So why can’t we get along?
What was the first thing that came to mind when you read those words? If you’re like me, it probably had something to do with relationships- more specifically, relationships with other women. God created us to be relational beings, living in community with each other. But sometimes the utopian sense of community we imagine is anything but harmonious. It can be discouraging, frustrating and painful, but for most of us, it’s reality. Why can’t we just get along?
My friend Shelley just released an incredible book that addresses that question. Aptly named “Why Can’t We Just Get Along?“, her book deals with all the drama that can surround relationships. She talks about ‘6 effective skills for dealing with difficult people’ and outlines the true intention God has for our relationships.
I will just preface my review of this book by saying that I tend to shy away from books that just seem like ‘Christian self-help’ books. I’d rather read a biography or a book that is radical and counterculture. But when given the opportunity to read and review this book, I decided to jump on it, simply because I know Shelley and have immense respect for her and her ministry. She’s an incredible woman. So, I dove in, optimistic but not expecting the book to be all that earth shattering or instructive for me. I figured that I knew how to deal with people- I’m a social worker, after all!
But wow, my assumptions about the book were very wrong! “Why Can’t We Just Get Along” is truly an incredible read. Shelley is raw, honest, and doesn’t sugar coat anything. She shares personal stories that created a connection and made me instantly relate to her. I found myself thinking “Wow, something like that has happened to me before!” or “I thought I was the only person who felt that way.” Things that I had been holding on to and hurts I hadn’t let heal came to the surface, and I found myself reflecting and thinking on the principles that she was sharing.
Shelley doesn’t keep it surface level though. As she begins to explain these six principles, she keeps the focus around our identity in Christ. The book is very empowering because she lays a foundation that isn’t about being a woman, it’s about being a child of God. I really appreciated that, because I think it’s essential that Christians base our lives around that reality. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, rich or poor, man or woman- we all belong to Christ. She uses scripture throughout the book to further strengthen that foundation and keeps it the central theme.
In addition to that, she’s practical. The six skills are practical and simple. I won’t list them for you, because I want to you to read the book, but they are practical and simple. They aren’t easy, because in her words “Anyone who promises you an easy way to make hard changes in your life is not someone to be believed!” I found many of the chapters incredibly freeing and empowering. Scripture and spiritual truth are coupled with practical advice that you may hear from a counselor. And her stories and personal experiences help you relate to what she’s saying.
I tend to strive for a drama free life (don’t we all?) but I felt convicted throughout this book too. I have friendships where I feel like I’m the only one working to keep the friendship going, but reading this book made me wonder if I’ve ever done that to someone else. There are groups of girlfriends I observe in my life right now that I so desperately wish I was a ‘part’ of, but I’m sure there have been girls in my life that wanted so desperately to be included in my ‘group’. I’ve felt abandoned and betrayed by friends, but I’m sure I’ve abandoned and betrayed girlfriends before as well. I think we can enter into reading books like this one and can identify only as the victim, but Shelley does a good job writing chapters that allow for the Holy Spirit to gently convict and bring situations to our attention that we need to work on. She does that through her own stories and her humility. The book made me respect Shelley even more! I’m hoping that my bible study group can read this book together sometime this year, I’d love to re-read it with a group.
I have an extra copy of “Why Can’t We Just Get Along” to give away to one lucky reader! Comment on this post (the little comment bubble to the right of the post title) with any of your own ‘takeaways’ on getting along with others or something that this post made you think of. I’ll randomly draw a winner this weekend from the comments and will contact you to get your address to send the book! Thank you so much for reading! If you don’t win the book, you can purchase it on Shelley’s Website or on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received no compensation for writing this post other than the book I reviewed. These opinions are my own.