A few weeks ago i sent out a list of five biographies of people who had lived through some really tough things but found God’s contentment in the middle of it all.
A few weeks before that I shared a list of five books that have really shaped how I understood Biblical Contentment.
Today i have a list of five books that have pushed me along into contentment. Not just examples of it, or understanding it, but helping me actually live it.
These are works that helped me see – sometimes in quite practical ways – how to find God’s contentment despite the hardships of life.
Four Books that Pushed Me Into a Life of Contentment:
(in no particular order)
1. Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools – Tyler Staton
This book was a wake up call for me. Staton is a normal guy, with a normal life – that’s not really normal because of his reliance on prayer. He shares his experience in fully relying on God through prayer. Not that God will give you what you want – but through prayer you reshape your life – into one of more contentment as you become more reliant on God
2. Ruthless Elimination of hurry – John Mark Comer
This book feels like something that I will need to reread every year or so. So much of our hurry is due to feeling we are responsible for everythign. We think if we don’t get everything done that we think we need to, the world falls apart. Comer argues hurry is the great enemy of a spiritual life. Hurry is us being distracted from what we ought to be paying attention to….God. The solution he argues is actually admitting we have limitations, and accept Jesus easy yoke. The book has some good practical insight into the ancient spiritual disciplines: silence and solitude, sabbath, True contentment is found when we admit we can’t do everything and instead rely on God to guide our path.
3. You Are What You Love – James KA Smith
Caveat- I love James KA Smith’s writing (I just finished How to inhabit Time) – second caveat Smith is a philosophy professor so his books are not always ”easy reads.” The main premise is: You are what you love. But you might not love what you think. Smith pushes us to think about what we really love – if we look at what we spend our time, energy, resources on. THOSE are the things we really worship – and they change who we are. We often want to shape our culture but ignore how the love’s of culture are shaping us. The subtitle of the book is “The Spiritual Power of Habit” as Smith urges us to see that it doesn’t really matter what we ‘think’ or what we ‘believe’ if what we do -which shows the true direction of our loves – is not aligned . He emphasized spiritual ‘formation’ not merely ‘information as the way to find lasting contentment.
4. The Next right thing – Emily P. Freeman
I remember reading Freema’s The Next Right Thing years ago when I was in a time of trying to figure out what direction our lives might take. One thing that really stuck out for me was realizing that in so many decisions i was always looking to the potential end-result, and trying to manage that. Freeman argues if we have faith that God is in control. we leave results up to him, and merely do what we think is the next right thing. When we realize we are often scared about making ‘the wrong choice’ – no matter how big or small – we realize how much fear is controlling us. Admitting we never had control is the only way to get over that fear and find lasting contentment in life despite all the many decisions we face – big and small – every day.
Talk to you next Thursday!