STOP TRYING: How to Receive-Not Achieve-Your Real Identity: A Book Review

It’s our human nature to achieve. We seek to achieve at our jobs. We seek to achieve in our personal lives. We seek to achieve status, money, relationships, and power. Much of this is fine. But often our drive to achieve bleeds from what we do into who we are. We allow what we do (or don’t do) to become our identity. But Christ has something better for us. He gives us the worth and admiration our hearts so desperately crave. We don’t have to keep chasing the proverbial carrot. 

In Stop Trying Cary Schmidt unpacks how Christ has given us a new identity. Using a lot of pop-culture references (which are a fun delight. I promise you will never watch a Pixar movie the same way) he shows how both a traditional identity (in a nutshell—how others define me) and modern identity (again, in a nutshell—how I define myself) ultimately fall short of what they promise to deliver. These are fragile structures that will ultimately collapse. Instead of leaving us hopeless, he shows us how Christ’s definition of us sets us free from the rat race. Cary has a great way of using his own stories to make these truths come alive. As he unpacks Scripture you will find yourself transported back in time walking with Peter and Paul as God remade their identities. As you read this book time will fly and your spirit will be ministered to. 

As you read this book time will fly and your spirit will be ministered to. 

Stop Trying is broken up into three parts. The first part shows us the fragility of the false identities we so often cling to. The second part builds us back up as we learn to find our identity in Jesus. The final part walks us through how Jesus’s definition of us transforms our lives. We learn how Jesus reshapes hardship, resolves fear, grows our resilience, makes peace with the difficult people and situations in our lives, and leads us to worship. Failure and difficulty no longer define us, Jesus does. 

“God often uses suffering and hardship to cause us to look up and face a new direction and cultivate who we are in Christ.” 

On a personal note with what my family is currently walking through, being able to read this book early as a part of the book launch group has been such a timely gift of God’s grace. It reminded me that the gospel makes us so secure in the eternal that we can be resilient with the temporal. God often uses suffering and hardship to cause us to look up and face a new direction and cultivate who we are in Christ. 

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can pre-order your copy here.

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How Do We Navigate Suffering?


Discover how your Christian identity can enable you to walk through the difficulties in your life well while at the same time point people to the one place they can find lasting hope.

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Published by Nick Minerva

Nick Minerva lives in Fresno, California with his wife, Sarah and their four children. He currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Fresno Church where he has been on staff for over 10 years.

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