Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: How to Find Your Soulmate

Abstinence, not having sex, has been important to me since childhood. My mom plopped my sisters and me in front of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and pointed out how "the boys sleep in the barn and the girls sleep in the house because boys and girls sleep separately until they're married" at my tender age of three. Boys sleep in the barn, check!

Only in the last year have I realized "abstinence" is not enough. Chastity and the deep love of self that comes from understanding it have been absent from my radar.

The Everts' book, How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, fills the void often left open by the traditional "abstinence" teaching. The book is for women of all stages of life and I hereby recommend it to all women.

Check the records, Totus Tuus Press, I was one of the first 100 people to order this book on its debut day. Jason and Crystalina joined Brian Butler to write the Theology of the Body for Teens textbook we use for class, so I continued to refresh the page until the "Add to Cart" icon appeared.

When the beautiful book arrived, I dived in and hardly came up for air. The Everts broke up five years of first hand female accounts, advice, and reasoning into twenty-one short chapters outlining the importance of chastity.

Chastity: this is not your mother's "abstinence" talk. This book peels away the layers of justification, insecurities, excuses, and settling that all women use and face. The Everts compiled a book that walks through the mindset of a woman, trekking through her darkest thoughts on the subjects of romantic love and self-love.

Right off the bat, reading the title of the first chapter, "Missionary Dating," made it clear this was not going to be a softball read.

The chapter followed the air of the Bright Maidens' posts about dating, picking out and detailing ten "types" of guys to avoid dating. Among the no-nos were "The Control Freak," "The Smooth Criminal," and "The Fixer-Upper/Problem Child."

It's so easy to let the camouflage cover those red flags when we get attention we've been craving from a guy. This list helps us see A) if we might be settling and B) why it's not worth it to eat from the dumpster instead of waiting for the banquet.

Jason actually uses this dumpster metaphor in a more elaborate description of how this world convinces us to "just do it" and dive in now without consideration for our decisions' consequences. Later chapters like "Grow a Backbone," "Hang Up on Hookups" and "Wear Something Revealing -- Be Modest," weave this concept into the importance of valuing oneself.

Women are not often convinced of their value, at least not until they change X, Y, and Z.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
  • "Once I'm thinner, it will be easier to be comfortable around people." 
  • "When I clear up my skin, I won't be as embarrassed to draw attention to myself." 
  • "If I could just be a better singer, I know guys would like me."
The Everts spend the entire book attempting to realign the damage done by these mindsets. Each chapter builds upon the other, teaching lessons of love, value, and constructing a relationship with God.

All the junk filling our minds separates us from the One who created us. Raking out the junk isn't going to happen in the time it takes to read 300 pages, but reading the tough questions and hard pressing examinations in those pages aims to make us ask: Am I getting all that I can out of my life? Am I free?

Jason and Crystalina gave women the authentic version of Feminine Mystique we've been missing. Near the end of the book, they quote Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste and a woman I had the distinct pleasure of meeting. She wrote:
"A woman with the courage to step out into the unknown, risking temporary loneliness for a shot at lasting joy, is more than a "single." She's singular. Instead of defining herself by what she lacks--a relationship with a man--she defines herself by what she has: a relationship with God." (Eden, 22)
"Abstinence" really means nothing if we don't balance our choices with reasoning. It is too easy to fall when we're standing on a pile of sand. Choose to stand on a rock.

As the Venerable John Paul II once said to an audience of students at Eurasia University in 2001, "Be courageous, fear nothing, and you will not be disappointed."

Consider buying a box of 44 books. Don't faint, the publishers are selling this book individually for about $25 or by the case of paperbacks for $2 per book. The $88 box of books could be a fabulous evangelism tool for any girls, young ladies, or women in your life. I know I will find more than 44 girls who need to learn to love themselves, some for the first time.


Anonymous said...

Sounds great! I'm sooo looking forward to reading it ...

Anonymous said...

I was just talking about this book to one of my young adults. I wish I had $88 to spend...I'd totally get a case!

Liesl said...

i convinced our chaplain to order a copy for our library so i can read it... still waiting on it!

vercfamily said...

Great review, E! Do you mind lending me a copy? I would love to read it and I am sure, even as a married Mama, I could learn a lot!

Elizabeth said...

Yes! Ciska, I'm getting one last book ordered and then you'll have them!

Tina, I can send you one of the paperback ones and the girls can pass it around!

Liesl: YES the powers of persuasion. Let me know what you think of it!

Vercs- Let's find a day so I can get my Verc fix AND give you one of the copies!

Marc Cardaronella said...

""Abstinence" really means nothing if we don't balance our choices with reasoning. It is too easy to fall when we're standing on a pile of sand. Choose to stand on a rock."

Amen to this! If we don't have solid reasoning behind our convictions, our resolve will crumble under the weight of temptation!

Can't wait to read this book! Thanks!

Sarah said...

This would be a perfect Lenten read for me... thanks for recommending it!

Mary @ A Simple Twist Of Faith said...

I wish I had this when I was a young woman. I am ordering this book today! Thank you for sharing.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the review - I'm currently on a hunt for resources that aren't "your mother's abstinence talk." Jason Evert really inspired me in high school, but being a 20-something Catholic has its own challenges.

not a minx, a moron, or a parasite said...

Hmm, perhaps I will buy it!

"Once I'm thinner, it will be easier to be comfortable around people."

"When I clear up my skin, I won't be as embarrassed to draw attention to myself."

Are you a mind reader?! I have a very hard time dealing with thoughts like that. For the past two years I've experienced annoying, persistent acne on my chin (no health insurance; can't head to the dermatologist), and it's really made me feel inadequate compared to other women. Especially when I was dating a 31-year-old - going through a second adolesence was not a confidence booster.

not a minx, a moron, or a parasite said...

Oh, and it shows that I'm vain!

The Catholic Couponer said...

I heard Jason speak almost 2 years ago (it doesn't feel that long though) at a pure reality rally the diocese of dallas and Ft. Worth hold every odd year. I only went because my mom needed another chaperone not knowing ANYTHING about it. Jason was the most powerful chastity speaker I had ever heard!

A few months ago I joined the Catholic Review Company and saw his book on the list and knew I HAD to read it (he spoke about this book in his talk). What I LOVE about this book is it explains WHY we should save ourselves for marriage. So many times throughout high school they say "practice abstinence don't have sex until your married" but they never tell you WHY.

Denise Crawford said...

I would love to see a copy of this book to review for consideration for students at my high school.

Elizabeth Hillgrove said...

Denise, and anyone who still gets the updates from commenting here, email me at brightmaidens at gmail dot com and I'll send you a book!

Billie said...

In my 22 years of existence, I know and I believe that God provided me with a perfect person out there. Because I believe that true love exists even though I haven't found it yet. That person might be in front of me!

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