You may have read my interview with author Lucy Mills, here. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of her book, Undivided Heart, which I have just finished. Reading a little a day quickly became an integral part of my routine – one that I missed on the odd day or two when I couldn’t fit it in.
Written for a predominantly Christian audience, Undivided Heart probably does read easiest if you have got some background in Christianity, but it does have relevance to anyone with a willingness to have a keen look at the priorities and dreams of their heart, and could be very thought-provoking to people from a range of walks of life.
It’s a book I felt safe and companionable in, one I could read slowly and mindfully at my own pace. As I moved through it, I had this great sense of resting in a depth of biblical understanding and insight. Each chapter is full of bible references, used deftly, giving a sense that the Scriptures are written on the heart of the author, woven firmly into the centre of who she is. All the questions she asks in the book are questions that it’s clear she has asked herself, with a conscientious and sincere approach to soul searching.
Lucy’s style is unusual in that it is densely packed with references to the Bible and other reading and with psychological and cultural insights. This detailed and analytical voice can take a bit of getting used to. Counter-culturally, this is a book that cannot be read quickly or skimmed, but, as with many things in life, when you take the time to work through it slowly and attentively it is all the more rewarding. I found it had a deep and soulful impact on my day to day life.
Each morning as I read a little more I felt a closeness to God and an awareness of his Spirit with me. Jesus described the Holy Spirit as a Counsellor and I felt I experienced him as such when I paused at the reflection questions that round off each chapter. This book led me through some of the distractions and pitfalls that can tug at my heart and then on to stand back and breathe in the vast worth of God and of his hope. Reading it was a purifying process.
I have always loved the ‘Aslan’ image of God: gentle yet fierce, kind yet untame, both a friend you can draw near to and a God you can’t help but bow to. This is the God that walks the pages of Lucy’s book.
I thoroughly recommend Undivided Heart, particularly to Christians wanting to slow down and refocus on God amid the fast, demanding pace of modern life. It would make a great Christmas present or advent read or would serve well as a start to the New Year.