It’s not just that football season is fast approaching. It’s that it’s already here. And I couldn’t be happier! If you’re like me, you’ve busted out fall scented candles, and you’re hunting for all your orange-y pumpkin decor. (This is especially exciting for me this year since I’m decorating my new place!) And during game days, you can hear the roar of lively crowds, the tunes of marching band music, and the commentary of enthusiastic football announcers in my living room because my TV is and will be set on ESPN and SEC Nation.
In honor of college football’s beginning days, I decided to make this week’s blog post one for the boys of fall. A few months ago, I wrote a review of Tim Tebow’s recently published book Shaken for Lifeway’s Women All Access. (To see the original post, click here.) It’s seems fitting to re-post it again, this time, here on my blog. You can read my review below. If you’re looking for a seasonal read, let me encourage you to pick this one up.
When your world is shaken, when the plans and dream you’ve created, perhaps even banked on, get obliterated, when the path on which you walk is moving in an unknown and a particularly unwanted direction, what do you do? Better yet, what do you hold on to?
I teach high school English, and while I was reading Tim Tebow’s Shaken, I carried the book back and forth with me to school. One of my students spotted Tim’s book on my desk, and he told me his parents got him the book for Christmas. Low and behold, over the next few days several more students commented upon seeing the book. I’d say this goes to show just how far Tim’s audience reaches, and that’s especially the case with this book.
The premise of Shaken is that our ever-changing life circumstances are not what make us who we are; it is our identity that defines us. Sometimes we all need to be reminded and encouraged that the external should not dictate who we are, because money, popularity, and success will come and go in this life. We are and should be identified as a child of God.
My family and I are in no way Gators fans (go Vols!); however, we have been Tim Tebow fans since he played for Florida. I was pretty excited when he announced that he was working on a second book, especially since so much has changed for Tim since his first.
If you’ve kept up with Tim since his college football days, you’ve seen a rollercoaster of a ride. Honestly, Tim’s journey made him the perfect candidate to write this book since he’s experienced both highs and lows in his professional career on a very public platform. His book isn’t one of veiled analogies or vague allusions. He uses the circumstances of his own life as examples of when life doesn’t go as we hope or even when the plans we initially think God devises don’t work out.
Tim starts with the end, so to speak. He opens with his experience being cut from the Patriots, the last team he played for in the NFL. Even if you don’t know a ton about football, you know that for Tim, this was disappointing to say the least. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to give the play-by-play (pun intended) of his careers. While you may not be able to relate to his job, you likely can relate to his situation in some way. He is open and honest in expressing the questions he asked during these disappointing times which were intermingled with his desire to trust God, even when his own plans failed.
This isn’t just a book about Tim Tebow’s life though; it’s a book about lessons. He tells stories of amazing people who have faced overwhelmingly difficult circumstances with incredibly strong attitudes and faith-based outlooks—and what lessons he’s learned from their stories. Their faith is described as unshaken in the midst of trouble. Chelsie Watts’ faith, for instance, is awe inspiring. Chelsie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer her senior year in high school, but her gift for loving others and following God never wavered. Her story will grab ahold of your heart and encourage you.
Throughout the book, I felt like Tim had just given me a pep talk. He addresses problems you or I might run into in our day-to-day lives. I was giving Tim some silent but enthusiastic fist pumps along the way. I’ll admit to wondering if this was going to be a book with ambiguous pieces of advice, but Tim was upfront early on saying that he didn’t know what my purpose is but that by having our identities founded in God, we are all able to impact others and “become part of a bigger picture.” There we go!
Tim also gives some words of wisdom telling of the importance of having an inner circle, being self-confident but not prideful, standing up for what you believe in, and listening carefully to God. Tim has been subject to a lot of criticism, and he talks about the difficulty and the overcoming involved. He says, “What God knows about us is more important than what people think.” Success is not the endgame; God’s approval is.
Tim uses his story to serve as an example of when plans go awry, and his sense of empathy goes a long way because of it. Shaken explains that by being grounded in God’s truth, we can overcome rejection and unfortunate events. My friends, this is a book of encouragement.