Books,  Celebrate Lit

The Struggle Is Real by Nicole Unice

My Thoughts

First World Problems according to the Urban Dictionary: Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third-worlders would probably roll their eyes at. Here in the USA, all of us have no idea what real hardship is, starving, death staring us in the face each day through war and famine. As Christians, we have no idea how hard it can be, with people in other countries being persecuted. Yes, people may laugh at us, because we love Jesus. Some may lose promotions, because they won’t compromise their Christianity. But few are beaten, imprisoned, or executed for following Christ.

In the light of this, I started reading The Struggle is Real. I thought it started out trite and a bit light, but Nicole Unice brings it deeper as she moves along in the book, helping you examine the deeper aspects of the “surface-y problems”. I like the quote that she provides in the 10th Chapter: “The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates (ha … can’t help but hear Bill and Ted’s voices saying “Soh-Crates” ? )  The Psalmist says “Search me, O God.”  The implication is that, not only will God search us, but He will reveal to us the sins in our lives that harm our relationship with Him, and with others. I think this book can be used as a tool to stir up some of the stuff in our lives that causes us to struggle and lead us to deeper sins. When you read this book, be sure to use God’s Word as your final authority.

One quibble I have with the book is the use of The Message. This is a paraphrase – in The Message style – It’s some dude’s idea of what the Bible is sayin’. The biggest problem is most times, the verses in The Message, don’t say and/or don’t mean what the actual translations say and mean. This is a huge danger in using The Message for teaching purposes. I looked up the verses in the English Standard Version, if they said something completely different, which they often did, I disregarded what the author said after it, because I could not take it seriously. Basically, the thought didn’t have a strong foundation, so I didn’t bother giving it much consideration. Thankfully, it was not always used throughout the book.

Overall, I found the book to be beneficial and could be a blessing to many.

DISCLAIMER:  I received this book as a gift.  The opinions I express are provided without obligation for a positive review. I receive no compensation for the review, other than a good read.

About the Book

Title: The Struggle is Real

Author: Nicole Unice

Genre: Non-fiction, Christian life, spiritual Growth

Release date: August 21, 2018

“It just shouldn’t be this hard!”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a day where everything that could go wrong does go wrong—you lock your keys in the car while it’s running, lose control with your kids, make a mistake at the office that results in hours more work. And just when you think not one more thing could possibly happen . . . well, fill in the blank.

The struggle is real, friends. It may not be major stuff. Lives are not on the line here. But it makes us feel awful . . . and then we feel guilty for stressing when other people have “real” problems that are so much more serious.

Yet the fact remains: We live in a world that often feels harder than we think it should be. And so it can be easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves—that we’re doing it wrong, that we’ll be stuck in this place forever, that God doesn’t love us. We struggle to practice gratitude, to make godly choices, and to live our daily lives with confidence and contentment. So what can we do?

Join popular Bible teacher and counselor Nicole Unice to discover why the struggle is real . . . and what to do about it. Nicole offers practical tools to help you navigate the daily ups and downs, and ways to rewrite your struggle into a new, God-centered life story. The Struggle Is Real is an invitation to take the hard, hurtful, and confusing moments and turn them into opportunities to grow in wisdom, strength, and joy.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace.

Her heart belongs to Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as ministry director, leading discipleship and Praxis, a full-time ministry residency program for young leaders. In addition, Nicole co-hosts Hope Cast, a podcast on spiritual formation, leadership, and relationships.

Nicole’s invitations to speak have taken her across the world, and her books come to life through her popular video curriculum series found on RightNow Media. Her first book, She’s Got Issues, released in May 2012 and speaks to a fundamental question of faith: Is being a Christian supposed to change me? Also available is a companion curriculum, She’s Got Issues DVD Group Experience, a six-session journey that includes interviews, questions, and teaching expanding on the book. Her subsequent titles—Brave Enough and The Struggle Is Real—help people distill the complicated stuff of life into a simple and clear path to Jesus.

Nicole holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She loves creating a space for ministry and spiritual formation in the everyday rhythms of life with three children, two pups, one husband, and a whole community of twentysomethings who regularly raid her fridge.

Nicole is known for making friends in all corners of the world, especially via social media. Connect with her on Instagram, YouTube, or at nicoleunice.com—and hopefully face-to-face at one of her upcoming events.

Guest Post from Nicole Unice

There’s a question we throw around that I bet means a whole lot more than we would expect. How many times a week—or a day!–are you asked:

How are you?”

I don’t know about you, but the answer I hear and give the most is something like …. ”fine”, or —“busy but good!”? It’s kind of the socially acceptable answer, right?

A friend asked me this question just this week as I walked into work. I was multitasking as usual while knee deep into a cell phone conversation about yet another problem. I didn’t answer her, because if I did—if I really stopped and answered—I might have started crying, right there on the spot. My lips formed the word “fine” when in reality, I was anything but—at least not in that moment. And life doesn’t always stop long enough to give a real answer….

But isn’t “fine” the socially accepted answer because it works….or does it?

The reality is, we are all struggling, to different degrees and complexity levels, each and every day. The Struggle IS Real, and when you add up both the little and big daily struggles, it’s easy to understand why this hashtag social media rockstar exists—over 3 million deep at #thestruggleisreal.

But if we dig a little deeper into this common complaint, we might discover a much more sinister root—and real help toward freedom and wisdom in Christ.

In my newest book, The Struggle is Real, that’s what I’ve done. I address issues like:

  • Life is much harder than I thought it would be, and I feel bad saying it.
  • There are some things about myself that I can’t change…it’s just how I am, and it frustrates me.
  • I really don’t know if God is interested in my life, and even if He is, I don’t know how to hear from Him.

(and if you are wondering how real your struggle is, I’ve included a Good Life Inventory on p. 14!)

I wrote this book because I know how real the struggle truly is—and I want us to discover the true source of the answer to these age-old problems. My hope is to take my readers through a journey into this gap between our “just fine” lives and the truly good lives we are seeking and are hungry for. To offer hope that we can live the best life we can, this side of heaven.

Yep, the struggle is definitely real. But the struggle can also start the story. It can motivate us to rewrite our lives into a new story. The struggles can lead us to a new source of hope and freedom, and somehow, even the worst of life can become a place of strength and growth. The struggle is real. And the struggle can be good.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 25

Bibliophile Reviews, August 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 29

Girls in White Dresses, August 29

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, August 29

Carpe Diem, August 30

Multifarious, August 31

Janices book reviews, September 1

Inklings and Notions, September 2

Book by Book, September 3

Mary Hake, September 3

proud to be an autism mom, September 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

Godly Book Reviews, September 7

Bigreadersite, September 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Nicole is giving away a grand prize of a “The Struggle is Real” T-Shirt!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click HERE to enter the promotional giveaway.

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