5 Books That Wrecked Me This Year
I’m putting the pieces of our household back together after last weekend’s conference, and it’s been a little slow going. As a family, we had four suitcases packed. As a family, we now have four suitcases in various stages of unpackedness. I’m getting to it. And yes, my pants are on fire.
Turns out, I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I kind of only have one Answer. But it’s a big one. And there are at least five books that I read this year that helped lead me there.
When I talk to friends about marriage, about parenting, about life, these are the books I now point to.
Because what I found in their pages, totally wrecked me.
I know I keep talking about this book, but I couldn’t make this list without putting this beautiful book right at the very tippy top. My friend Deb gifted me a copy last year, but I sat it aside in all my busyness and didn’t read it until the beginning of this year. I’m so very glad I did.
It changed my life–the way I talk, the way I write, the way I think, the way I love. I went from complaining and griping and just being plain contemptuous about some of the most precious things to me (my kids, my husband, my “job”—the things in my life that I, at one time or another, wanted the most), to trying fully appreciating every moment of my present life. I’m not perfect, but I am at least making the effort every day to find that gratitude, even in the hard times.
I wish I could buy you all a copy and watch your heart open to the thousand—no, infinite!—gifts we’ve each been given.
My amusement with my bitter snarkiness? Wrecked.
Richard Stearns was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, successful in they eyes of the world—a big salary, nice cars, big house—living the American dream. He was approached by World Vision, a ministry working against poverty, hunger and injustice around the world, and asked to leave his comfortable life and become their president. His response led him from his corner office to the poorest areas of the world. He answered God’s call on his life, working not for himself, but to fill that hole in the gospel.
This book helped me see that being a disciple isn’t just about studying scripture or going to church. It’s about bringing God’s kingdom to those here who are suffering. And though the little things I do never seem like enough, that’s not an excuse. We shouldn’t do nothing because we can’t do everything.
Do something. Anything. The next thing.
Being okay with complacency? Totally wrecked.
3. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker:
I devoured every last bit of this book on the plane last weekend. When we landed, I started going through my suitcase looking for things I could return to the store I bought them at.
Convicting. That’s the only word I can use to describe this book. I kind of want Jen Hatmaker to be my best friend. She is hilarious, she is real and I’m pretty sure she enjoys bad reality TV as much as I do. But she also wants to be a devoted follower of Christ, and had a lot of “stuff” getting in the way. Namely, food, clothing, possessions, shopping, waste, media and stress. She performed seven month-long fasts in each of these areas in an attempt to make room in her life. She discovered along the way how empty a life so full can be.
The idea of do more, buy more, be more? Wrecked that.
A fair warning–this book isn’t the Gospel. I don’t agree with everything in it, and it definitely needs to be read with discernment. But if you can look past that, you might find something empowering in the pages—like the concept that you can’t control others (in this case, your husband), but you can focus on yourself–your own heart, your own joy, your own thoughts and behavior. The takeaway for me being that my husband and my marriage are not responsible for my happiness. If they are, it’s time I adjust my expectations.
I need you to do xyz to complete me? Slammed with a wrecking ball.
Okay, you got me. This isn’t a book. But this online group study has just finished it’s seventh study, Ephesians, and starts on Philippians on Monday, October 22nd (you can find out how to join, totally free, here). While my Bible study used to be a bit unorganized and totally self-contained, now it truly is something I look forward to sharing with friends each morning—friends online, but also friends in real life. The plans have changed the way I study, share and talk about Scripture. It’s not just like brushing my teeth anymore.
Aimless Bible browsing? It took a one-way ticket to Wrecksville, USA.
The Unicorn Book, by Gigi and Lulu
It’s subtle, but I think it’s about unicorns.
Here’s hoping there’s a sequel.
What books have impacted you lately?
I’d love to hear.