The day I left for college, my mom gave me a Max Lucado book as a parting gift. I’m sure she hoped it would be a source of God-honoring wisdom from the prolific Christian writer that would aid my walk with Christ into college. I don’t believe I ever actually cracked the book, but I can’t blame her for trying.

I was reminded of that unread Lucado book when I saw the “perfect for the graduate” sticker on the front of Lucado’s You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be. And to be truthful, I judged the book by its cover right then and there. It’s a gift book, repackaged with passages from a previous Lucado book for sale to anxious mothers whose children are going away to college or heading off into the so-called real world for the first time, I thought.

In truth, it’s more like quick and easy to easy to read Christian self help that is rescued by its timely use of scripture and insightful illustrations. It’s clearly not Max Lucado at its finest, but the message at the heart of the book is certainly a positive one of which we can all use some reminding. God loves us and designed us for a special purpose to do the things that no one else can do in the way that we do them. It sounds kind of “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough because Jesus loves me” sentimental writing this, but perhaps only because we don’t always believe that. We buy the lie that we aren’t special, lovable or even of any value to anyone because we don’t look a certain way, have a certain skill or measure up to some worldly standard or view of excellence.

In 127 gift-book-sized pages, Lucado covers a lot of ground, but focuses a good chunk of his time talking about the things we all spend a great deal of time doing or thinking about like working, finances, purpose and self-esteem. As writers in this genre often do, he turns a few phrases like “God gave you not a knapsack, but a knack sack” that fall a little flat. They’re the kind of phrases I would have mercilessly poked fun of had I actually read a book like this in college. But they are also phrases that would have done me some good to read back in my know-it-all, going to conquer the world days.

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NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by its publisher, Thomas Nelson.

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