A Review of “Made for More” by Hannah Anderson

made for more“Who are you really?” It’s the existential question we all wrestle with at some level. Hannah Anderson understands that wrestling, but she is also frustrated with the answers to which so many seem to turn. Your identity is not first and foremost an issue of gender, race, or role. Rather, it is an issue of relationship, and particularly relationship to God. In Made for More Hannah argues that understanding our identity as the image of God changes our entire perception of ourselves and the way we live. The book is particularly geared towards women and that makes it an even more compelling resource. While most theologians continue to ground a woman’s worth in her gender or role Anderson reminds us that their worth is tied more directly to God.

The book is broken down into three parts, each corresponding to a portion of the text of Romans 11:36. To the Romans, Paul writes, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” It’s a significant starting place for this book, because it is Hannah’s conviction that this truth captures the foundation of a woman’s identity – indeed all human identity. In her own words, this book is “a call to recover the image of God in our lives – to re-imagine not simply what it means to be a woman but what it means to be a person made in the very likeness of God Himself” (11). It has been the trend in many circles, not the least within Evangelicalism, to reduce women to their biology or their role. So a woman’s identity, her worth and value, her place in the world, is found in her “domesticity,” her mothering, or her marriage. In other cases her identity has been deeply bound up in her rejection of these things. The women’s liberation from domesticity became the champion cry of a whole generation of women for whom identity was found in independence. “Instead of defining themselves by their homes and family, women were now compelled to define themselves by their education, professional accomplishments, and independence from men” (23). In neither case, however, do women answer sufficiently that fundamental question “who am I.” To answer that question they must look beyond themselves.

Part one of the book focuses on the phrase “from Him,” and grounds the identity of women in their creator God. “In order to know who you are,” Hannah writes, “ you must first know who He is” (15). Part one sets the theological foundation for her thesis. Chapter two on the Imago Dei is a wonderfully written chapter, unpacking the depth, richness, and practicality of this doctrine. While much of what Hannah says here is targeted towards women, it will no doubt be useful to men too. After all we are all humans, we are all made in the image of God. She walks us through as well the marring of that image in the Fall and the recovery of it in Jesus Christ.

Part two examines the phrase “and through Him.” Here readers will learn that their lives have meaning, value, and purpose, only in so far as they are lived in relation to Jesus Christ. In these chapters she directs us to consider issues of worship, service, and study. These are not the common themes of so-called “women’s books,” and that makes Made for More such a refreshing addition to the literature available. She urges women not to settle for the “pink” parts of the Bible. She writes:

When we identify first and foremost as women, we can begin to believe that knowledge of ourselves will come primarily through passages that speak to women’s issues or include heroines like Ruth or Esther. But when we do this, when we craft our learning and discipleship programs around being “women,” we make womanhood the central focus of our pursuits of knowledge instead of Christ. (69)

Living out of a relationship with Christ will give far more solid grounding for identity than gender or role ever will. Perhaps, however, even more fundamentally this shift is more Biblical. A woman’s identity is grounded in Christ, the Bible tells us. That relationship should be, then, the focus of her study and discipleship.

Finally, part three highlights the last part of the Romans 11:36 phrase, “and to Him.” Here she reminds readers of two great truths, “becoming real is a process” and one that is pointed towards a full realization in glory. I love the beauty, simplicity, and richness of these two chapters in part three. They contain truths that we so frequently overlook: namely that sanctification is a process, and becoming real is an aspect of sanctification. She writes about this in such descriptive and poetic language when she says:

In many ways, becoming Real – becoming who He created us to be – is not so much a single event as a way of living, a way of existing. It is not simply a wedding; it is a marriage. Even in those moments when you’ve stepped from the path, when you feel like you’ve lost yourself, finding yourself is as simple as turning back to Him. Finding yourself means returning to “the Shepherd…of your soul.” Finding yourself means doing this over and over and over again until you finally become who you already are. (159)

Do we ever fully become who we are, yes, but it’s a process that takes a lifetime until we come into His presence perfectly in glory. This is a great reminder.

Made for More is a beautiful book. Though I am not its target audience, per se, I found myself challenged and encouraged by it. It is the kind of book that I will give to women (and maybe some men) over and over again. It’s the kind of book the represents the shift I want to see in women’s ministries – a shift away from “pink” and towards the richness and depth of theology. It is the kind of book that reads well, that does theology from a fresh perspective, and offers great application to our lives. I am thankful for Hannah’s work here and I highly recommend this book to you.

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