Readers Encouraged to Journey Through the Past in "Chazown"
- 2006 9 Nov
Author: Craig Groeschel
The prospect of finding one's ultimate purpose in life is simply unfathomable to most people. With so many throughout history and today on an existential search for something beyond the mundane, it is easy to become discouraged with the day-to-day. We all struggle with this, even as Christ followers.
Thankfully, as Craig Groeschel details in his book "Chazown," there is more than just the nine-to-five grind with an occasional weekend getaway. Concentrating on the idea of "Chazown," the Hebrew word for dream or vision, Groeschel emphasizes the relevance of spirituality to all aspects of life and challenges the reader to take faith-testing journeys through their past, with the hope of using their experiences for a better future.
The clarity exhibited in "Chazown" is refreshing. There are times and places for deep philosophical wanderings on one's purpose, but there is also time for simplicity. Beginning with three circles, Groeschel explores how one's core values, spiritual gifts and past experiences intersect to find the center of one's Chazown.
Personally, I found this very helpful and somewhat enlightening. It becomes easy to disregard certain parts of life, especially tainted pasts, as something that can actually enhance one's effectiveness. Scanning the memories of my life, I found myself understanding how I can uniquely use both the good and the bad to realize God's ultimate purpose for me. Visual guides allow for the reader to tangibly understand the possibilities. The book functions as a sort of journal to jot down answers to key questions that Groeschel presents throughout the book. To further the experience, one can log on to Chazown.com and continue their journey more deeply, creating a sort of webpage to write and better understand how God is working in their lives.
The most introspective area of the book is the "Five Spokes of Chazown." Groeschel challenges one to probe deeply into five areas of life that must be examined in order to continue on with the Chazown established in earlier chapters. These spokes, relationship to God, relationship with people, financial health, physical health, and life's work, are all particularly important for Christians in today's society. Groeschel emphasizes the importance of accountability in the area(s) where one may struggle, thus allowing for one's dream to become a healthy reality.
With a simple in-book quiz, one can identify which of the five areas may be of the most concern. This part of the book was truly humbling. It is easy to walk through life and not question how something as simple as my eating or spending habits may affect how I live out God's purpose for my life. While Groeschel suggests that people move forward through the book to the areas where they may struggle, I found it more helpful to read through each spoke, even those that may not have been as applicable. In each spoke, there were areas where I discovered I could better myself even more, and give myself more whole-heartedly to God.
While the information and assistance that Groeschel presents in the book is certainly helpful for a person at any point on the journey through life, the writing style and information seem particularly suited for a younger crowd. The format is not traditional. The pages are often short, with artwork and quotes added in for emphasis. Throughout the book, certain words or quotes are highlighted or even capitalized to emphasize a particular point. It is definitely a book that is relevant to today's youth-oriented, emergent culture.
Although the book is a great bedside read for younger folks, it is universally applicable to Christians and non-Christians. Following a similar pattern to "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, readers are encouraged to seek out truth, a concept that is most satisfied in God. Bible verses are used occasionally, but the concepts are simple and helpful for anyone trying to navigate their way. In fact, this book seems to be even more appropriate for those that may still be exploring what God and faith are all about, and how those intertwine with their walk. As I read this book, I thought of several people that may find encouragement in the detailed plan that Groeschel lays out.
When there is so much confusion in life, especially in times of spiritual discovery, it is helpful to have a starting point, a workbook, or just a voice that is expressing similar dilemmas and thoughts, as Groeschel does. His humor about his own foibles and accomplishments are helpful at reminding one that we are all fallible, but all valued and desired by God for a unique purpose.
People are usually skeptical when it comes to the "personal growth" section of the bookstore, which "Chazown" would fall under. But this book is a valuable tool. Rather than focusing simply on "self", it reiterates the necessity to make our ultimate vision God. We are all tempted to force a vision that may not be what is truly suited to the unique vision God has for us. God places marvelous value on each of our lives. Once we begin to see ourselves as God sees us, as unique masterpieces to do His good works (Ephesians 2:10), we become able to see our true Chazown and bring it to fruition.
© 2006 Infuze Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission.