Book Review: Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado

Imagine three circles intertwined (a la Olympic rings), with one central area where all three cirlces converge.

Circle #1 is Your Everyday Life
Circle #2 is Your Strengths
Circle #3 is God’s Glory

Where the circles converge….there is Your Sweet Spot.  This is what Max Lucado writes in his book Cure for the Common Life:  How to Live in Your Sweet Spot.

I’ve read some of Max Lucado’s children’s books to my kids – sweet, poignant stories about accepting who you are as a divine creation of a divine being.  When I saw this book at the library, I thought it might be interesting to read what this Christian author had to say about adults and our everyday lives.  Not surprisingly, his message is the same for the parents as it is for his younger audiences:  accept who you are as a divine creation of a divine being.

Lucado spends much of this book cheering the reader on to accept and act upon the principles that each of us is created with unique worth and talents and abilities.  “Your life has a plot; your years have a theme.  You can do something in a manner that no one else can.”

He compares each of us to a piece of luggage being packed for a trip.  If you were going to Hawaii in July you wouldn’t pack a parka and snow boots.  You would pack what was appropriate for the time, place, the owner of the bag.  WE are prepackaged by God for the lives we are to lead while here on our earthly “trip”:  when/where/who we are.  We find unhappiness when we try to fit ourselves into the clothing in someone else’s bag.   If that were to happen in real life – if we pick up the wrong suitcase at the airport terminal – what would we do?  He says, “you’d hunt down your own bag.  Issue an all-points bulletin.  Call the airport.  The taxi service…No one wants to live out of someone else’s bag.  Then why do we?  Odds are, someone urged a force fit into clothes not packed for you.”  Sometimes, that “someone” is ourselves, isn’t it?

Lucado suggests that we get smart and get brave about trying to live in our Sweet Spot.  He challenges us to find the things that we love to do, where we have natural abilities and feel the greatest measures of success, and then incorporate those things into our everyday.  In doing so, we glorify God by glorifying the gifts and talents he gave us.  I know, I know, people have been saying for years that a genius is the person who can figure out a way to make a living doing what he loves, but how many of us really go for it?  And I, for one, never really thought about it in terms of my faith.  If I have faith that God made me individually, that he knows every hair on my head, then doesn’t it make sense that he cares about how I spend every minute of my day?

There are chapters that deal with how to make the most of what you ~are~ doing, if an immediate change is not feasible.  Lucado says, basically, take God to work with you.  Every single day, have Him in your heart, and it will change how you do things.

Lucado by profession is a preacher, and some of the sections are…well…”preachy”.  I even started snoring a bit at some of the parts, and I’m a believer.  I also wondered if he’s gotten to be such a prolific author that the editors give him the go-ahead a little sooner than they should (holy goat, the man rambles!).  But all in all, I think this book has some very profound things to say about what we should choose to do and why we should choose to do it.

There is an acronym in the book that is meant to help readers find their Sweet Spot.  It is STORY:
S:  Strengths (what are yours?  what comes easily? VERB)
T:  Topics (what do you like to talk about?  learn about? NOUN)
O:  Optimal Conditions (under what conditions do you naturally thrive?  what triggers your motivation?)
R:  Relationships (what is your ideal relationship pattern?  alone?  in a group?)
Y:  Yes! (what is paydirt?  what makes you say YES!)
One of the ways to study your STORY is to read your life backwards.  Regress through adulthood to adolescence to childhood, and try to chart out times when you felt the strongest about something you were passionate about.  Something that made you think (or say) Yes!  There is a section at the back of the book that offers worksheets helping the reader to identify those types of moments throughout their life.  The ultimate goal is to rid yourself of your common life and make things extraordinary.

I really enjoyed this book and felt it was a fresh way to look at my life and how I’d like to revamp it.

*Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link included.