Apparently I thought I would have more time on my hands than was realistic when I made my reading list for April. Of the five books that I put on my list, I only finished three, and one of them wasn’t even on my list!
I very slowly devoured and took meticulous notes on Julie Morgenstern’s book Time Management from the Inside Out. It was a GREAT read. I learned so much about how to better manage my time and how to think about time as a limited commodity, a container to be filled, as opposed to something slippery and elusive.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
I’ve always believed that if you aren’t where you want to be, you’re either on the way or you’re not so sure you want to get there.
Remember that the truth - what you really want and believe - is always there, whether you acknowledge it or not. What is in your heart will direct your decisions, with or without your cooperation.
Remember that life is nothing more than a series of decisions and corrections. There is no right answer.
Time management is a constant interaction between you, your goals, and the ever-changing rhythms and tempos of life.
When I say meticulous, I mean it - 38 full pages of notes from this book alone. There are few books that I deem worthy enough to label life changing, but this is definitely one to place in that category.
I read a copy from the library, but I will be ordering my own personal copy as soon as the budget allows!
My second read was Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman. Proverbs 31 Ministries has been going through the book for their latest OBS (Online Bible Study).
Everyone is on week 5…I am on week 3! *sigh*
Well, I’m trying at least. The problem that I’m having is that the book is reeeeeaaally good, and the Bible study is pretty in-depth, so I end up spending quite a bit of time reading and pondering and writing. When I start feeling pressure to keep up I just keep reminding myself of all the fabulous little nuggets that I’ve been meditating on these past few weeks.
I once heard it said that Jesus’ real ministry was the person he found standing in front of Him…Rather than trying to do something grand for God, perhaps we need to embrace the obscure instead. To stop trying to be profound or important and instead just be obedient. To quickly and humbly obey when we feel God telling us to engage with another or to cheer and hearten a weary soul.
I shouldn’t need that reminder, but I do. It’s so easy to get caught up in my own life and all that happens from day to day and not take a moment to simply look around.
My favorite take-away so far in the book is this…
God knows we are limited by time and space: Jesus himself was! He didn’t preach to everyone. He didn’t heal everyone. He didn’t comfort everyone. He didn’t even convert everyone. He simply showed up where God told him to go and did what God told him to do.
I so want to be like that.
It’s a five week Bible study. I might be finished by Christmas…maybe.
The book that wasn’t on my list but I knew when I came across it that I had to read it was Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
It was such a quick and fabulous read that I read it twice in as many days. I simply couldn’t put it down. Annie’s conversational, witty style of writing completely sucked me in, and the topic cut right to my heart.
You see, I am not particularly brave. In fact, I can be rather cowardly when it comes to big decisions and big changes. I like my life to be comfortable and predictable. Safe! I like safe.
This book challenged me to change….to be BRAVE! Not just because of the content but because Annie herself is just.like.me.
I don’t think it’s fun to risk, to gamble, to possibly lose. I like safety, smart choices, and learning the easy way.
I could’ve written that myself.
But then she later says…
I’m here to ask you to please do that thing in your heart that scares you to death. To make that move or leap or step or sound you wouldn’t have made a week ago. There is no formula and there are no rules.
Well ok, since she asked so nicely.
It’s hard to step out, be raw and open and honest. I could fail, be laughed at, embarrassed, ridiculed, and that leaves very painful scars! Don’t I already have enough of those?
I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing.
This I can totally relate to. When it comes to doing life I’ve always just done the next thing. When the curve balls fly toward me and the mountains loom ahead, I just take the next step, and the next, and the next. I don’t stop to ponder the ramifications, though I do sometimes pause to wallow in regret. I’m not perfect.
And in closing, my favorite quote from the book…
Never forget as you step forward with your life that you are a trailblazer. Someone is watching…even if you don’t see the other watching, or standing or following, they are there…all sorts of people. Seeing you be brave may be all they need to be brave. That may be all it takes. This is your map. This is your story. Be brave for yourself, be brave for your God, and be brave for the onlookers, the ones who will be inspired by you to inspire others.
Amen girl! Let’s all be brave!
So here’s my tentative list for May. I learned last month that I probably won’t stick to my list, but making a plan at least gets me started.
Life Management for Busy Women
by Elizabeth George
Can you tell I have a slight obsession with time management?
I’ve actually already started this book and while it doesn’t measure up to the technical insight to time management that Julie Morgenstern’s book provided, it delves into the more spiritual side of time management, which is just as important.
You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream
by Holley Gerth
This is one of three planned follow-ups to Let’s All Be Brave. Now that I’ve decided to be a bit lot more brave, I will need some encouragement and guidance alongside my Bible reading.
If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat
by John Ortberg
Book number two of three planned follow-ups to Let’s All Be Brave.
The description says:
“John Ortberg invites you to consider the incredible potential that awaits you outside your comfort zone. Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God. The experience is terrifying. It’s thrilling beyond belief.”
Well alright then! Time to be brave!
The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children
by Stormie Omartian
I’ve read every other power of praying book that Stormie has written, except this one. Since I have two adult children now, I figure it’s about time.
What are you reading this month?