Book Review: Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell

“Rejection reveals, alerts, exposes, defines, confirms, and is one of the greatest motivators in life.”

This is one of the opening points Tracey Mitchell makes in her book, Downside Up: Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity. This out-of-the-box view on rejection is an example of how Mitchell takes an alternative look at the role adversity can play in life.

Mitchell relates to the reader from personal experiences in her own life and those she’s encountered. More importantly, she draws relative stories from Scripture to show that rejection is an emotional wound Christ can heal.

The end of each chapter offers a list of “Chapter Principles” to not only serve as reinforcements for Mitchell’s main points, but also as references the reader can easily access in the future. Following the chapter principles are “Words of Wisdom” which consist of Scriptures and famous quotes that relate to each chapter’s main points. Finally, building on her principles and Scripture, Mitchell offers a “Plan of Action” for the reader to directly apply to their personal life in tangible ways that will last long after this book has been read.

Downside Up, by Tracey Mitchell, is not like any other self-help book I’ve read. My pen went dry from all the notations and underlining I did throughout this book. The amount of ah-ha moments made me take this read a bit slower so I could ingest all the extraordinary points being offered.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through the BookLook Bloggers. program. I was not required to give a positive review.

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You can purchase Downside Up: Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity by Tracey Mitchell here.

Do I Belong Here?

One day, when I was in 5th grade, my teacher handed out a test explaining there were no wrong answers – so we should pick what we felt was best for the question. Something about the look of that test made me feel it was important. I scrutinized over each question – trying to accomplish whatever the goal of this activity was to the best of my ability.

I remember feeling anxious as my classmates, one-by-one, walked past me to hand in their finished exams.  I wondered why it was taking me longer than everyone else.

Was I doing it wrong?

Or maybe, I was the only one doing it right?! Finally, I finished! – Days went by, and as the rest of the class moved past this experience, I fixated on it. There was never a time I received that test back with my results.

Did I pass or fail?

Eventually, I prodded enough that I found myself in a small room one morning, before school started, meeting with my teacher and the Principal. They explained this test determined our IQ – those whose results were above a certain number were going to be participating in a special program at the public library once a week. This program would provide challenging tasks so students could further develop areas in which they excelled at.

I was not one of these students in need of further development. At least that’s what the test said.

So, naturally, I asked to join this group. I rode that bus each week to the public library – and I sat with these students…my classmates…my friends…and stumbled along as we were asked to build bridges out of toothpicks and solve complicated math equations.

Most of that experience is a blur to me now – except the unmistakable feeling that I didn’t belong. That insecurity has sat on my shoulders, whispering in my ears throughout my life. I’ve endured unbearably hard math classes, college lectures and business meetings hunkered down, hoping I wouldn’t be found out for being in the wrong place.

Then I heard this TED talk on the TED News Radio Hour. Amy Cuddy’s story spoke to me. It resonated somewhere so incredibly deep within my spirit – it caused the mountain of negative rubble to shake loose and allow rays of hope to break through. So, I’m sharing this with you – hoping it does the same.

Guest Blog: The Masks We Wear

Growing up, insecurity and I were the closest of friends. One might say we were constant companions. I was all too familiar with insecurity’s constant need – its endless hunger for more and more and more.

Insecurity fed my fear of rejection and ultimately my fear of being unloved. You see, like many of us, I had my fair amount of experience with both of these hurtful feelings.

behind_the_mask_III_by_dinemizLike many of you, my path to adulthood wasn’t smooth. In fact, it was the opposite. So, to cope with my fear and to pacify my friend insecurity, I affixed my “mask.” You see, my mask became my greatest defense. I believed that my mask protected me – or at least I thought it did. I believed that it shielded me from hurt, judgment, and protected my vulnerabilities.

BUT the mask is a crafty thing. It’s forever changing – shifting its color, shape, wants, and desires. I can still hear the voice of my younger self agreeing to things to pacify others and laughing at jokes to please.

Sadly, much of my laughter was only skin deep and much of what I claimed to “love” I don’t think I really did. You see, it’s not that I lied or intentionally tried to be deceptive. I said what I thought others wanted to hear – which was easy because not only did the mask stop others from truly knowing me- it also stopped me from knowing myself.

That’s the danger with the mask- it slowly suffocated and isolates. Our masks and insecurities leave little room for anyone else. They leave little room for beauty, truth, and peace.

But this is not where my story ends. You see, because we have a loving Father and He loves us so much – He won’t settle for our bondage. I was a believer the entire time I wore my mask – but I never truly accepted His love and His acceptance of me.  Some of the reason I clung to my mask was because of my painful road to adulthood, and some of it was that I didn’t know how to trust Him with my flawed self. After all, how could the God of the universe truly love someone like me – when so many others hadn’t and didn’t.

So, out of love God removed my mask. I STRESS out of love, because at the time, it didn’t FEEL loving.  At the time it felt hurtful. At the time I felt truly exposed, vulnerable, and alone. It was during that time I discovered that there is strength in vulnerability, power in exposing our true selves to the light – HIS light. I realized what I was most afraid of – the world knowing that I was hurt and everything wasn’t perfect – He already knew.

I learned that my mask/ insecurity weren’t my companions – they were my enemies. You see I had built a fortress around myself to protect myself. I lived alone in that one room cell and probably would have stayed there- BUT what I was willing to settle for – true isolation- Christ wasn’t willing to accept. So, He did what any loving parent would do- He tore down my walls and showed me how beautiful life can be when we truly accept HIS love.

Insecurity keeps us so busy running from person to person or thing to thing seeking to be fed – always hungry but NEVER satisfied. And we are left weak, hungry, and alone.

Insecurity has us constantly looking around comparing ourselves to our sisters and brothers. It convinces us that we never measure up. But the truth Christ gives us- is that we are ALL beautiful in His sight. The truth is, there is beauty in our diversity and our distinct differences.

The truth is, He is the only One we need to seek approval from. He is the only One who can ever fill us full. The truth is, in this world- pain is sadly the thread that binds many of us together- we all have experiences that have left us raw, sad, or discouraged. The enemy would have you stay in that place looking to the world to fix that pain. The enemy would have you believe that “this” daily hunger is as good as it gets.

But I say, thru Jesus, you can have true healing. He will fill up the empty corners – the places no one knows about- He will bind up your broken heart and set you free so you are no longer in captivity.

The truth is, that when we compare ourselves to each other, or tear ourselves apart, we limit ourselves in so many ways. So, as I stand before you, without my mask – I ask you to look at your own. What if we tried to love one another but really only sought out to please just ONE- the only One who truly matters. SO, when insecurity comes knocking on your door – which it will and still does for me- remember that we have an ultimate Healer who can set us free, be our constant companion and truly make us Whiter Than Snow.

Jen and Guy


Guest Blogger: Jennifer Fitzgerald
(my sister) lives in Michigan with her husband, Guy Fitzgerald and two dogs – Nellie and Zoey. Jennifer is currently furthering God’s kingdom through her service as a Christian Counselor at the Christian Mission, Inc. along with working in her family business, Team Fitzgerald.

Happiness is in Christ’s Infinite Approval

Baby, you don’t have to point out to people you’ve gained weight and are desperately trying to lose it every time you meet with them…

This was a loving comment from my husband tonight as we were wrapping up devotions.  The genuine concern on his face reached a special place inside me that needed to be stirred. Losing weight is hard – there’s no other way around it.  Breaking free from food addiction is hard – there’s definitely no other way around that! What becomes easy is getting caught up in the numbers – how many pounds am I down, how many inches have I shrunk, how many calories did I eat…I’ve become consumed with digits on a scale and have lost sight of what’s important.

Immediately after hearing this from my husband, I opened my personal devotional book and read (written from the perspective of Christ):

In My presence you have infinite approval.  You often judge yourself on the basis of what you see in the mirror, even though you know how fickle and shallow that ever-changing image is.  You tend to be equally enslaved to viewing yourself through the eyes of other people, rigorously evaluating your personal performance and almost always feeling displeased with something you’ve said or done.

‘Enslaved’ is an appropriate word.  You are indeed a slave when you try to measure yourself through any perspective but Mine.  Evaluating your worth based on how you look, to yourself or to others, is always a trap…It [your soul] is invisible to everyone but Me, the One who plans to spend eternity with you.  Though invisible, a well nurtured soul can actually improve your appearance.

…When you look in a mirror, try to see yourself as you truly are – arrayed in perfect righteousness, adorned in glowing approval.

Isn’t God amazing!  Who says He doesn’t speak directly to us when we are struggling?!

This passage addresses so much more than just weight loss.  It speaks to the insecurity I have with myself as a whole.   I can spend hours in a gym or at the office to achieve a false sense of success – but what have I gained if I still see something awful when I look in the mirror?  Only Christ can shift my warped self-image.  Only His infinite approval can shift the way I way I look at me.  So here’s to a new desire – to seeing myself as God sees me.  After all, He is the One I will be spending eternity with.

Jesus Lives – Seeing His Love in Your Life by Sarah Young