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A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God

Review

A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God

Kevin Malarkey is an author, a speaker, and for many years owned a Christian psychotherapy practice where he counseled with individuals and married couples. In A BEAUTIFUL DEFEAT, he uses his personal and professional skills to bring a candid view to defeat. Readers will appreciate Malarkey’s transparency with his own failings (public and private), and though it’s not always comfortable to read, he makes a valid point: Everyone fails. Thus the premise of this unique text, where the author opens up about his own public embarrassments in which he said and did things he is ashamed of but cannot undo. And who hasn’t experienced just these moments in life?

"Readers will find much to reflect upon throughout this book, and that is due in large part to Malarkey’s willingness to expose his personal failings to a watching world, which he likens to being worse than having a root canal done."

In this dynamic read, Malarkey has divided his work into two sections: “Part 1: A Call for Authenticity,” in which he looks at our dirty little secrets; where our struggles really come from; and life with your struggles. “Part 2: A Call for Surrender” includes topics like just die; prepare for your mission; struggle is a team sport; surrendered…really?; the battle between the battles; and what surrender looks like. In each chapter, Malarkey spends some pages bringing to real life the topic at hand by sharing his own struggles with failing and then discussing them in terms of biblical responsibility. He gets down to the nitty-gritty of living on a sinful planet with sinful people as he exposes his own wayward heart (and words and actions) and, in doing so, allows readers to relate intimately to his message. Each chapter concludes with an action step and a brief prayer.

Malarkey spends a good deal of time reiterating the importance of a life that is totally surrendered to God and His purposes. Throughout the book, he goes into great detail as to what this type of surrender looks like in day-to-day life. In 10 (not-so-easy) steps, here’s what Malarkey has to say about placing everything on the altar to God. Know that the process of surrender is messy; be honest about your existing struggles; know where your struggles come from; determine to live through your struggles rather than around them; die daily; define your mission and wear your armor; be part of a team; become addicted to your need for God; expect pushback; and learn from those who have gone before you --- in life and in the Bible.

At the close of A BEAUTIFUL DEFEAT, Malarkey also includes two appendices for further study. The first recaps the 10 steps to a surrendered life, complete with an action step and prayer. Appendix 2 lists 10 Bible verses on surrender and dying to self. Readers will find much to reflect upon throughout this book, and that is due in large part to Malarkey’s willingness to expose his personal failings to a watching world, which he likens to being worse than having a root canal done. But readers will thank him for taking such a risk and will realize quickly how his openness opens the door for their own growth in godliness.

Reviewed by Michele Howe on July 17, 2014

A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God
by Kevin Malarkey with Matthew L. Jacobson