Becoming Myself, Embracing God’s Dream for You,by Stasi Eldredge (Colorado Springs: Colorado, 2013), 253 pp., hard $11.99

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Stasi Eldredge, conference speaker, author of numerous books that have sold in the millions, wife of author John Eldredge and co-leader with her husband of their ministry “Ransomed Heart,” writes Becoming Myself for Christian women. Eldredge is an engaging writer and knows how to identify with women. As seems common today among many women authors she showcases her misery and deep struggles. She often mentions her battle with weight (pp. 12-13, 39, 41), appearance (pp. 68, 91), lack of feeling accepted (pp. 20-21, 54, 74-76), and loneliness (p. 149). As a matter of fact, “Very few of us had the kind of preparation God intended us to have so that we might grow up into confident, resilient, loving women” (p. 79). Becoming Myself is Eldredge’s attempt to move toward solving this problem. She is at her best when she occasionally turns her readers toward Christ as the only one in whom satisfaction can be found (e.g. pp.74, 126).

“We all have a deep soul hunger, and the only satisfaction we will find for that is the presence of God. The unseen. The eternal. The uncreated one. Who says He will satisfy your desires with every good thing. Ultimately with Himself” (p. 74).

With this, and similar statements, Eldredge is on target, but unfortunately these are exceptions. She tries so hard to help women feel good about themselves that she frequently over-delivers. For example:

  • God not only loves us and likes us, He thinks we “are amazing” (p. 20). There is no biblical basis for such a general statement.

  • “We have never been a disappointment to [God]” (p. 21), is contrary to clear examples and statements in Scripture.

  • “Every woman is beautiful” (p. 96). Beauty is a constant theme in the book. Of course, if every woman is beautiful, then no woman is beautiful—all are equal. Nevertheless Eldredge promises that God says “you are a knockout” (pp. 104-106), but He apparently can’t heal you until you “love your hips” (p. 91).

  • She calls on her readers to imagine how handsome Jesus is, how strong, what a great singer and dancer (p. 187). Eldredge is embracing the “Jesus is my boyfriend” motif, even as Scripture clearly said that Jesus did not appear in an attractive form (Is 53:2).

Becoming Myself is not grounded in careful exegesis of Scripture, nevertheless biblical passages are scattered throughout. Sadly, however, most of these are either taken out of context, misapplied or misinterpreted. Examples include: Exodus 20:12 (p. 67); Song of Solomon 2:14; 4:1; 7:10 (pp. 95, 209); 1 Peter 3:3-6 (p. 108); Galatians 5:1 (p. 164); Romans 6:6 (pp. 166, cp. p. 171); John 8:32 (p. 173); Isaiah 62:1-4 (pp. 217-218) and Romans 12:5 (p. 219).

It is central to our understanding to note that Becoming Myself is not based on biblical interpretation but on psychology, and the worst forms at that. The book is filled with aberrant forms of psychobabble. Eldredge herself has been in counseling, apparently off and on for years, as well as has her husband (p. 31), and has latched onto almost every form of pop-psychology imaginable:

  • Freudianism (pp. 32, 37) in which one must go into the past to solve the problems of the present.

  • Healing of wounds and memories (p. 40). This is a major theme with Eldredge, who is especially interested in her so-called “mother wound” (p. 65) because supposedly it is mothers who bestow self-worth (p. 76). It is through inviting Jesus into our past to heal such wounds that we are set free (pp. 85-87).

  • Forgiving self (pp. 41, 135). As a matter of fact we can’t love God or neighbor until we forgive and learn to love ourselves (p. 98).

  • The world hates women (p. 54) and lust and rape have nothing to do with sex, they are all about power (p. 57), which is an oft-quoted but unproven theory.

  • Our wounds are deep, going all the way back to the womb (pp. 70-71), while our self-worth is formed during the first two years of life (p. 72). Therefore we must go back, even into the womb to receive God’s healing (pp. 72-74). Since we have no memory of our time in the womb this must be done through imagination.

  • Generational curses must be broken (p. 87). Here Eldredge teaches the reader how to command Satan to leave (pp. 175-178), casting out demons and sending them to Jesus. Scripture never teaches generational curses as described by Eldredge and, of course, never prescribes the kinds of prayers she so boldly offers (e.g. pp. 245-246).

  • She teaches a strange idea called “soul ties” (pp. 136-139; 186) in which we can be tied spiritually to the sins and “demonic strongholds” of others. Eldredge again provides a prayer (one found nowhere in Scripture) to sever these soul ties and send the sins (or demons) back to the original possessor (p. 139).

  • The meaning of our name is important to who you are and was given by God (pp. 222-224). Therefore we need “to ask Jesus for our true name (or names—He often has several for us)” (p. 223). As Jesus reveals our names we must choose to believe what He says. To support this idea Eldredge uses Isaiah 62:2 completely out of context, “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow” (p. 224).

Becoming Myself is a hodge-podge of some of the worst teaching found in pop-psychology laced with mostly misinterpreted proof-texted Scriptures. This is a book that is highly toxic to the soul of any who would accept its teachings as biblical yet, sadly, all too typical of what is being offered today as instruction on Christian living.

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel

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