One of my favorite things to do is to recommend books! I used to read –on average– 80 books per year ((grins)). So, I’ve got quite the collection to pull from.

Here are 14 amazing Christian Living books I’d recommend:

  1. Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick
  2. Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding – Leanna Tankersley
  3. Girls With Swords – Lisa Bevere
  4. What Keeps You Up At Night? – Pete Wilson
  5. If: Trading Your If-Only Regrets For God’s What-If Possibilities – Mark Batterson
  6. Grace For the Good Girl – Emily P. Freeman
  7. Practicing the Presence of Jesus – Wally Armstrong
  8. Battle Ready – Kelly Balarie
  9. The God-First Life – Stovall Weems
  10. Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God – Gary Thomas
  11. Girl Meets God: A Memoir – Lauren Winner
  12. Jesus in the Margins – Rick McKinley
  13. The Beautiful Fight – Gary Thomas
  14. The Jesus of Suburbia – Mike Erre

(Note: This post contains Affiliate links. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information).

We live in an age with an abundance of information. It comes at us from everywhere — home, church, school, work, online — it’s no wonder so many of us have lost sight of / gotten so confused about who we really are!

For a lot of my younger years, I attended church and Christian schools. It wasn’t until college that I started to learn that there were other worldviews that existed.

Throughout my twenties and thirties, a lot of time was spent maybe not “unlearning” the things I was taught, but rather seeking to take hold of what was true, and releasing what wasn’t. I needed to come to my own conclusions about what I believed, instead of blindly accepting everything others had taught me, without questioning it.

And yes, through this process of questioning and choosing, my life was transformed. It brought a maturity and a strength I hadn’t previously had.

LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me what you need to “unlearn” (or question) in order to grow.

Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.

Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.

These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).

After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.

Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.

Brendon writes, They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?

This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.

Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward somethinghaving certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.

For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.

But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!

God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him knownto do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.

So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.

And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!

By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.

Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to set up a time to chat with me (30 minutes, no obligation), and we can get you some insight on that!

When is the last time you tried to change a habit? How did you do? Were you successful?

A lot of people do okay for a little while, but then things come up, and they find themselves reverting back to their old ways.

In the past, you might have been told, and/or believed that you just needed some stronger willpower. Nowadays, however, it’s coming to light that that’s maybe not the case.

Instead, a better method is to find your “why”.

Your why is the soul-deep reason behind the changes you’re wanting to make.

In her book, “F.I.T: 10 Steps to Your Faith Inspired Transformation“, Kim Dolan Leto recommends that your “why” be rooted in one of three areas: relational, medical, or spiritual. The reason for this is that these are areas most closely tied to our core values. As such, our why— our reason for wanting to change — will be super-strong, and will have its roots deep enough to keep us motivated and moving forward, even when life tries to throw us curve balls, and derail our plans.

To give you an example, my own “why” is two-fold: spiritual and medical. First, I want to be able to live life to the fullest, and I can’t do that if I’m unable to get my butt off the couch. Second, I’m tired of feeling like a “victim” in my life, and am aiming to build up my strength, physically. I started with going to the gym. Now, I’m turning my focus to eating better, and to continuing my strength-training from home.

Life has definitely tried to mess with my plans, several times in the past year. But remembering my reasons for making these changes has helped me to continue. Thinking of my “why” re-lights that deep, inner fire to change my life for the better.

So, give some thought to this. See if you can find a soul-deep reason for the changes that you want to make. Make sure that this reason really touches something at the core of you, as then it will be deeply-rooted, and nothing will be able to stop you from reaching your goals.

There are two individuals who come to my mind when I think about choices in life. Both of these people are in a spot where they’ve been beaten down in life — their choices have gotten the better of them. This has made these individuals very pessimistic. They don’t feel that life will ever get any better. They feel they’ve just had bad luck, and that things aren’t ever likely to change.

What both of these individuals fail to realize, however, is that, if they could be open to the possibilities, they could begin to see that it’s all very much about choicesmindset, perspective, and practice.

They can CHOOSE to see things differently. They can CHOOSE to work on their mindset. They can CHOOSE to work on finding a way to either (a) escape their current less-than-ideal circumstances, or (b) make their circumstances more bearable. It’s all a matter of CHOICE.

God gave each one of us free will. And it hasn’t been revoked just because we got ourselves stuck in some “mud”. We can choose to continue playing the woe-is-me “victim” and settle for the mediocre life we’re in. OR, we can choose to make changes!

It absolutely breaks my heart to see people giving up and settling for a life that is so much LESS THAN what is available for us!

Trust me, I’m not always the optimist. Goodness knows, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff in my own life that could have left me hopeless (and just about did!). Heck, I’m still dealing with circumstances that are far from ideal! But, I also know that it could be worse… and it’s not (which I thank the Lord for).

I just keep leaning on the Lord for my strength. He has given me hope to see that my current circumstances are not my final destination, and that “it can be well with my soul, even when it’s not with my circumstances”. God has used my less-than-perfect situation to teach me that life really is all about choices, mindset, perspective, and practice.

What I truly hope is that I can help others realize that only they are responsible for what their life turns out like. It’s YOUR choice. If you don’t like your life, make a change. {Start here}.

Have you ever gotten into something, realized it wasn’t the greatest fit for you, and then… accepted your fate and stayed put? Maybe you thought it was the “responsible” thing to do, or that, since you’d already invested this much time in it, you may as well keep going. But, what if I told you that it was okay to quit — to let it go?

So often, we blindly follow rules and perform actions without questioning why. We accept that things just are the way they are, because that’s how it’s “always been”, or we do things a certain way because it’s what is “expected”. The problem is, we then end up just going through the motions in life, and things continue to feel boring, or routine, or mundane. We continue to do and think things, but then wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

Thanks to a couple of books I read, recently (see them here & here), I feel like I’m starting to wake up to the possibilities.

Here’s a question for you: Who decided that you must keep doing things that way? What would happen if you changed things up? And, who said you can’t do this or that? What if you all-of-a-sudden just…did? (obviously, I’m not meaning anything illegal, or morally corrupt, okay?)

Seriously, though… I think far too many of us are left with unsatisfying and unfulfilling lives because we forget the following 4 things:

QUESTION

It’s okay — and even GOOD! — to question things; to ask “why”. Until I was in my late teens, I never really questioned my faith or the things I’d been taught in church, or even the way we did things in that church. Yet when I learned to question, I saw the flaws, and I realized I’d fallen into legalism. My faith has actually grown by leaps & bounds, ever since I learned to question why I do & think the things I do.

BE CURIOUS

Despite what they say about our poor feline friend, curiosity won’t (normally) kill you. Instead, it makes life brighter, and it adds an element of fun! We are born curious… it’s how we learn! Which leads me to…

TRY

You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do, but you’ve put off doing out of hesitation? What would happen if you took a leap of faith, and just gave it a try? Sure, you might fail at it. Would that really be as bad as you think? Isn’t regretting chances not taken ultimately worse? Don’t let your fear hold you back, and leave you with end-of-life regrets. Take chances! Have an open-minded attitude. Decide you will try the thing, and if it doesn’t work out (or you end up really disliking it), you can just let it go and try something else! You have the freedom to choose. Use it! (and hey… maybe it will work out — maybe you’ll succeed — and you’ll have a blast! Only one way to find out!)

PRACTICE

All too many of us (myself, included!) tend to forget that it takes practice to become good at just about everything. All of us start at Level Zero when we’re first trying something new. Every single one of us starts as a beginner — a “newbie”. And that’s an okay place to be. Why? Because you can only go UP from there! By practicing, you may never reach “perfection”, but you –guaranteed!– will see progress. Yes, it may take a while. The more you do a thing, however, the better you’ll get at it. Keep practicing, and you’ll keep “leveling up“! It’s the only way to succeed.

So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or bored, ask yourself if you need to throw out the old ways, and try something new. Be curious about how you can change things up. And, when you find something that does bring a spark back to things, accept your “beginner” status, and commit to practicing until you’ve gotten to your preferred level of excellence. And, don’t forget: nothing is ever permanent (except death)You ALWAYS have the freedom to make a different choice.