Heard this be­fore?

The de­sire to in­duce change is stamped all over this book – but the in­spi­ra­tion to do so is lack­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BOOKS - Re­view by WAN KER-HSIN

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.

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