5 Books That Impacted My Life

5 Books That Impacted My Life

Have you ever read a book that seemed to stick with you through the passing of time?  Even if you didn’t implement every strategy or underline every word, there were certain parts, certain ideas, certain principles that seemed to shape and mold the person you were becoming?  I’ve had a few books that really impacted my thinking and living and I thought I’d take a moment to share them with you in case your looking for some great summer reading!  Of course, I understand if my favorite books don’t impact your life, but I would encourage you to give a few a try!   If you have a book that really impacted you, I’d love to hear about it so I can add it to my ever-increasing “to read someday” list as well!

5 Books that Impacted My Life

(listed in no particular order)

#1 Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

This book was recommended to me by my mentor in college and it really rocked my conservative sheltered world.  While there is certainly some questionable content in this book, I love Donald Miller’s honesty as he wrestles with what it means to really be a Christian.  Of course, I loved the chapter on the confession booth (I won’t ruin the story line), but I also loved the chapter on the hippies. Donald Miller remarked he felt so appreciated when he was with these people out in the wilderness because they really listened.   I was reminded of this chapter when listening to Megan Marshman at the Gathering last year and I wonder how often I truly give the gift of authentically listening to others?

p.s. Just for the record, I did not like the movie.

#2 Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God 

This is a book I spotted while working at the library during college. I used it for many weeks during my quiet times and it really changed the way I approached prayer.  So often, we run and run and organize and check things off,  hoping to do everything right, and we completely neglect the power that is readily available to us through prayer.  Isn’t it time we started slowing down a bit to actually spend time with the God we’re trying to work for?

#3 With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development

I’m not sure how I happened upon this book, but the timing was perfect (or should I say providential) since I was reading it at the exact time I needed to pick a senior internship.  I remember sitting in my dorm room reading through the book when I said to my room-mate “I wish I could intern with this guy — he’s doing everything I want to do!”  Naturally, she answered with, “Well, why don’t you?” And the rest is history.

I ended up spending 8 weeks at the John M. Perkins Foundation, arriving just 3 days before Hurricane Katrina hit.  I was able to see what this foundation for community development did “on their normal days” and I had the opportunity to also see how they were able to minister to people during a time of crisis.  It was an amazing learning opportunity for me and it all started with a book.

#4 The Heart Reader

This book was lent to me by my Uncle Chuck while I was in high school.  It is a very short read and fairly simplistic, but the basic idea is, “What if you could hear people’s inner thoughts and hurts?  What if you could hear things like God does?”  That’s exactly what happens to the main character in this fiction book — he begins hearing people’s thoughts as if they were speaking directly to him.  The book serves as an excellent reminder that everyone has a story, everyone is going through something, and many people who are sitting just across the room from you are desperately hurting and looking for answers.

#5 The Grace Awakening

This book was given to me by my husband while we were still dating and it served as the best explanation of grace I had ever heard at the time.  Charles Swindoll spoke of grace as not only the means of forgiveness, but also the means to overcome sin in our lives. Recently, I’ve been following the work of Mike Foster a bit and his emphasis on grace reminded me of the things I read and learning in the pages of this book.

What About You?

Do you have a book that changed your thinking in some way?  I’d love to hear about it!

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