This summer, I received an email about reviewing a new book. The person mentioned seeing my review of No More Perfect Moms and thought I might like Inspired Mama by Sez Kristiansen. When I read the description, I agreed. I intentionally only read the description, not additional reviews or information, to be open-minded as I read. My stay-at-home, homeschool lifestyle interfered with reading the book because I like to devote uninterrupted time to such tasks. This past weekend, I had a vendor event three hours away, so I listened to just under six hours of reading on my trip.
The introduction is the author’s story, at least some of which many mamas can relate: the crushing weight of expectations versus reality, balancing motherhood while not losing your identity, and being overwhelmed by emotions. However, most of her story is not relatable. The author grew up in South Africa as a child of two refugees whose families fled Europe and did very well for themselves in their new home. She traveled around Europe and private islands for extended periods of time. She worked in high-end jobs, with salaries to match. Many moms, certainly not the ones I know, cannot relate to this lifestyle. Each person’s perspective is based on the reality they know and it was difficult to see this woman’s point of view.
As the author outlines her path to “living your best life,” the New Age and Buddist influences resonate loudly. She uses words and phrases like “creating your highest self,” “manifestation,” “potency,” and “levels of consciousness.” As I listened, the words seemed more like a guide to self-worship than living intentionally. Some pieces of her outline could apply to a larger audience but those are overshadowed by the illustrations she uses from her own life.
I expected to be inspired, to follow a mama’s journey, and share the lessons she learned, something that would apply across all demographics and experiences. Instead, I felt like I’d received a manual on “How to be your Own Goddess: a guide to self-worship.” This is vanity, not inspiration.
While not every mama will relate to all parts of my story, I aim to share applicable lessons. As I learn, I attempt to package the lessons into simple truths that fit many walks of life. I use stories with elements most mamas can connect to their own lives. This author continuously mentions her very important high-paying jobs, her two-home lifestyle, and the taking a year off here and there to “live off the land.”
Perhaps I’m simply not the target audience for this book. My beliefs about my identity and development follow a Christian worldview. My inspiration comes first through Scripture and from people who have overcome their obstacles through faith and perseverance. I don’t have to “create my highest self” because the Creator of the universe already did! When I am lacking, I go back to who HE says I am. That’s the only grounding I need to live intentionally and with purpose. I could look in any book, travel to any place, and make any amount of money, but I won’t find joy or peace unless I’m clinging to God’s truth. That’s where real inspiration resides.