Lessons I Have Unlearned
Discovering that life isn't what I expected, and neither is God.
We all have ideas about what we think life will be like - ideas we pick up from books, films, music videos, the adults around us, and even church. We think we have a roadmap that will guide us towards success. But it isn’t long before life throws some curve-balls at us.
Florence Gildea looks at a series of myths that we cannot help but absorb from films, fairytales, songs, and advertisements: that we get to call the shots and have control over how our lives turn out; that a happily ever after is within our reach.
All the strategies we have learned to make ourselves safe, loveable, and successful will backfire. Life, it turns out, is found exactly where Jesus said it was: at the end of ourselves, at the foot of the cross.
Click on the circles below to see more reviews
Lessons I Have Unlearned speaks to the core of a generation who wants the good life but may be misled on what the definition of a good life really can be. Gildea writes with authority and vulnerability on a God-centered life—debunking some of the narratives about success that leave Christians discontent and confused about their personal journeys. This book is full of good wisdom, truth and heart. ~ Bailey T. Hurley, author and speaker
Lessons I Have Unlearned is a short but mighty book packed with insight, wisdom, and vulnerability. Florence Gildea provides an intimate glimpse into her struggles with mental illness and both the subtle and profound ways in which her faith led her toward grace. Gildea doesn’t pull any punches as she dissects the feelings and anxiety that plagued her youth. Instead of suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach solved all her problems, she opens her heart and paints a picture of a young girl struggling to control the circumstances and trajectory of her life. One of the things I love most about this book is the author’s frankness in addressing how she (at first) used Christianity as another means of controlling her life, and the ways in which it backfired. There are countless books on the market telling us that faith is the only thing that can heal us, but Gildea illustrates quite beautifully how religious practice can become a crutch. This level of self-awareness is courageous and humbling. In 104 pages, Florence Gildea embarks on a journey of exploration, weaving sociology, scripture, and personal anecdote to illustrate a very important point: we are not alone (not one of us) in this life. Without making assumptions about her readers and without setting her own expectations of us, Gildea lends us her perspective and invites us to open our hearts and minds to a critical truth: when we let go of our illusion of control and embrace our faith, we find grace. ~ Amy Rivers, Christian Feminism Today
‘Lessons I’ve Unlearned’ makes you feel like you are having a heart to heart with an old friend. Florence wades right into discussions about identity and spirituality, speaking to those inner voices which all of us battle, with clarity and fluency. I highly recommend this book for every person, because we all battle fears and insecurities. There are no easy answers, but this book is an encouragement that hope remains. ~ Selina Stone, Tutor and Lecturer in Political Theology at St Mellitus College
2. This is a gem of a book, packed with biblical wisdom, honesty and hope. It blessed me and will help many others. ~ Emma Scrivener. Author of A New Name, A New Day, and What Does the Bible Really Say About Eating Disorders, Author of A New Name, A New Day, and What Does the Bible Really Say About Eating Disorders
3. Witty and cutthroat, Florence managed to shred me to pieces whilst I laughed out loud in public. An insightful exploration into the madness of postmodern life, calling us back to a truth we all once knew: that intimacy with God and each other can never be replaced. ~ Tom Cozens. Director of Owlinspace, Director of Owlinspace
4. This book is a wonderful testament to Gildea’s splendid intellect and humanity. It is a deeply moving and personal description of the fight against mental illness and the role that faith can play in coming out the other side. ~ Frank Field. Member of Parliament, 1979-2019, Member of Parliament, 1979-2019
5. Very few books meet you where you're at, making no assumptions about you, and gently ease you into the absolute common-sense of believing and saying yes to Jesus and his Kingdom. This one does. ~ Martin Saunders. Deputy CEO of Youthscape and author of The Man You're Made To Be, Deputy CEO of Youthscape and author of The Man You're Made To Be
6. This book is a rich, wise and thoughtful exploration of some of the deepest issues facing young adults today. Read it to be challenged, informed and inspired. ~ Rev. Mark Woods. Baptist minister, editor at the Bible Society, and journalist, Baptist minister, editor at the Bible Society, and journalist