Are you where you want to be in life? Or do you feel things from your past are holding you back? In Souls like Stars: Renew Your Mind, Heal Your Heart, Unveil Your Shine, Margaret Nagib takes readers through a guided workbook on finding freedom and transformation in their lives today.
Souls like Stars is an unapologetically Christian workbook where the goal is to become free from past bondage and have a better relationship with God. The chapters are lengthy with each one running about 20 pages, but roughly five pages in each chapter are full page photographs. Throughout the workbook, Nagib shares case studies from clients who worked through difficult circumstances to encourage readers and help them apply what they learn. Most pages have questions with room for readers to write lengthy responses based on what they read, which may be intimidating for those who are not accustomed to journaling.
Her introduction to the workbook includes some suggestions on how to get the most out of it. Readers are encouraged to set aside time to first quiet the mind by listening to recommended Christian songs that are easily found on YouTube. She suggests readers listen to the same songs after completing each chapter to reinforce the core themes of moment, hope, desire, known, feel, true, forgive, whole, connect, and shine.
Some pages have an odd layout. When there are two columns, sometimes there will be a question in the left column at the top of the page with room to write but then the right column does not have the question until about a third of the way down. I do not know why it was written that way. Perhaps to prompt the reader to respond to the questions on the left side before the ones on the right side.
Although Souls like Stars is based on biblical practices and principles for living, it does not require readers to have a thorough understanding of the Bible or be well-versed in scripture. But some exercises in the workbook may be tough for an individual to do on their own regardless of their spiritual background.
For example, one question invites readers to reflect on a time when they were more emotionally alive. Someone with a traumatic background or in a particularly difficult place might find this upsetting and not be able to work through it on their own. In cases like that, it might be helpful to processes exercises with a therapist.
Each chapter requires a significant amount of time to reflect before answering the questions. This is not the workbook for concrete thinkers who want to fill in the blank and respond to questions with facts. Rather it is an opportunity for people to become introspective and invite God to speak to them about a particular topic.
Although there are exercises with clear applications, they are still time intensive. In the chapter on hope, Nagib invites readers to set goals for emotional, physical, and spiritual growth. After listing goals, the next step is to list some thoughts about one’s ability to reach those goal and the specific paths to getting there. It is not a section I was expecting to see. However, principles about planning and goal-setting can be applied to the spiritual life as much as any other area of life.
Although the book is designed for Christian readers, non-Christians may find some of the content and principles to be helpful and enjoy the challenge of reflecting on these areas of life. Those who are completely opposed to the idea of God would have difficulty with this workbook because of its reliance on scripture and an underlying goal of pursuing a relationship with God.
Although I am enjoying the workbook, I have been challenged because these are not easy questions with easy answers. And I have found it difficult to do each session on one setting. I found that I needed to split some sessions over two days since it can be intense. However, people like me, who may spend too much time in their heads, will appreciate the guidance that gets people more in tune with the heart.
Souls like Stars: Renew Your Mind, Heal Your Heart, Unveil Your Shine
Baxter Press, April 2017
Paperback, 232 pages