Other than the Bible, what was the most influential book you read in 2017 and why?
These two books topped my stack in 2017.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
My daughter said to me, “You’ve got to ready this book, Present Over Perfect. It totally nails us.” ‘Us’ meaning meaning her twin and me. At that time I was editing Unlocking Belief, and had no room in my life or in my brain for anything else. Yet, every time I had a free moment I read about the author, read the book reviews, even a few sample pages. The book wouldn’t leave me alone. Something about the byline, leaving behind frantic… So I ordered it, not the Kindle version, real pages, and it was my book for January 2017.
I was one chapter in when I cried. I was two chapters in when I wrote the author. And in chapter three I slowed down knowing this was going to be my book for the entire year, maybe longer.
My modus operandi is go, go, go, until burn out or exhaustion comes, then take a break, go underground, get a little energy back, then go again like a steam engine repeating the same scenario. This has been me for years, so many years that I know no other way.
This quote woke me wide awake: My greatest dream is to be left alone. Things have gone terribly awry. (chapter 3, too close to home)
Until now. I think I might have broken this crazy cycle.
I am learning how to slow down. I am learning how to be busy with a quiet mind. How to be different, how to delve into the pockets of my own heart that make me me, and to be myself. I think I am learning, maybe for the first time, that God loves me. I definitely am learning that I’ve been proving myself for way too long. I don’t feel driven anymore to be what I don’t care about.
Today, I’m not trying to figure out my calendar; I’ve wrestled the thing to the ground and have it in a stronghold. I am telling it what to do, not the other way around. And I still have such a long way to go.
Come Let us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp
In November at my book signing at Logos in Nashville I asked the owner what book was flying off the shelves. She handed me this Advent devotional and it went home with me.
After holding it close all December (it is 31 daily devotions) I now know why. This is a keeper and a giver.
In the past year when did God speak most clearly to you?
It started in August when I kept hearing in every book, sermon, Bible reading – repent. I am ashamed to admit it had been a very long time since I had confessed all my sins. Oh, I had confessed the big ones in prayer weekly at church and even on occasion in private prayer, but I’m talking about a thorough soul search.
God was clearly calling me to repent. I entered a personal season of repentance in late August and it ended in October. Later on I am going to write about it, but for now let me just say this – I never want to go back to the place where I casually ask God to forgive my sins. Sitting with God and as hard as it was, calling sin sin, naming my sins one by one and admitting them to God was good for my soul.
I learned this: God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. straight from Romans 2: 4
Ready for the next 3 questions?