I’ve been told that if you’re a writer, you should write. And when you can’t write, read.
My four-year old nephew devours books. He asks us to read the same one countless times until he memorizes it and can “read” the book himself. A chip off the ol’ Aunt block. As a kid, I would press my nose into books. Wild with imagination, I traveled to other worlds from the comfort of my own home.
But somehow our love for reading dwindles in adulthood. Those well worn pages start collecting dust on the shelf. We go to college. We get a job. We start a family. We get busy. And tired. At the end of an exhausting day the last thing we want to do is read something. So we browse Facebook or flip on the TV. But honestly, when has TV (or Facebook) ever changed my life?
Picking up a book had become a rare commodity for me. And the consequences of it became obvious. My mental capacity weakened, forgetfulness increased, concentration became difficult. My communication suffered. I had a hard time expressing myself, often grasping for words. Writer’s block abounded as inspiration eluded me. And I was stressed. Overwhelmed. Desperately wanting change but changing little.
While reading does offer massive benefits (you can read more about them here), I’m not saying it is a one-fix-all. BUT. Looking back over my life, my biggest seasons of relational, personal, or spiritual growth all began with a book. These books, in particular. I rediscovered these favorites recently that had long been forgotten on the basement shelves. They have instilled many words of wisdom over the years. Some provided comfort, others imparted advice, while most offered truth and insightful thoughts to mull over. But all of them were used as an agent of change in my life! And I thought it only right to share them with you.
If you’re looking for a good book this year, look no further! This year, overcome fear of intimacy. Get rid of shame. Learn how to set boundaries. Discover the villains of motherhood. Know how to act right when your spouse acts wrong. Understand what real love looks like. Find comfort when your dreams are shattered. Discern your purpose. Find meaning in life. Isn’t that what we all want anyway?
I’m building a bucket list of my own to indulge in over the next 12 months. So on that next rainy day, pour yourself a cup of coffee, curl up with a blanket, grab a good book and enjoy 30 minutes of quiet reflection. From my bookshelf to yours, here are some must-reads that will change your life. How do I know? Because they changed mine…and hundreds of others.
When Times are Uncertain
The Land Between by Jeff Manion
I heard this author speak at a very transitional period in my life; right before I lost a job. This book was instrumental at a time when my world was spinning.
“This book provides fresh biblical insight for people traveling through undesired and difficult transitions such as foreclosure, unemployment, uncertainty, and failure. Such times provide our greatest opportunity for spiritual growth.”
When Saying No Is Hard
Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Solid authors, awesome content. This book will help you learn how to control yourself instead of controlling (or giving into) others!
“Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins.” Learn when to say yes and when to say no to take control of your life.
When People Pleasing is Your Thing
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
The fear of man is a powerful enemy. When we elevate people to the ultimate authority in our lives, we make God small. This book pairs well with Boundaries and Shame Off Me!
“We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. We give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.”
When You Are Hindered By Busyness or Insecurity
Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson
This is the newest addition to my book bucket list! I recently heard her speak on this and it was inspiring. Learn how to overcome obstacles, insecurities, and busyness standing in the way of you fulfilling God’s call on your life!
“You don’t have to be beautiful or strong, or even physically fit to change the world, you just have to know that far greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
When You Feel Worthless
The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
I love how this book unpacks the basic concepts of the Gospel. It continues to remind me of important truths pertaining to myself, my significance, and God.
“Learn how to be free to enjoy Christ’s love while no longer basing your self-worth on your accomplishments or the opinions of others.”
Shame Off You by Alan D. Wright
This book was instrumental in uncovering my deep-rooted issue with shame! I never realized how much of a hold it had on me. The book also comes with a personal workbook.
“They say success is sweet. Too bad you don’t enjoy it. Instead you are plagued with feeling the pressure’s always on, wishing it didn’t matter what others thought of you. Overthrow the tyrant within, the one who says you’re not good enough.”
When You Want to Change Your Marriage
How to Act Right when Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick
This one is on my book bucket list! A totally new way to look at problems, fights, and offenses. Instead of trying to fix each other, allow your spouse’s actions to bring about maturity in you.
“Instead of looking at what our spouse is doing that is upsetting, hurtful, or wrong to us, we must begin by redirecting our attention toward what our spouse’s wrongs reveal in us. God sanctifies us, purifies us, and teaches us how to become more like Him in the context of our relationship.”
When Your Prince Ain’t So Charming
Finding the Hero in Your Husband by Julianna Slattery
Love, love, love! Navigating the role of wife is hard in today’s world. Even with best intentions, we can still resort to nagging, controlling, or manipulating our men. This author shows the influential power we have as women to help our husbands thrive and become who they were meant to be!
“The secret of intimacy in marriage is not finding a hero to be your husband, but finding the hero in your husband. God has given each woman the power to help her husband grow, over time, into the godly man that he can become. Unfortunately, many women are so devastated by what he is not today that they refuse to invest in the man he could become tomorrow.”
When You Have Mama Mess-Ups
The Super Mom Myth by Becky Kopitzke
This book was recently written by a dear friend! I know way too many great moms who carry the world on their shoulders and beat themselves up along the way. Becky’s transparency on the mom mess-ups coupled with her encouragement to fight your inner villains is done in both a hilarious and gracious way! This book will make you laugh (and cry) and remind you that you’re not alone.
“This book isn’t about raising kids. It’s about raising Moms. There are a lot more of us frazzled and frustrated moms of newborns, toddlers, first graders, and freshmen who do not have it all together and, sadly, assume everybody else does because women are not talking about it. This book is for you, my fellow not-so-super moms. I get you. I struggle, too. Now let’s follow Jesus together.”
Check out Becky’s blog here!
When Your Mouth Gets You In Trouble
This is on my book bucket list! Looking forward to learning how to be wise with my many words.
“Our words are powerful, and they have consequences. If we have a mouth problem, in actuality what we really have is a mind and heart issue.”
When You Keep People at Arm’s Length
Scary Close by Donald Miller
Currently reading this book and loving it! Another great book dealing with shame, fear, and intimacy as they pertain to relationships. Stop hiding behind your mask and allow others to love you for who you really are!
“Love can’t be earned, it can only be given. Grace only sticks to our imperfections. It’s a beautiful moment when somebody wakes up to this reality, when they realize God created them so other people could enjoy them, not just endure them.”
When Suffering is Shaking Your Faith
Mercy in the Wilderness by Susie Larson
This one is also on my book bucket list! I recently got to meet the author and she is both wonderful and completely genuine. Looking forward to reading more of her story, health journey, and how she found strength in times of suffering.
“When we place our trust in a faithful God, He makes all things new. Learn to develop bold faith during difficult times. Face a prolonged trial with peace and perspective. Walk faithfully until your breakthrough comes.”
When You Want to Change Your Life
The Bible by God 🙂
Of course I couldn’t resist adding this one. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. This book has changed my life and continues to provide everything I need daily. If you want one book that will radically change your life while giving you the peace, hope, encouragement, and power you need to face the ups and downs of life – this is it. There’s something to say about a book that is still relevant whether you read it today or 6,000 years ago. God is the only one that can offer you freedom from your fears, give you strength for today, and hope for tomorrow. If you’ve never read the Bible or if it is confusing to you, I highly recommend getting the New Living Translation (NLT) or Study Bible which is much easier to understand! Try it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!