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Book review: The Girl De-Construction Project

"Rachel Gardner's book has reminded me that my identity is in Christ," says millennial Sarah Paul

I had wanted to read The Girl De-Construction Project for some time, because, before this Christian book came out, I hadn’t come across any other that tackles some of the big issues that affect Christian girls and young women.

I’m sure many Christian women would agree that, as we strive to grow in our faith, we encounter internal and external challenges that, if we’re not careful, could hold us back – body image and identity are just a couple. So, I find it such an encouragement to have a book written by a woman who has been in the midst of girl issues’ and, by the grace of God, is no longer there. 

The author, Rachel Gardner, understands the pull of the secular world, our conflicts, struggles, heart-aches and insecurities. Through honest, funny anecdotes, and other people’s stories, she deconstructs the voices and identities that the world has put on us. She highlights the deceitfulness of this world and exemplifies and shows us God’s ways and His love for us. It is with compassion and grace that she teaches her readers that God’s voice is always louder than the voice of those around us.

What a great lesson of where our identity and self-worth should be found.

In her first chapter, Body, Rachel explores the theme of image, identity and self-worth. Living in a society that has conflicting views of what the ideal woman’ is, and where women are too often objectified, I personally find it so hard to remember who I am meant to be and where my identity comes from, so this chapter did speak to me. It encouraged me to think about the harsh reality that, by and large, we live in a world that does not treat women equally to men. The #metoo campaign, for instance, raises many questions about how women are seen and valued in society. Is there any surprise, then, that it is all too easy for me, and no doubt many others, to question who I am, both as a woman and a child of God?

Crucially, though, Rachel does not leave us mulling over these challenging and upsetting questions. She helps readers to explore what the Bible says about our identity: we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27)! Where society tells us that we have to fit into its beauty standards, God looks at us as beautiful and good, she shares. Then, pointing to Galatians 3:28, where Paul writes: There is no male nor female, for we are all one in Christ”, Rachel encourages us to look at ourselves through God’s eyes, understanding that we are His dearly loved children, made to be like Him – that is our identity. 

Rachel explains that with this identity comes freedom. Freedom to make our own decisions of what to do with our bodies. Freedom to be who we are. Freedom to follow God’s calling for our lives. We are in control of who we are. However, Rachel talks about what it really means to be in control, pointing us to scripture and how control of our bodies is always understood as the freedom to surrender control to God. Therefore, she expounds, we are free to make decisions about who we are, but we are free to make these decisions in the power of the Holy Spirit and in line with what we know God’s desire is for us. What a great lesson of where our identity and self-worth should be found. This is just a small example of the wisdom and encouragement Rachel speaks about. 

Rachel challenges us, inspires us, and calls us to reflect and think for ourselves.

Along with many other Christian women who have helped me grow in knowing who I am in Christ, Rachel, in her friendly, warm and wise manner, has encouraged me to find my God-given calling and security in my true identity. I wish I had read this book earlier, and I am so glad that I have now. Rachel understands her audience, as she too is a girl (woman) seeking to live the life God wants her to, in all the freedom and fullness that God has given her. This book is an affirmation to all women. Rachel challenges us, inspires us, and calls us to reflect and think for ourselves. 

If you’re a girl or a woman, I encourage you to buy this book. If you’re a man and know a woman, I encourage you to buy this book for her. Rachel speaks with a gentleness, love and grace, which helps us understand our struggles as a woman (girl) of God, and encourages us to run towards God in everything that we do – with our body, mind, soul and strength. She reminds us of just how much God loves us and how He sees us, urging us to live out our lives just how He wants us to. 

About the author

Sarah is a very excitable chocoholic and avid tea-drinker - she talks super-fast and is always full of energy. Sarah has been with the Evangelical Alliance ever since she graduated in 2016 from the University of Nottingham with a degree in English. Having started as an intern, she is now our membership marketing coordinator, looking after all the Evangelical Alliance's personal members, recruiting new members, running the exhibition stands and the Instagram account - @evangelicalalliance.

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