Heard this before?
The desire to induce change is stamped all over this book – but the inspiration to do so is lacking.
Author: Joyce Meyer Publisher: FaithWords, 188 pages
EAT the Cookie… Buy the Shoes – with such a tempting, indulgent title, who could resist picking up this book and expecting life-changing messages and advice to flow from its pages? But what I actually ended up learning from it is, well, that the old adage about not judging a book by its cover is quite right.
While the cookie and shoes are indeed metaphors for things you enjoy, and Joyce Meyer, a best-selling author of inspirational books, does indeed encourage you to take a break and indulge yourself, you may need the following prerequisites to fully enjoy this book: (i) you are of the Christian faith; (ii) you love being preached to; and (iii) you don’t mind having old ideas rehashed and presented to you in a new package.
The overall premise of Eat the Cookie ... Buy the Shoes is balancing self-discipline with selfreward; it’s a premise that applies to a lot of people, but especially to those who feel guilty about giving themselves a break when there’s more yet to be accomplished.
One of the most powerful messages that Meyer keeps coming back to is “know when to stop”: stop working and take a break; stop to laugh and lighten up; stop to rest and refu- el your gas tank. Most importantly, give your soul a vacation because, as Meyer writes, “rest is not inactivity, but the harmonious working together of all the faculties and affection – of will, heart, imagination and conscience”.
But I feel that Meyer pushes the message too hard, using every little excuse to “have a party”. If you’re finding it hard to relax and give yourself a breather, it’s not likely you’ll take her seriously, as her efforts to make a celebration out of anything and everything may come across as frivolous.
The author’s advice works best when she’s not quoting scripture or paying homage to God, such as in the section that expounds the virtues of not coveting what others have and being satisfied with what we have. It comes across as more intimate, more personal instead of preachy. Sometimes, I find her views too simplistic; for example, trust in God and you will have nothing to worry about for He will supply all your needs and you will be able to live free from worry, anxiety and fear. If we do not believe in this, perhaps we need to have more faith?
Meyer also writes that she often has to hide the “meat of the word” under “dessert titles” to get people to listen to her, comparing it to the tactic of wrapping turkey or cheese around a pill to get her dog to take it, thinking it’s a treat. To me, it feels like this book is a bit like that – a vehicle for Meyer to preach her Christian values under the guise of encouraging readers to take time out for themselves.
Eat the Cookie ... Buy the Shoes is written for a specific demographic, and if you’re not in that demographic, chances are you may feel overwhelmed by the religious references, as the book is peppered with quotes from scripture throughout.
These quotes will not have any relevance or significance if you’re not a believer, which leaves readers of other faiths unable to connect with the book’s messages. That’s a shame, as the themes of taking care of, rewarding and celebrating ourselves are universal.
Then again, these messages are not new revelations. They are old truths that most of us know, though we could all use reminders of them once in a while when we get too caught up in the rat race to notice that we are not taking good care of ourselves.
Although Meyer provides good lessons and plenty of personal anecdotes, the substance isn’t there and I kept getting that déjà vu feeling that “I’ve heard all of this before”.
If you’re the type who keeps to a strictly regimented lifestyle and who doesn’t give yourself a break, reading this book probably won’t change you. If you need convincing that you deserve a break, I don’t think this book will lessen your guilt if you do take that break.
The desire to induce a change in our attitude towards a balanced life is there in this book but I just didn’t find it inspiring enough to convince me to make that change.