The Making of Us by Sheridan Voysey

This is no pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, eight-days-to-Christian-maturity workbook! It doesn’t offer much in the way of answers. Rather, many soul-searching questions.

As we follow Sheridan and his companion, DJ, on their eight-day pilgrimage in the footsteps of 6th century Celtic monk Cuthbert, we discover the author to be a humble man who has made mistakes and faced shattering disappointments, but who has the audacity to reflect deeply on life’s choices and omissions, fates and fortunes. As the hike progresses and the hikers interact with many colourful locals, the pilgrimage becomes something of a live parable: Which path should we take at the fork? How do we overcome the frustration after taking a wrong turn? Can we persevere in spite of our aches and weariness? Is it all worth the effort?

Voysey seeks to learn from the giant personages who trod those paths in earlier ages. How did those ancient monks gain the inspired wisdom and courage to face hardship and aggression, to counsel kings, mediate conflicts, minister to poor peasants, draw many a searching soul into the arms of a loving heavenly Father, and pen their insights for posterity? What moved other forgotten strivers to build great monuments in the hope of gaining vain fame?

And how, in this day and age, should we set about discovering the right path for our lives in the face of possibly misguided pressure from parents and teachers; our own youthful blunders or afflictions; the tragic loss of a loved one or a failed career choice; deception or opposition on the part of others?

Curious about how their trek will develop, and without realising where the author is leading us, we are drawn on from the practicalities of hiking with blistered feet over sand flats and moorland trails to the overarching Big Questions: Does God have a plan for my life? Has He a particular mission for me to fulfil? How can I become the man or woman He wants me to be?

Beware: The Making of Us is an inspiring book with some beautifully crafted passages; it’s hard to put down!

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