I used to love to read. My sister jokes that I spent my entire childhood lost in a book. Then adult life hit. I still love to read; I just haven’t been great about making time for it.
Well, I’m ready to get back into reading. One of the best ways I have found to reflect on life and faith is through reading the thoughts of others. I picked up The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard earlier this year and couldn’t put it down.
It was an interesting, convicting, and revealing read. I’ll have much more to say about it throughout many of my posts, no doubt, so I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say, reading these wise and insightful words whet my appetite for seeking out other illuminating words.
So, I’ve gathered up a hodge podge of books—some that family and friends have recommended, some that I’ve started in the past but never finished, and some just because. This is certainly not a list of new bestsellers and exciting reads. Instead, it’s a smattering of various words and thoughts that I’d love to have in my head as I navigate life. Here’s the list I’ve settled on to start me off:
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1. Run with the Horses, by Eugene H. Peterson
Most people who know the name Eugene Peterson associate him with his popular translation of the Bible, The Message.
This book, Run with the Horses, made my list because I came across a quote from it that I’d written down in a journal years ago (back when I used to hand write things):
I called you to life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny. Now at the first sign of difficulty you are ready to quit. If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence?…It is easier to define oneself minimally (“a featherless biped”) and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (“a little less than God”) and live adventurously in that reality.
Intrigued? Well, I was. Especially since I can’t remember ever reading this book and can’t figure out how I happened across that quote and wrote it down! So, I figure it’s high time I read it.
(By the way, this quote references Jeremiah 12:5, and the whole book draws from the Biblical book of Jeremiah.)
2. Passing on the Passion, by Cricket Albertson
Here’s a book I got from my mom for Christmas. It’s a small (115 pages) book. I can do this 🙂
This author explores how to parent with the intention of bringing our children into relationship with Christ and being Christ’s conduit to our children. (Also, for those of you familiar with Dennis Kinlaw, Cricket Albertson is his granddaughter.)
3. Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster
As I mentioned earlier, I’m very intrigued about exploring the rich depths of spiritual discipline and the role it plays in the Christian life. I’ve never read this classic work, so it seems like a great place to start.
4. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, by Eugene Peterson
This book (also by Eugene Peterson) takes on the topic of spiritual discipline, as well, but here from a more reflective, meditative approach. Peterson translates and examines the Psalms of Ascent, drawing attention to their relevance and application to our lives today. I’ll let you know more after I read it 🙂
5. How Am I Smart? by Dr. Kathy Koch
This is a book my dad gave me shortly after my first daughter was born. And I haven’t gotten further than the first few chapters. I’m excited to finally dig in and explore the whole of this, though!
It’s a fascinating look at how to help our children recognize and develop their natural strengths, and strengthen the areas that may come with more difficulty. Rather than our children believing that there is only an “intelligent/stupid” dichotomy, we can see the different kinds of strengths and intelligence that we all possess. Even more, I appreciate that this author wishes to give us insight into each unique person and the different ways that we can connect with God and each other.
6. The Story of God, the Story of Us, by Sean Gladding
I started this book shortly after it was published in 2010 and I loved it…but never finished it. (Are you noticing a pattern here?) It’s a beautiful, imaginative look at the big picture story of God through the eyes (or words, in this case) of various communities of people, all located at different points of history throughout the Bible.
7. The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
Back to spiritual discipline—I find reference after reference to this small book any time the topic of spiritual discipline comes up. Written by a monk back in the seventeenth century, Brother Lawrence explores his experience of prayer and abiding in the peace and presence of God. Sounds good to me!
8. The Best Yes, by Lisa Terkeurst
This one sticks out a bit, doesn’t it? It’s actually current, and popular haha! And, surprise, surprise—I didn’t pick it. This is a book that I’m doing with a women’s bible study this spring; I’m looking forward to growing with these women and learning together. In this book, Lysa Terkeurst explores seeking God’s wisdom in managing our time and making decisions, instead of just being dragged around feeling like we have to say yes to everything. Again—I’ll give you a better run-down once I’ve read it!
9. Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky
My sister lent this book to me. (Seriously—every one of these books someone gave me or loaned to me. I guess I’m cheap. I also know people with really good books.)
Anyway, it’s another great parenting resource for understanding how children learn and how to help them build the skills they need to navigate the world competently. It focuses on “seven essential life skills”: focus and self-control; perspective taking; communicating; making connections; critical thinking; taking on challenges; self-directed, engaged learning.
10. Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas
This book is (apparently) so important that we received TWO copies for our wedding! And from what I’ve read of it so far, I’d agree. This is a fabulous book! Marriage, from a biblical perspective, is so different than the current cultural image of it. Gary Thomas explores God’s intentions for marriage and the sanctifying purposes behind this sacrament.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. While I’m not really much into New Year’s resolutions, there is something about a new year beginning that makes setting a goal seem so appropriate. I’m excited! I really hope I can make it though these in 2017. I’ll try to fill you in with more details as I go and keep you posted.
What’s on your list to read next? Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. (Let me know if you’d like to read any of these along with me!)