I think of it as Mandy’s cup of coffee from a stranger. One act of kindness can have a larger impact. I won’t give that story away. I’ve enjoyed Zach’s ideas and gave them space to roam in my mind, so I hope others will as well. I’ve seen new things in the scriptures he shared and a new way to view my life here on earth as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Finally, I think Zach needs to write a travel book for Minnesota, his home state, and include many photos. He made me want to go visit Spoon and Stable restaurant. You can preorder his book that releases on Nov. 15, 2022 here and here. As you wait on this release, here are some other books he has written: “The Bible Study,” and “Launch with God: How to Build a Business that Matters and Live Out Your God-Given Purpose.” Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for the opportunity to read and review this book.


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