Hot Best Seller

When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace

Availability: Ready to download

This is not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning.  In this hustling, image-forward age of opportunity, women are more anxious than ever. Despite all the affirming memes and self-reflections that dominate social media feeds, approval and worth often seem assigned to what we do rather than who we are. And we end up constantly feeling behind, lacking, and like we' This is not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning.  In this hustling, image-forward age of opportunity, women are more anxious than ever. Despite all the affirming memes and self-reflections that dominate social media feeds, approval and worth often seem assigned to what we do rather than who we are. And we end up constantly feeling behind, lacking, and like we're failing--at home, at work, with friends, with God. Ruth Chou Simons knows something of feeling measured by achievement, performance, and the approval of others. As a Taiwanese immigrant growing up between two cultures, Ruth was always on a mission to prove her worth. Until she came to truly understand the one thing that changes everything: the extravagant, undeserved gift of grace from a merciful God. In When Strivings Cease, Ruth guides us all on a journey to find freedom from the never-ending quest for self-improvement. She shows us how to examine the ways we look to superficial means of acceptance and belonging, and find relief in realizing we can't be so amazing that we won't need grace; stop seeing God as someone we perform for and start finding delight in responding to God's welcome; and find relief from running the hamster wheel of relying on our own strength, our own abilities, and our own savvy--and always coming up short--by truly understanding the freedom Jesus purchased. With personal story, biblical insights, practical applications, and original artwork by Ruth, this book helps us see the truth that God's favor is the only currency we need, because in Christ we are enough.


Compare

This is not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning.  In this hustling, image-forward age of opportunity, women are more anxious than ever. Despite all the affirming memes and self-reflections that dominate social media feeds, approval and worth often seem assigned to what we do rather than who we are. And we end up constantly feeling behind, lacking, and like we' This is not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning.  In this hustling, image-forward age of opportunity, women are more anxious than ever. Despite all the affirming memes and self-reflections that dominate social media feeds, approval and worth often seem assigned to what we do rather than who we are. And we end up constantly feeling behind, lacking, and like we're failing--at home, at work, with friends, with God. Ruth Chou Simons knows something of feeling measured by achievement, performance, and the approval of others. As a Taiwanese immigrant growing up between two cultures, Ruth was always on a mission to prove her worth. Until she came to truly understand the one thing that changes everything: the extravagant, undeserved gift of grace from a merciful God. In When Strivings Cease, Ruth guides us all on a journey to find freedom from the never-ending quest for self-improvement. She shows us how to examine the ways we look to superficial means of acceptance and belonging, and find relief in realizing we can't be so amazing that we won't need grace; stop seeing God as someone we perform for and start finding delight in responding to God's welcome; and find relief from running the hamster wheel of relying on our own strength, our own abilities, and our own savvy--and always coming up short--by truly understanding the freedom Jesus purchased. With personal story, biblical insights, practical applications, and original artwork by Ruth, this book helps us see the truth that God's favor is the only currency we need, because in Christ we are enough.

30 review for When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Becca Iveson

    I purchased When Strivings Cease because I was interested in hearing the story of another Asian-American woman. I read this book expecting God’s truth in action to everyday problems and encouragement to look to Jesus and not to the world for belonging. But as I finished the book, I sat in the discomfort of conviction and the unease of realizing my own areas of striving that need correction. Grace is simple to know, difficult to accept. We desire to earn our place and standing, but at the feet of I purchased When Strivings Cease because I was interested in hearing the story of another Asian-American woman. I read this book expecting God’s truth in action to everyday problems and encouragement to look to Jesus and not to the world for belonging. But as I finished the book, I sat in the discomfort of conviction and the unease of realizing my own areas of striving that need correction. Grace is simple to know, difficult to accept. We desire to earn our place and standing, but at the feet of Jesus we truly have nothing to offer. Ruth so gently brings this to light and in her own description of the book, “It’s not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning… life-changing and not just self- bettering.” Her personal stories of everyday striving are so relatable and she points us to how God speaks to each scenario. “We have to read the story God’s written into our lives through the language and lens of God’s Word. That language and that lens is the love of God- a love that pursues, rescues, redeems, and restores. These stories- our hard stories- don’t exist to highlight our ability to excavate the pits but to show off God’s amazing grace to lift us out.” As a mom with three elementary aged boys, I was encouraged to show God’s grade in the little moments. “True change is made up of a million small, daily, seemingly insignificant choices. The course we take is determined by the minute pivots we make in the direction of our hearts’ desires and core beliefs.” This book is for the woman who thinks she isn’t enough. This book is for the woman whose past guilt overwhelms her. This book is for the woman who feels like a failure. This book holds encouragement, hope, and grace grounded in God’s truth and love.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Broderick

    I resonate so deeply with Ruth's story. Burdened by expectations, confused about the role of grace, and loaded with self-condemnation. This beautiful testimony of the way grace transforms the way we see ourselves and God. Culture today will yell "you are enough," but this is a beautiful reminder that only He is enough. He is holding us, so we can let go of our strivings and rest in his finished work. Easy to read with beautiful artwork throughout, this is the perfect book for any woman strugglin I resonate so deeply with Ruth's story. Burdened by expectations, confused about the role of grace, and loaded with self-condemnation. This beautiful testimony of the way grace transforms the way we see ourselves and God. Culture today will yell "you are enough," but this is a beautiful reminder that only He is enough. He is holding us, so we can let go of our strivings and rest in his finished work. Easy to read with beautiful artwork throughout, this is the perfect book for any woman struggling to accept God's grace for herself and for others.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie McDowall

    “God does not cancel but comforts in your shame. God does not shame you, but Christ bears your shame. God does not stand far off in judgment but runs to you in welcome.” Starting this book, I don’t think I realized how many aspects of my life are controlled by striving - by not seeing myself for who I truly am in Christ - by trying to be the coolest or the best that I “am” but in reality forcing myself to be someone that I am not. When Strivings Cease is a grace-filled look at why we strive. Rut “God does not cancel but comforts in your shame. God does not shame you, but Christ bears your shame. God does not stand far off in judgment but runs to you in welcome.” Starting this book, I don’t think I realized how many aspects of my life are controlled by striving - by not seeing myself for who I truly am in Christ - by trying to be the coolest or the best that I “am” but in reality forcing myself to be someone that I am not. When Strivings Cease is a grace-filled look at why we strive. Ruth Chou Simmons hits on insecurities that cause us to strive but she doesn’t leave us dangling without hope, in fact she joins our world, sharing her own struggles, and consistently pointing us to Christ. Ruth quotes many scriptures as well as “greats of the faith” to support her points, and she does so in a way that you don’t feel mowed down by a mountain lion. Honestly, When Strivings Cease should be a staple in all Christian women’s lives. I plan on re-reading once I get my physical copy of the book. (Partly because I know the artwork will be striking but also because I know I need these truths beat into my thick head!) Thank you to Ruth Chou Simmons, GraceLaced, Netgalley, and the Unmutable team for giving me the chance to be a part of the launch team!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Courtney | Lasting Joy Reads

    This book was good. Really good. I love how personal and relatable Ruth is. Reading this book was like sitting down with an old friend. Ruth shares her childhood experiences as an immigrant family and striving to fit in. Ruth constantly pointed to the gospel truth throughout this book. It was wonderful to read. Culture will tell you that ‘you are enough’, but it’s a wonderful reminder that only God is enough. We need to rest in him and let go of our strivings. We need to be shaped by Gods word a This book was good. Really good. I love how personal and relatable Ruth is. Reading this book was like sitting down with an old friend. Ruth shares her childhood experiences as an immigrant family and striving to fit in. Ruth constantly pointed to the gospel truth throughout this book. It was wonderful to read. Culture will tell you that ‘you are enough’, but it’s a wonderful reminder that only God is enough. We need to rest in him and let go of our strivings. We need to be shaped by Gods word and accept Gods grace. Ruth reminds us that God desires us to know him and enjoy him forever. Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, Gods grace brings freedom and change. I also loved that the title of this book is in one of my favourite songs “In Christ Alone”. I hope that you are able to read this book. I can’t recommend it enough! Thank you @ruthchousimons @gracelaced , Netgalley, and the Unmutable Team for letting me be a part of this launch team!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara Thomas

    Sitting down with this book is like having a conversation with a dear friend who really gets it, who has stood in your shoes and can empathize with the struggle of not measuring up, feeling unseen and unwelcome. Ruth is not afraid to call it like it is and push back against the trend of self-help, do more to be better, 5 step plans to arrive in this world. But then she draws you close and reminds you that while you can never possibly be enough, you don’t have to be. You are not alone or unseen a Sitting down with this book is like having a conversation with a dear friend who really gets it, who has stood in your shoes and can empathize with the struggle of not measuring up, feeling unseen and unwelcome. Ruth is not afraid to call it like it is and push back against the trend of self-help, do more to be better, 5 step plans to arrive in this world. But then she draws you close and reminds you that while you can never possibly be enough, you don’t have to be. You are not alone or unseen and you can stop carrying the weight of trying. I found it to be so encouraging to read chapter after chapter that had me saying, “Yes! this is exactly how I feel!“ and to be reminded of this counter cultural truth that I don’t have to be enough because Jesus is; I am welcome and belong simply because Jesus says I am. Ruth reminds you, with honesty and gentleness, that God’s grace is sufficient and unfailing. If you’ve ever found yourself battling fear and shame and questioning your worth and welcome, let Ruth pull you along the journey to remind you that your rest and worth are in far more capable hands than your own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Holly Stanford

    When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons is a book that makes you question why you do the things you do. Are you striving to please people or God? Do you give up for fear that you are not good enough for God? Ruth helps you realize that God provides us grace. We need to lean into God’s grace so that we won’t be exhausted trying to please people or live up to the so called standards of culture. Instead of being shaped by culture, we need to be shaped by God’s word and accept God’s grace because w When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons is a book that makes you question why you do the things you do. Are you striving to please people or God? Do you give up for fear that you are not good enough for God? Ruth helps you realize that God provides us grace. We need to lean into God’s grace so that we won’t be exhausted trying to please people or live up to the so called standards of culture. Instead of being shaped by culture, we need to be shaped by God’s word and accept God’s grace because we will never be perfect. God is after our hearts, not perfection. As Ruth reminds us, God desires for us to desire Him (God) and for God’s glory to be made known through our life. Jesus paid our debts through His death and resurrection. “The only hope we have for feeling the freedom of a debt cancelled and paid for, and believing we are no longer condemned, is to continually dwell and rest in the exceedingly greater power of God’s love to rescue us. To drink of His cup of salvation and to turn to no other.” We do not owe God payment. God wants our gratitude, surrender, and for us to glorify Him. Ruth teaches us that, “Jesus sets the example for us to anchor our Hope and defense in the Word of God. Renewing our minds with the truth of our salvation leads to transformation and steadiness of thought, and therein lies the secret to fighting the spirit of fear with the spirit of power and love.” As a person who struggles with wanting to please others, I found this book helpful. It reminds me to keep my focus on God, His words, His grace, and His forgiveness. It’s a reminder to stay in God’s word, allowing it to fill my heart and mind. This will help me look to Him instead of others for joy and standards to live by. It will help me fight off fears.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosslyn

    Another gem by Ruth Chou Simons. A thoughtful, thought-provoking read that will cause you to question how you currently understand and apply grace. Ruth shares candidly about her transition, culturally and spiritually, to a new life of allowing God’s grace to transform her every day. Highlighter at the ready, you are going to want to use it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    In just a few hundred pages, Ruth Chou Simons shares personal stories and scripture that demonstrate why striving apart from God hurts us. Working to earn approval, security, and even salvation is counter to what grace is — a gift freely given. This hit me hard: Striving to benefit me is not the same as striving out of God’s love for me. Ruth’s honest encouragement, grounded in the word of God, can help even the busiest, most task-oriented, goal-minded, achievement-driven person stop and think a In just a few hundred pages, Ruth Chou Simons shares personal stories and scripture that demonstrate why striving apart from God hurts us. Working to earn approval, security, and even salvation is counter to what grace is — a gift freely given. This hit me hard: Striving to benefit me is not the same as striving out of God’s love for me. Ruth’s honest encouragement, grounded in the word of God, can help even the busiest, most task-oriented, goal-minded, achievement-driven person stop and think about the ‘why’ behind all of it. This book certainly did that for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Hollatz

    4.25 stars. This was a wonderfully written memoir focused on trading self-improvement for the Gospel. With soul-stirring reflections and deep scriptural analysis, Ruth brings her strong voice to the conversation, urging others to accept grace instead of finding their identity in good works. I also loved reading Ruth’s perspective as a Chinese immigrant which made the book feel even more special. Everything from the art to the writing was so well done. I connected more to the first part of this b 4.25 stars. This was a wonderfully written memoir focused on trading self-improvement for the Gospel. With soul-stirring reflections and deep scriptural analysis, Ruth brings her strong voice to the conversation, urging others to accept grace instead of finding their identity in good works. I also loved reading Ruth’s perspective as a Chinese immigrant which made the book feel even more special. Everything from the art to the writing was so well done. I connected more to the first part of this book than the second part, but I’d absolutely recommend this book to other Believers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    Ruth Chou Simons combines memoir elements with biblical reflection in this book, writing about her lifelong struggle to feel good enough. She weaves in stories from her childhood experiences in an immigrant family, her young adult years searching for purpose, and current struggles in her adult life, emphasizing that no matter how hard we try to satisfy ourselves and please others, we can never reach the true self-optimization and perfection that we seek. She encourages her readers to stop runnin Ruth Chou Simons combines memoir elements with biblical reflection in this book, writing about her lifelong struggle to feel good enough. She weaves in stories from her childhood experiences in an immigrant family, her young adult years searching for purpose, and current struggles in her adult life, emphasizing that no matter how hard we try to satisfy ourselves and please others, we can never reach the true self-optimization and perfection that we seek. She encourages her readers to stop running the race of self-improvement and run towards Jesus instead, since only the gospel of grace is big enough, deep enough, and true enough to anchor our souls, give us purpose, and give us identities that no personal failures, regrets, or life struggles can shake. Deep and Honest Although I have read many other books with this same theme, Simons addresses it particularly well, especially since she delves into emotional wounds from her past. She doesn't overshare or go into lots of detail, but she writes sincerely about brokenness in her life without trying to make it seem quirky, cute, or relatable. Since I am leery of Christian women's books that focus on surface-level issues or try to make the author seem like your quirky best friend, I appreciate the depth, honesty, and seriousness that Simons brings to her subject. This was my first time reading a full-length book from her, and it definitely made me want to read more. Also, her reflections about the ideological divisions of 2020 were actually helpful and healing to me, instead of just stirring up all the of the same grinding rage and anxiety again. When Strivings Cease addresses universal issues related to personal striving, approval-seeking, looking for belonging, and dealing with shame. Simons shares biblical teaching about these issues with a sense of openness about her particular experiences, writing with confidence in her Asian identity and her personality. Even though I do not share her background, it was a breath of fresh air to read something from such a distinctive perspective. Many white evangelical women write with popular vernacular, references, and illustrations that I don't relate to at all, so I really enjoyed this author's unique, different, and personal touch, from the stories she told to the beautiful Asian-style art that she created for the book. Life-Changing Grace Most importantly, Simons writes beautifully about God's grace, explaining key attributes of the gospel in the second half of the book. She writes primarily to Christian women who are trying to please God and feel at peace through their own efforts, and who have never understood the gospel’s full implications. This book can be very helpful for women who are curious about faith, but Simons writes primarily to women who are already Christians, but who live as if God has only forgiven them on the condition that they now please Him through their own efforts. Simons writes about the depth and fullness of true gospel grace, and even though it is old news to me, it is the best news there is. Finally grasping the full gospel was life-changing for me many years ago, and When Strivings Cease can create that moment of freedom for other women.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Sarah

    We live in a time and place now, more than ever, where people want more for and in their lives. We run ourselves ragged trying to find or be the next best thing. To prove to ourselves and/or others that we are someone. We find the newest trends, turn to “how to” instructional books, podcasts, seminars, etc. to help guide us on how to manage our lives. Whether you are hoping to be the next big thing or just looking for enough attention to make you feel better about yourselves. You won’t find peac We live in a time and place now, more than ever, where people want more for and in their lives. We run ourselves ragged trying to find or be the next best thing. To prove to ourselves and/or others that we are someone. We find the newest trends, turn to “how to” instructional books, podcasts, seminars, etc. to help guide us on how to manage our lives. Whether you are hoping to be the next big thing or just looking for enough attention to make you feel better about yourselves. You won’t find peace or rest in life if that is what you are continually pursuing. The only place you can have complete wholeness and satisfaction is in Christ Jesus, His grace is all we need.   I have found this to be true and revealed to me in reading Ruth Chou Simons newest book When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with The Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace.  Ruth Goes through several deep and personal struggles she has faced from the time she was young child to situations she continues to face as an adult, wife, mother, business owner, author, artist, and friend. In her book When Strivings Cease, she refers to God’s Word to show us and teach us that all the striving we do in and of ourselves isn’t the life God made us for. He created us for Him, and our worth comes from Him and Him alone, His Grace Saves Us. It is God’s Grace over our lives that is the ultimate solution. Knowing God, drawing near to Him is the only place we will have peace and rest.   So much of this book resonates with my own life currently. I have always been a people pleaser, my entire life has been filled with years and years of always trying to do everything and anything I can to help others, even if they don’t ask. This year alone, aside from covid, was probably my most challenging year. But after reading When Strivings Cease, so much of what I do has been put into perspective. God’s Grace is more then enough for me, He guides my way, He leads me where He needs me, as I trust in Him, spend time with Him, who I am in Him will be more prevalent than who I thought I was to be.     If you are struggling with striving, looking for acceptance, if you are tired and weary because you feel like you can’t take a break and if peace can’t be found in your chaos. I highly recommend picking up a copy of When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with The Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace. Your heart will be blessed, your thinking will change, but most of all your relationship with the Lord will grow deeper and His grace will be revealed to you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Weston

    When Strivings Cease was a very intimate look into how Ruth Chou Simons came to understand and be okay with herself. "This book is the hard-won, mended soil I've learned to cultivate in the last two decades of my life." And she shows you how she worked this all out. In her own words..."...what actually changed everything for me in this unending search for adequacy, enoughness, whatever you want to call it, was truly understanding God's grace - by which I mean, reclaiming it from its trite usage a When Strivings Cease was a very intimate look into how Ruth Chou Simons came to understand and be okay with herself. "This book is the hard-won, mended soil I've learned to cultivate in the last two decades of my life." And she shows you how she worked this all out. In her own words..."...what actually changed everything for me in this unending search for adequacy, enoughness, whatever you want to call it, was truly understanding God's grace - by which I mean, reclaiming it from its trite usage and looking at it from a biblical point of view - and I almost missed it. It almost seemed too simple, or like there should be more to it, but this is what I've learned takes us from a place of starving to living fully into our spiritual potential as image bearers of a bigger-than-we-think God. I've learned that what I needed was more than the latest prescription; I needed a proper diagnosis and a true solution for my endless striving. That's the journey I want us to undertake together here. It's not a call to get busy; it's a call to get discerning. Because what we've been busy doing isn't working." There is a lot in the world today talking about how we are enough. But are we? Ruth answers this question. "Is it possible that we keep trying to answer the wrong question - 'Am I enough?' - when we're really wanting to know: 'Is God enough?' The answer to the latter will satisfy the first." And in answering the question about our enoughness, Ruth would rather "peel back the layers of why we continue in the cycle of thinking enoughness is attainable by our own means. And how all that striving has to do with what we really think about God's grace. We keep trying to squeeze life out of a means that never matched the end. God gives his freedom and welcome in his way. And, truth is, this faulty framework and insufficient understanding of approval leaves us with only one of two options: We either keep striving - bending, maneuvering, adapting - to be what we think is required of us. Or, alternatively, we give up pleasing anyone else - including God - and only seek to please ourselves. You see, friend, if we believe it's up to us to be pleasing and enough, we can only try harder or stop caring altogether. Neither is what God intended for you." Ruth uses her life experiences to weave a story showing how we can get over our enoughness. I thoroughly enjoyed her stories, which read like a memoir that melted into how these experiences relate to lessons we learn from God's Word. It's a perfect blend of sound Biblical knowledge and personal reflection. I highly recommend this book. BONUS: This book has some of Ruth's beautiful artwork.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amber Thiessen

    {First posted https://www.amberthiessen.com/post/wh...} We wear many hats in life. We may be mothers, daughters, sisters; nurses, teachers or marketers. We are church members, community members, sometimes gym members. We serve those around us, getting busy doing all the ‘right’ things, yet wonder why we feel empty and weary. When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace by Ruth Chou Simons equips us to face those questions. Her aim in writ {First posted https://www.amberthiessen.com/post/wh...} We wear many hats in life. We may be mothers, daughters, sisters; nurses, teachers or marketers. We are church members, community members, sometimes gym members. We serve those around us, getting busy doing all the ‘right’ things, yet wonder why we feel empty and weary. When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace by Ruth Chou Simons equips us to face those questions. Her aim in writing is to help us “realign with what it really means to trust in the grace of God. And to stop thinking of your relationship with Jesus as something adequate to save you from eternal despair but not enough to secure your identity here and now.” The first section helps us identify what holds us back from serving in a place of grace. She challenges us to consider how much we do in order to gain approval, meet personal expectations of perfection, or to avoid deep-seated shame. “I wonder how many times I’ve forfeited freedom in doing what God’s called me to do because I’ve been more aware of my performance than God’s purpose in creating me for the task.” The second section introduces us to a life of striving in grace; how we can live in forgiveness, freedom and faith to serve the Lord in all we do by keeping the gospel at the forefront. In all my own comings and goings, the different hats that I wear, I constantly reflect on my reasons and intentions within it all; realigning my mindset, my heart and my identity to grace and not works-it’s a daily battle. Yet, what a beautiful place this is to sit! There’s so much freedom to serve the Lord by grace and through faith; none of it is my own doing, it’s all his! And from that place of grace the Lord Jesus has equipped us for good works (Eph 2:8-10), that we would do them, not sit with our feet propped up until he returns. Friend, this is a good word for us today. Whether we’re struggling with perfectionism, fears or purpose, the gospel gives us our firm foundation, the answer to the fulfillment we’re searching for, and the strength in our weariness. It boils down to what we truly believe about God, and about ourselves. Where we place our worth and how we live it out. If this sounds like what you need right now, I’d encourage you to head on over and order it! Quick Stats # of pages: 224 Level of Difficulty: Easy My Rating: 5 stars!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    It is easy to get caught up thinking we earn our own salvation, or that it is God’s gift plus what I can do that earns God’s favor. It is sometimes hard to live in the space of really believing in grace, that God gives us things we don’t deserve or earn. And it can be even harder to realize that we can’t change ourselves deep down at our core, that change can only come with God’s working in our lives. Ruth Chou-Simmons talks about her own struggles and progress in each of these areas as an Asian It is easy to get caught up thinking we earn our own salvation, or that it is God’s gift plus what I can do that earns God’s favor. It is sometimes hard to live in the space of really believing in grace, that God gives us things we don’t deserve or earn. And it can be even harder to realize that we can’t change ourselves deep down at our core, that change can only come with God’s working in our lives. Ruth Chou-Simmons talks about her own struggles and progress in each of these areas as an Asian American child of immigrants, a driven person, who was taught to just work harder to accomplish anything. She shares the truths God has taught her over her life, and what those truths have changed in her life and walk with God. She never shares from a place of saying she’s arrived, but as someone in process willing to walk alongside others in process too. I related to a lot of the author’s stories. As someone who has worked in Asia almost 2 decades, I definitely have had some of that Asian mindset rub off on me. I get it. Maybe not in the same way the author does, but in a tangential way. I also was raised a hard worker who wanted to please others with her performance. So I get that part too. Nothing Ruth Chou Simmons shares is revolutionary, but they are excellent reminders, and she communicates them with love, touches of humor, and humility that is encouraging to others. I can see this being instrumental in the lives of many Christians in helping them get their walk with God and life in general in a healthier spot. Highly recommended. No content issues. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book provides amazing insight on grace; I listened to the audiobook and I frequently rewound to certain phrases because I was struck by how significant the truths were in reframing striving and grace. Ruth Chou Simons observes how we live in a self-help culture in which we are always striving. I resonated with so much of this book, not only because of some shared and familiar cultural traditions and background, but because of the question of how much and when is enough when it comes to a de This book provides amazing insight on grace; I listened to the audiobook and I frequently rewound to certain phrases because I was struck by how significant the truths were in reframing striving and grace. Ruth Chou Simons observes how we live in a self-help culture in which we are always striving. I resonated with so much of this book, not only because of some shared and familiar cultural traditions and background, but because of the question of how much and when is enough when it comes to a desire to achieve and a desire for acceptance and belonging. She illustrates God’s grace in these moments and reflects on the challenges associated with accepting the gift of grace. Grace is simple and yet profound. Grace enables forgiveness and a reframing of the disappointments of life; it involves ceding control and accepting God’s mercy. RCS examines some of the cultural traditions of Chinese red envelopes and of keeping track of gifts and repaying debts in order to save face. She draws on these examples to discuss expectations, self-righteousness, and how grace helps us so that we can forgive and find freedom. I thought it was important for RCS to note that there isn’t a to-do list upon finishing the book but learning the process of discernment when it comes to working hard and doing good works. Ultimately, God is enough. I do realize that everything I’ve written sounds very general, but Simons has an entirely fresh and original way of communicating the depth of God’s grace and how this grace enables us to grasp God’s mercy and let go of our own striving. This is a book I will reread.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    If you struggle with thoughts of how you measure up to expectations or feeling like you are exhausted holding your life together, Ruth Chou Simons puts together a biblical guide to learning to reset your heart to focus on the grace upon grace that is more than sufficient to help us through the struggles of life and the expectations our culture places on us! She uses her own life vulnerably as an example of how one can go years living in a mentality of striving even after embracing the gospel. Sh If you struggle with thoughts of how you measure up to expectations or feeling like you are exhausted holding your life together, Ruth Chou Simons puts together a biblical guide to learning to reset your heart to focus on the grace upon grace that is more than sufficient to help us through the struggles of life and the expectations our culture places on us! She uses her own life vulnerably as an example of how one can go years living in a mentality of striving even after embracing the gospel. She allows you to see that it takes a daily renewing our minds to actually believe this grace we’ve been given! I appreciated Ruth’s goal, “My goal is to help you realign with what it really means to trust in the grace of God. And to stop thinking of your relationship with Jesus as something adequate to save you from eternal despair but not enough to secure your identity here and now.” Even Christian self-help books often miss the fact that we are striving to be wonder women rather than women who stand in wonder of God’s undeserved grace overflowing in our lives! That is how we can find true joy and true fulfillment only when we see that we’ve been given all we need by the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus adorning our ugly sin with His righteousness! Ruth nails it, “We’re practically hooked up to our self-bettering resources intravenously, so dependent on the latest content in books, podcasts, webinars, and more that we think continually about ourselves: Who am I? What’s my purpose? How do I belong? Am I enough? Does anyone love me? There’s nothing wrong with these questions; the answers just were never meant to be found within ourselves.” But Ruth’s book continually redirects the reader to the Bible and reminds us that this is a daily battle, “I want you to know that realigning your mind, heart, and identity to grace, not works is a daily battle. Don’t be surprised when it’s minute by minute. Don’t be surprised when it’s not instant change. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself needing, once again, to speak against the Enemy’s taunts of discouragement, doubt, and derailing fear.” I highly highly recommend this book to worriers, strivers, rule-followers, controlling types— Basically people like me, who even though their minds know the truth their hearts need to hear it over and over again especially with circumstances (like a worldwide pandemic, political unrest, losing loved ones suddenly, empty nesting…) need to remember that God’s strength is shown in our weakness and we can completely be still and rest in His sovereignty—leading to relief and rejuvenation for our weary souls!

  17. 5 out of 5

    TheReedBookNook

    When Strivings Cease:Replacing The Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace by Ruth Chou Simons  In a culture of self help, self improvement, and performance based behavior, this book teaches that the only way to live a joyful life is through the grace of Christ.  Ruth is every honest and open about her struggle with performance and the expectations placed on her as an Asian-American. She talks about things from her childhood that shaped her thinking and belief system. When Strivings Cease:Replacing The Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace by Ruth Chou Simons  In a culture of self help, self improvement, and performance based behavior, this book teaches that the only way to live a joyful life is through the grace of Christ.  Ruth is every honest and open about her struggle with performance and the expectations placed on her as an Asian-American. She talks about things from her childhood that shaped her thinking and belief system. "Grace, on the other hand, is counter-cultural with its self sufficiency and its relinquishing power." This book shows how self help is a prison and a never ending cycle; "a hamster wheel of striving." God's grace brings freedom and change. Trying to make ourselves worthy or better does nothing for us. We can never measure up on our own. We need the grace of Jesus and the newness he brings.  This book has two parts. Part 1 shows us what happens when striving isn't enough. And part 2 teaches about the change grace brings My favorite quote in the book is "...we can't know freedom if we expect grace to make us merely better, rather than completely new. Better seeks to measure up; completely new requires a miracle." This is so amazing to me because I too try to be better rather than clinging to the Grace of God to make me completely new. I learned so much and love the message of this book. Having this grace doesn't ensure a perfect life, we will have suffering, but Jesus holds all things together and he is good! And daily reminding ourselves of this free gift of grace helps us live a life of freedom  This book would be amazing for anyone, but specifically anyone who is struggling with being enough, shame, wanting to belong, fear, and forgiveness. It opens our eyes to how grace is enough to changes us. 

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Ruth Chou Simons touches on a topic that we all know a little too well. Standards. Self-made standards, not thinking we are enough for anyone, not enough for ourselves or even God. We try and measure up to everyone else. We set the bar so high that we start to think that we will never reach our goal. Envy, discontent and selfishness sets in. She reflects back on her own life and shares how her daily walk with Christ has blossomed through God’s word and how it has turned those exact thoughts into Ruth Chou Simons touches on a topic that we all know a little too well. Standards. Self-made standards, not thinking we are enough for anyone, not enough for ourselves or even God. We try and measure up to everyone else. We set the bar so high that we start to think that we will never reach our goal. Envy, discontent and selfishness sets in. She reflects back on her own life and shares how her daily walk with Christ has blossomed through God’s word and how it has turned those exact thoughts into contentment when surrender took place. Her stories and God’s truths are woven together into a beautifully written book that will help you remember how great our God is. “God desires to prove his faithfulness through our surrender in our weaknesses, but so often we choose to resist his help, clinging to our own determination to prove ourselves strong. We’d rather limp along in our striving than surrender in weakness.” Because of God’s sacrifice, because of God’s love, because of God’s forgiveness and because of God’s grace, GOD IS ENOUGH. This book is for everyone. God’s word is true and living, so whether you’re longing to find peace in your every day life and need to stop measuring yourself up to standards of the world, or you’re in a season in fellowship with sisters in Christ, When Strivings Cease is the book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Connie Couto

    Are we striving for self improvement or are we resting in God's grace? Ruth Chou Simons takes the well of God's grace and pours it into this book. We try to be people pleasers and are hard to please at the same time. We live in a world where we have to be better, bigger and more than we were yesterday. And all in our own power. Atleast that's what the world wants you to believe. " 'Try Harder' is the regime of an Enemy that knows we will be deceived into thinking we can manage or control our ci Are we striving for self improvement or are we resting in God's grace? Ruth Chou Simons takes the well of God's grace and pours it into this book. We try to be people pleasers and are hard to please at the same time. We live in a world where we have to be better, bigger and more than we were yesterday. And all in our own power. Atleast that's what the world wants you to believe. " 'Try Harder' is the regime of an Enemy that knows we will be deceived into thinking we can manage or control our circumstances in order to gain what was meant to be only attainable through God's provision." This book opened up insights into my life, helped me see things from a different view. From God's view and with God's grace. Almost like Ruth was sitting with me and a cup of coffee. (Not a bad idea 😉). When Strivings Cease is a wonderful book for anyone who is trying to figure things out in their own power and strength and is tired and worn out from it. Anyone holding on to shame and guilt.This quote struck me hard: "I feel like I've known shame-and the accompanying need to prove my worthiness or outrun my feelings of inadequacy- my whole life" This book is for you. So so good. Thanks Netgalley for the ARC

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen Powers

    Ruth Chou Simons has a beautiful spirit and it shines through in this book. When Strivings Cease is a call to change our perspectives of the anxieties and demands of life. Ruth’s ability to make her readers feel like she is sitting across from us discussing life together is such a gift. As a reader, I feel like she is reminding me, as a dear friend would, that God’s love does not depend on my ability to perform. He isn’t seeking perfection. He does not expect me to carry the loads of life by mys Ruth Chou Simons has a beautiful spirit and it shines through in this book. When Strivings Cease is a call to change our perspectives of the anxieties and demands of life. Ruth’s ability to make her readers feel like she is sitting across from us discussing life together is such a gift. As a reader, I feel like she is reminding me, as a dear friend would, that God’s love does not depend on my ability to perform. He isn’t seeking perfection. He does not expect me to carry the loads of life by myself. He still welcomes me into His presence, even when I feel most unworthy. One of my favorite quotes comes early in the book…”It’s not a call to get busy; it’s a call to get discerning.” That is at the base of changing perspective. Ruth helps us see more clearly that we are called to understand what it really means to live in God’s grace. We aren’t called to continue in the performance of busyness. Instead, we can understand that this is a process and, until we allow ourselves to trust God’s ability over our own, we will continue to find this life wanting. In a world of performance based expectations, Ruth Chou Simon’s book comes at the perfect time as a reminder to allow ourselves the grace to breathe. As we are reminded of God’s loving grace, we can literally feel weight lifting off of our shoulders. This book is for anyone seeking to step closer into the embrace of God and His amazing grace.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karen Jones

    This book takes the reader on a journey to freedom from the chains of “enoughness” that bind and keep us feeling like we never quite measure up. I was riveted from page 1! Ruth has a way of poking just hard enough for us to see our own sin and struggles with striving, yet so lovingly and tenderly pointing us back to the One who frees us from our sin and striving. This is NOT another “self-help” book. It is all about how God helps us, through His amazing grace, to live in freedom. If you are stri This book takes the reader on a journey to freedom from the chains of “enoughness” that bind and keep us feeling like we never quite measure up. I was riveted from page 1! Ruth has a way of poking just hard enough for us to see our own sin and struggles with striving, yet so lovingly and tenderly pointing us back to the One who frees us from our sin and striving. This is NOT another “self-help” book. It is all about how God helps us, through His amazing grace, to live in freedom. If you are striving to please others, striving for attention, striving to be good enough, striving for approval, striving for perfection, striving to belong, striving to outrun guilt & shame, or striving to have it all, you need to read this book and discover how God’s grace changes everything. I would recommend this book to anyone who is worn out from working so hard to measure up and wants to have a fresh perspective on the power of God’s grace in the life of a believer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Williston

    This is the book I’ve been needing lately. The first part goes through many of the ways we “strive”, trying to fix ourselves or earn grace. And the second part shows many of the ways we can experience grace. It’s full of stories, which makes it relatable and easy to read, and is bathed in Biblical truths. What resonated most with me was the reminder that the gospel of grace is not just for salvation but for our whole spiritual journey. God does all the heavy lifting the whole way. If you are weary This is the book I’ve been needing lately. The first part goes through many of the ways we “strive”, trying to fix ourselves or earn grace. And the second part shows many of the ways we can experience grace. It’s full of stories, which makes it relatable and easy to read, and is bathed in Biblical truths. What resonated most with me was the reminder that the gospel of grace is not just for salvation but for our whole spiritual journey. God does all the heavy lifting the whole way. If you are weary and want rest or are tired of never feeling good enough, this book will be balm for your soul.

  23. 5 out of 5

    BrontëKas

    “The good life isn’t the absence of heartache; it’s the presence of God, by grace, in the midst of it. Our hope in the midst of hardship is that Jesus doesn’t just work things out for our good—he is our good.” I honestly loved this book. Ruth Chou Simons humbly shares her ongoing battle with perfectionism, pride, and personal standards. She explains how the gospel offers rest from striving, allowing us the freedom to faithfully pursue Christ. When Strivings Cease is biblically sound and gospel s “The good life isn’t the absence of heartache; it’s the presence of God, by grace, in the midst of it. Our hope in the midst of hardship is that Jesus doesn’t just work things out for our good—he is our good.” I honestly loved this book. Ruth Chou Simons humbly shares her ongoing battle with perfectionism, pride, and personal standards. She explains how the gospel offers rest from striving, allowing us the freedom to faithfully pursue Christ. When Strivings Cease is biblically sound and gospel saturated. Simons walks the tightrope of faith-works, grace-obedience masterfully. Highly recommend for all Recovering Legalists.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    When Strivings Cease is the most helpful book I’ve read in a long time. There were a couple chapters where I found myself tearing up, because the weariness of endless striving has deeply affected my own life, and I’ve never heard anyone describe it quite in this way. Ruth’s story hit home for me, but it’s her focus on biblical that truly impacted me. All the self-improvement books, media, and expectations that are thrown our way beckon us to keep striving, but God calls us to put down our shovel When Strivings Cease is the most helpful book I’ve read in a long time. There were a couple chapters where I found myself tearing up, because the weariness of endless striving has deeply affected my own life, and I’ve never heard anyone describe it quite in this way. Ruth’s story hit home for me, but it’s her focus on biblical that truly impacted me. All the self-improvement books, media, and expectations that are thrown our way beckon us to keep striving, but God calls us to put down our shovels and rest in His all-sufficiency. When Strivings Cease feels like an deep exhale—an invitation to lay hold all of the gift of grace that’s been set before us. I’d recommend it to anyone!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liza Tabita

    This book is…waw. It hits right in your pride and hope to be more, do more, leave a legacy, let them remember you kind of thing. For me this book was eye opening, I did not realize how easy it is to shift your focus from grace to do something to deserve your salvation. I thought that my struggle was a sign of being a good mom, a good christian, but all my good intentions lost their focus ( sometimes). Turning back to the book, Ruth presents the beauty of grace and the trap that the enemy tries to This book is…waw. It hits right in your pride and hope to be more, do more, leave a legacy, let them remember you kind of thing. For me this book was eye opening, I did not realize how easy it is to shift your focus from grace to do something to deserve your salvation. I thought that my struggle was a sign of being a good mom, a good christian, but all my good intentions lost their focus ( sometimes). Turning back to the book, Ruth presents the beauty of grace and the trap that the enemy tries to set in front of us by making us strive for less that God’s presence. I think this book is the most personal book from Ruth and it strikes right in the heart.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Predolich

    "When Strivings Cease" is a breath of fresh air, like you're sitting down with Ruth over a cup of coffee and chatting for hours about life. So much of what she talks about in this book resonated with me: feeling like I have to earn my place in the presence of God and with others, feeling like I can never measure up. This message of the true grace of God is freeing and life-giving. Every soul needs to soak in the truths Ruth presents. "When Strivings Cease" is a breath of fresh air, like you're sitting down with Ruth over a cup of coffee and chatting for hours about life. So much of what she talks about in this book resonated with me: feeling like I have to earn my place in the presence of God and with others, feeling like I can never measure up. This message of the true grace of God is freeing and life-giving. Every soul needs to soak in the truths Ruth presents.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    An encouraging Biblically-based book from Ruth Chou Simons that delves into her background story. I was moved by her drive to “earn grace”, a deeply held default belief that it was more important to “do” than to “be”. It’s worth the price of the book just to savor her take on the Prodigal Son passage, seen through the lens of the “saving face” concept of her Chinese heritage. I’ve marked that chapter and will be re-reading on repeat. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Reading this book is like sitting down to a cup of coffee with a wide friend. Ruth’s vulnerability and stories woven in seamlessly with rich scripture truth is just what my striving soul needed to captivate my attention. The content is rich, cover (with or without dust jacket!) is BEAUTIFUL, and calling to God’s perfect grace is so needed in today’s culture of self improvement. “If there is a gospel of self-improvement, it’s a damning one. It is a gospel that is not good news at all; it will wall Reading this book is like sitting down to a cup of coffee with a wide friend. Ruth’s vulnerability and stories woven in seamlessly with rich scripture truth is just what my striving soul needed to captivate my attention. The content is rich, cover (with or without dust jacket!) is BEAUTIFUL, and calling to God’s perfect grace is so needed in today’s culture of self improvement. “If there is a gospel of self-improvement, it’s a damning one. It is a gospel that is not good news at all; it will wall you off, shrivel you up and destroy your sensitivity to God’s pursuit. This is why it must be utterly destroyed and replaced with the true gospel of life-transforming grace. Only the grace of God is enough to bring us home, make us worthy, and keep us in the love of God.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pam Burnett Lehman

    (Read ARC) In this beautiful book, Ruth Chou Simons shares her personal struggles with perfection. Her journey warns the reader that our constant longing for self-improvement threatens to destroy the peace that is ours to claim as a child of God. This book speaks to me as I’m learning to resist the temptation to seek personal validation in my retirement. By the grace of God, I now have the freedom to accept the opportunities that God sends each day. Regardless of your season, this timely message (Read ARC) In this beautiful book, Ruth Chou Simons shares her personal struggles with perfection. Her journey warns the reader that our constant longing for self-improvement threatens to destroy the peace that is ours to claim as a child of God. This book speaks to me as I’m learning to resist the temptation to seek personal validation in my retirement. By the grace of God, I now have the freedom to accept the opportunities that God sends each day. Regardless of your season, this timely message will encourage you to lay down your strivings in order to to receive the joy that God provides when you live out his purpose in your life!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Stuart

    As a mom who always feels like there is more to be done or to improve, this book was a good challenge. Ruth is honest and vulnerable about her journey as she has let God transform her striving to a mind fixed on his grace. I was encouraged and blessed as I read the pages. I could relate to her heart as she shared about how her view of God had to change in order for her beliefs and actions to change. This book is a spiritually rich and beautifully simple read. I am sure you will find blessings in As a mom who always feels like there is more to be done or to improve, this book was a good challenge. Ruth is honest and vulnerable about her journey as she has let God transform her striving to a mind fixed on his grace. I was encouraged and blessed as I read the pages. I could relate to her heart as she shared about how her view of God had to change in order for her beliefs and actions to change. This book is a spiritually rich and beautifully simple read. I am sure you will find blessings in these pages.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...