The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships

from 2 reviews

How being real with others about our struggles helps us to fight sin and experience the authentic friendships we crave.

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We long for authentic friendships with others—but in a world of carefully-curated social media, most of us are merely keeping up appearances. Both online and offline, we're all prone to only presenting the best side of ourselves.

This book shows us that, surprisingly, the secret to growing the relationships we crave is in developing a biblical habit of repentance. By being honest about our sin before God and receiving his forgiveness, we're freed be honest about our sin with others. When we drop the act and are real with others, we are both strengthened in our fight against sin and can start to grow authentic friendships.

Catherine Parks encourages women to resist the "I'm fine" culture, get real with each other about sin and experience authentic fellowship.

This book is great for reading with your book group, women's group, accountability partner, or one-to-one mentor—discussion questions are included for every chapter.

Product details


  • Introduction
    1. Finsta and rinsta
    2. The way we were
    3. True to yourself?
    4. The joy of repentance
    5. Your roots are showing
    6. Dealing with sirens
    7. True authenticity
    Epilogue: a land without repentance

Free extras


Contributors Catherine Parks
ISBN 9781784982959
Format Paperback
First published October 2018
Dimensions 198mm x 128mm x 12mm
Weight 0.18 kg
Language English
Pages 160
Publisher The Good Book Company

Kirsten Birkett

author and lecturer in Pastoral Counselling and Youth and Children's Ministry at Oak Hill College

A deeply perceptive account of how to live real life—in the only way that matters.

Andrea Trevenna

Women’s worker at St Nicholas Sevenoaks, Kent; author of The Heart of Singleness.

This book is really helpful in showing us why we will only be able to grow in our relationships with each other as we are honest about the heart issues beneath our surface sins and then come to God in repentance and faith. Catherine helps us to see that the wonder of God's grace and forgiveness and the knowledge that we are secure in Christ is what enables us to begin to be more open with each other about our sins and struggles and so to experience the surprising but immense joy that comes with being honest and vulnerable. I realised as I read how much I am missing out by holding back in relationships that are a precious gift from the Lord and a huge opportunity for us to help each other grow more like Jesus. All Catherine says is rooted in God's word, she writes with great warmth and honesty, and her joy and delight at wanting to share this wonderful secret she has discovered is very evident.

Melissa B Kruger

Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Uptown Church; author, The Envy of Eve

We’re all looking for relationships that go beyond the surface and delve into the heart—we want to be known and know others. However, often we hide who we truly are, in fear and shame, concerned that our lives aren’t as picture perfect as our friend’s social media story. In Real, Catherine Parks writes with warmth and insight, inviting us out of the shadows of our sin and into the mercy of Jesus.

Customer reviews

21 Jul 2019

“Eye-opening read”

This was an area I was struggling in and so when I received the book I was very excited to read it. Catherine gets to the heart of the problem, first dealing with our sin ourselves by being totally honest in repentance before God. This book is great to read on your own or with friends. I've already given copies to some of my friends so we can hold each other accountable

6 Nov 2018

“Great Read”

Started reading the book thinking it would be a good read for Ladies' Ministry. I was wrong. It is a great read for everyone; youth, women, and men. Catherine literally walks you through the way we so often address sin in our lives and then shows you in Scripture the Biblical way we should be handling our sin. I have read Chapter 5 three times trying to get it to sink in.

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Real | Catherine Parks |