Lisa-Jo Baker's first book, Surprised By Motherhood, ministered to my heart so much. So when I heard she had a new book coming out, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. Never Unfriended is a calling to be the friend you want to have, to be a lasting friend. It's not a book about how to find or make friends, but rather a look at the person of Jesus, the One that will never unfriend us.
Ultimately, the message of the book is about learning from Jesus to be like Jesus to those around us. We simply cannot be the perfect friend. But in Christ, we can know who He is and aim to be like Him and share His grace; in Christ, we can love well, seek forgiveness, and live intentionally; in Christ we can learn to be gospel-centered friends and create gospel-saturated community. I really loved this book. Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker was truly timely and spoke straight to my heart to encourage and convict.
The book is split into four parts:
Part 1: What Are We Afraid of?
Part 2: What Can't We Do About It?
Part 3: What Can We Do About It?
Part 4: Where Do We Start?
And each part is separated into distinct chapters that help you look at friendship in a deeper way. Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
“The parable of the Good Samaritan isn't about identifying your neighbor; it's about being a neighbor. In essence, it's about being the kind of friend you wish you had.” (page 4)
Many things made me chuckle as I read through the book. The talk about the awkwardness of church greeting time for introverts was so funny. (And so true.) At the same time, many things made me stop and think and process. Lisa-Jo has a way of lovingly helping you look back on how you could have done things differently and look ahead at how you can improve.
Never Unfriended reminded me to be an initiator, to be willing to initiate whether I'm the new girl or I'm around the new girl. I've been the new girl countless times throughout my life, and Lisa-Jo's words about fears and courage, forgiveness and healing were some I really needed to hear. The words about forgiveness were so good (in the this stings a little but I really need to keep reading type of good). And I'm grateful she talked about boundaries in relationships as well. Lisa-Jo remarkably addressed hospitality and grief. And when she discussed the tension of celebrating even when you don't feel like it, like many other times in the book, I felt like she was talking directly to me. Her words reminded me to practice the discipline of listening well. And I was reminded over and over again that is okay to be awkward. In fact, it is necessary. You have to push through the awkward to get to the deep and the lasting and the genuine.
It is a gift to be available, to listen intently, to choose to be vulnerable. It is healthy and good to choose celebration instead of comparison and hospitality instead of perfection. And it all fosters friendship. But we must also give ourselves the grace to remember that that kind of friendship takes time, and it takes the realization that we'll mess up along the way. But when we mess up, we can choose to see the best in others and to seek forgiveness and restoration. Jesus models what friendship and community can be, and should be, and what it takes to nurture and grow them. And Lisa-Jo beautifully teaches that throughout Never Unfriended.
I'm such a fan of a book with quotes and endnotes, and Never Unfriended has lots. It may be the academic nerd in me, but it shows me the author has read and researched for the book. They put in extra thought and time to developing the idea. It adds to a book's character to see a good list of endnotes.
Especially being a mom of daughters, this book encouraged me and spoke greatly to me showing me what I want my girls to see and learn. It tackled fears that all of us face at some point and gave truths about friendship we need to hear. It reminded me that friendship is hard, but the hard work is necessary and worth it. This is a book filled with truth and hope. It offers a better way, a deeper way, a lasting way of doing friendship. I highly recommend Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker. It will be one that positively impacts many women's lives.
Click on this link to buy Never Unfriended.
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*I received a free copy of the book from the publisher as part of the launch team.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.