These are nine favorites I read this year. And why you might want to read them in 2010.
1. Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
Make this a priority: be content. It will affect every aspect of your life and every relationship. This book teaches you how. It’s not an easy process; it takes exercise (I’ll forever be working on it). But contentment is indeed a ‘rare jewel,’ one that God died to give you, and one worth your effort to incorporate into your character.
I’ll be honest: the book itself isn’t so easy either (written in the 1600’s). But it’s the best I’ve read on this subject, and one that I will return to often.
2. The Time Paradox
Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd
If you want to understand how your view of time influences your actions and thoughts, and how you can alter that, read this paradigm-shifting book. It will also help you understand those around you better by learning about the six time perspectives.
And even though it’s written from a secular viewpoint, you can find many spiritual applications in it, if you’re looking, about why time matters.
3. Just Do Something
If you’re a Christian who wants to follow God’s will, but are sometimes uncertain about how to discern that, this book will help you.
It’s a fresh word for today’s generation. It will jump-start you out of passivity and get you moving again.
4. This Momentary Marriage
Piper will impress upon you that relationships have more underlying significance than you give them credit for. Especially your marriage. It’s hugely important because it reflects the covenant relationship between Christ and the church.
Yeah, that’s serious. More serious than just your compatibility quotient with your spouse. Marriage is spiritual work.
5. Love Dare
Stephen and Alex Kendrick
While the Piper book (# 4) is great theology, this book is great practice. You do it, not just read it. This can change your marriage.
I worked through the practices earlier this year, but I plan on doing it again because it benefited not only Jeff, but also me. It takes the focus off you and puts it on Christ and your spouse. It’s a worthy challenge.
6. Predictably Irrational
It’s upsetting. If you think you understand why people act like they do, this book might prove you wrong. You’re far more irrational than you believe yourself to be.
You’ll look at life a little differently after you read these findings and maybe question your own motives a little closer. That’s a good thing.
7. Spiritual Mothering
Don’t like to think of yourself as the older woman? Well, if you’re a woman older than some other woman (which means every reader here), then you are the older woman, meaning you are a potential mentor with a God-given responsibility to train younger women.
This book makes that less scary and more do-able. I wasn’t confident that every Biblical example used was applicable, but enough were to make this book a helpful guide and an encouragement to step it up.
8. When Organizing Isn’t Enough
This book goes beyond traditional methods of organization. And pries into your business. Not just where you keep clutter, but why. And what to do about it. I’ve read several books about organizing (as we organized people tend to do), but this one was different.
Although some of Morgenstern’s examples were a little too Zen for me, I still found overall spiritual significance in her chapter themes. She will help you see more meaningful reasons to order your space than you’ve seen before.
Mark’s books are deceptively simple. You’ll be reading along, understanding and agreeing, then wham, he’ll hit you with something that you haven’t clarified before.
I had several of those moments with this book (so many that I’m using it as groundwork for my 2010 Spiritual Resolutions). Read it and you’ll learn more specific ways to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
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An extra 9 Honorable Mentions
- Blue like Jazz
because you’ll think differently about God’s love and grace
- Anxious for Nothing
because you’ll find practical steps to overcome worry
- Anything by Tim Hansel
because Tim will inspire you to choose hope no matter what
because you’ll see what your on-line clicks reveal about you
- Find Your Strongest Life
because you’ll focus on strengths, not balancing out weaknesses
- The Beautiful Ache
because your spiritual aches have purposes you need to appreciate
because you’ll see the sacred in the ordinary
- Come to the Table
because you’ll think differently about time with your church
- Any YA fiction by Roland Smith
because he writes clean, fun action for everybody