Lifestyle

five books to read in 2017

I know, I know, we’re already a month into the new year. Things have been crazy and busy and I’m in a statistics class, okay? I’m barely hanging on here. But lately lots of people have been asking me for book and devotional recommendations. This year I’m working on going through several smaller devotionals on different topics by different writers, and as I finish them I’ll let you know what I think.

The list of books I could recommend is like fifteen pages long. I’ve read a LOT of really great books. But the ones I’ll mention here are those that have resulted in change. I read these books and developed new perspectives that impacted my relationships with Jesus, with others and with myself in such positive ways.

You can read a book and think wow. That was good. Can I be her [or him]? I hope I remember all this stuff. And I do that a lot. But I so strongly believe that books can also be transformative and powerful. The right book not only reaches to the deepest of your insides but sparks a renewal of your mind that can be seen from the outside.

These were those right books for me and I hope you’ll consider giving them a try, too.

65

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I really wasn’t gonna go in any particular order, but I’ll tell you this much, it’s not a coincidence this book ended up first on my list. SHAUNA NIEQUIST. What a woman. This book is filled with honest personal experiences that we all share at one time or another. And they’re accompanied with the kind of advice that makes you think did God Himself just come down and whisper that into her ear?! Reading it kinda feels like having a conversation with a good friend who also happens to be one of the wisest people probably on earth. 

In a time where everyone is busy, everyone is hustling, everyone is running around trying to get done whatever they can possibly get done in the shortest amount of time they can get it done in- this book is NECESSARY. This book is excellent. This book is for anyone who has ever felt anxious, overwhelmed, or less than enough [so that would be all of us]. Equally as encouraging as it is challenging. She teaches you how to rest, how to say  “no,” how to give and let yourself recieve grace.

I could go on and on. Seriously just read it please.

66

Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I read this book when I was a senior in high school and I still think about it all the time. It continues to impact my relationship with Christ to this day because it taught me about the Holy Spirit. And you truly don’t realize how important the Holy Spirit is, and how very little you know about Him, til you read this book.

The way I interact with God is noticeably different now that I understand His Spirit better. What a special book. The Holy Spirit is big and mysterious and confusing, and I think this causes most of us to live as though He’s just not really there. BUT HE IS, and we have constant access to His power and to the incredibly intimate relationship we can have with God through Him. That will change your life!!!

Trying to work through the concept of the Holy Spirit seems like a daunting task, but Francis Chan makes it simple and personable and reading this book will deepen and widen your view of God in more ways than you can imagine.

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A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. What a beautiful, unique book. “Artful living” isn’t a topic that immediately strikes me as super relatable for me personally, but I read this book because I had read all of Emily’s other books and she is AWESOME. And my mind was absolutely changed by the end of it.

How often does the phrase “work of art” pop into your head when you look in the mirror? How often does it come to mind while you’re cooking or doing homework or chatting with a friend or any of the other things you do everyday that seem so mundane, so unimportant?

This book convinced me that I’m a work of art. And that is something everyone on this earth should be convinced of. It also taught me that everything I do can be a work of art if I view it with the right attitude. I am a work of art who creates works of art through the divine gifts God gave me. And I get to interact daily with His creation, the most beautiful work of art.

You will see yourself and your world differently after reading this book, I promise.

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Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst. This book will change the way you interact with literally everyone. Strangers, family, friends…everyone. It is FULL of practical, Biblical steps to take so that you can better reflect the character of Christ in your relationships.

We all come undone at times [amen and amen] and are so prone to doing and saying things in the moment that we end up regretting. We bottle our feelings up or we hurt others just because we’re hurting. We respond in anger or bitterness instead of firm but gentle grace. I KNOW you can relate.

Lysa so wisely shows us how to avoid coming “unglued” when we feel sad or disappointed or anxious or betrayed or embarrassed or angry or anything else we could possibly feel. I finished this book recently and I’m already seeing improvement in how I act and react, how I line my thoughts up with my feelings and my feelings with my actions, and how I extend grace even when it’s a real challenge. Such important things to learn, and sooner is better than later.

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The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The first thing I need to say about this book is that it is CREEPY. It’s strange. It’s slightly uncomfortable to read at parts. But C.S. Lewis is a GENIUS, so you can get over the oddity of it. This book is written from the perspective of one of the devil’s right hand men. He’s writing letters to his nephew, a demon-in-training. The letters explain all these strategic ways to steer humans off the path of righteousness, to distract them from God’s plan for their lives, to turn their focus onto themselves and their sinful nature.

The devil has such a foothold on our world. If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that. We need to be aware of these things. We need to recognize how he works so we can defend ourselves. We need to be on guard against his stealthy influence in our lives.

This book brings about a completely new way to think, and it’s kinda scary because you begin to see in your own life how the devil is tempting and manipulating you. If you can’t recognize it, you can’t prevent it. This book is insightful and so, so important.

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2 thoughts on “five books to read in 2017

  1. Those all sound great Al…hey makes me think, do you remember when I made you and Bay read “Classic Christianity,” by Robert George (sorry, but it’s that good AND important). An easy little read you should pick up again sometime soon since you were only like 8 when I made you read it first time…ok, maybe 15, but still a long time ago. So blessed to see you living out Matt 6:33…lymtenmw. pop

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