I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to read!! I’ve always loved to read ever since I was a kid. I remember some nights I would sneak a flashlight into bed just so I could continue my book after bedtime. My love for reading has continued to grow and as I have gotten older, I have been able to find books that really speak to me and the situations that I am going through. I have come across some amazing books that have really impacted me and ultimately helped shape my life. It’s amazing how much of an impact one book can have on someone and how it can motivate them to completely change their habits, thinking and ultimately their lives! I know that there are some books that have done that for me. Here are eight of those books:
For Such A Time As This: Your Identity, Purpose & Passion (Lisa Ryan)
If I remember correctly, my mom bought this book for me when I was a teenager. I remember reading this book and not wanting to put it down. This book centers around the story of Esther (which happens to be my fave story in the Bible). It talks about how we are called to be different and that God has a bigger plan for our lives than we even know. It also emphasizes the need to find our identity, purpose and passion in Christ. It stresses that we are put on this earth “for such a time as this” and that there is a specific plan God has for our lives for the here and now. That we need to make sure we are in the position for the Lord to use us when He needs us. Growing up I always felt different, like I couldn’t be like everyone else. This book really helped to validate my feelings of feeling this way and to help me see the bigger picture as to the why. I’m so glad I got this book when I did, because it really helped to instill in me the confidence that I needed to remain different.
2. I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Joshua Harris)
Yes, I was an “I kissed dating goodbye-er”. By the time I found this book I had already started really thinking about my future, relationships and all of that good stuff. I knew that having a boyfriend was not an option at the time, so this book was the encouragement I needed. This book talks about not participating in the dating scene as we all know it to be. But rather wait for sincere love, focus on real purity and practice purposeful singleness. Joshua Harris provided great and practical tips on how to do those three things. I’ll be honest, while I had adopted this mindset, it didn’t take away the fact that sometimes I wanted a “special someone” in my life. Now that I’m older and grown, I see that not having boyfriends in my teen/early young adult years was not such a bad thing after all. It allowed me to really focus on my future: school, career and life. Looking back on it now, I really don’t feel like I missed out on too much by not having the dating experience at a younger age.
3. Boy Meets Girl (Joshua Harris)
As I got older and began to think about marriage, I transitioned to reading Boy Meets Girl by the same author as I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This book focuses on an alternative to dating, which is courting. Basically it was “purposeful dating” without all the extracurricular that came with regular dating (if you know what I mean). When it was time to start a relationship with Henry, I remembered and implemented the suggestions and ideas from this book. In the end, I’m grateful for these books, because following these steps really helped prevent a lot of heartache and unnecessary drama for me on my journey to marriage.
4. Happy Women Live Better (Valorie Burton)
I came across this book when I was going through the very challenging time in my relationship with Henry. I was in a really low place personally and was so unhappy about everything. My unhappiness was affecting every area of my life. Valorie Burton talks about happiness triggers that everyone has in their lives. When those triggers are identified, an individual is able to use them to help increase their happiness. Utilizing and using those triggers can help increase your joy in EVERY situation. Even in the stressful times. When I followed this process, I found that it really worked and saw my joy and happiness levels increase. As I continued to follow this process my attitude began to change. I became more positive and my outlook on life became one of gratitude. And that has made all the difference!
5. Living Well Spending Less [LWSL] (Ruth Soukup)
When I came across this book, the title really jumped out at me. I found this book shortly after I had Rissy. I had never heard of Ruth Soukup before, but the title seemed so interesting that I had to pick it up. One of the reasons why I like this book so much is that she offers practical solutions for various situations. For example, as a busy mom, she understands how it feels to feel overwhelmed with all the moving pieces that we have to coordinate. She offers advice on how to stick to a budget, manage your time, identify your passions and talents so they can drive you to follow your dreams, learn to be content where you are and with what you have so you don’t feel the need to compare yourself with others and so much more!! This is a great book and a very easy read. I had a hard time putting it down and I read it in just a couple of days. From there I checked out her blog www.livingwellspendingless.com and have been hooked ever since! I also even purchased her Living Well Spending Less Planner which you can find here. I am so glad I found this book and am actually in the process of reading it again. It really is THAT good!
6. Life Management for Busy Women (Elizabeth George)
This was also another book that I found at the same time I came across LWSL. I was looking for resources to help me manage this life as a new mom and all the demands that came with it. This was also a great book and a very easy read. In this book Elizabeth gives very practical ways to manage life as a busy woman. She stresses the importance of giving God your first time and then using the strategies provided to maximize the rest of your time. In this book she teaches women how to live each day God’s way and to find ways to better manage the resources we have been given whether it’s time, talent or treasure. This was a great book and I find myself referring to as needed.
7. StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Tom Rath)
I got this book as a Christmas gift from Henry one year. I had heard about it before but never really thought too much about it. The main idea of this book is to help you uncover your talents and strengths. A Gallup strengths assessment is provided for the reader to complete via the website. Once completed and your talents/areas of strength are revealed and strategies for applying those strengths are provided. This was a great book for me both personally and professionally because it enabled me to find strengths that could be maximized in both settings. After reading this book, I was so excited about the new information I had discovered and couldn’t wait to apply it in my life. I believe that a lot of the professional growth that I have made these past few years has been as a result of my application of the strategies provided from the Strengthsfinders assessment.
8. Let It Go (TD Jakes)
I’ll admit that I have not read this book in its entirety, but the parts that I have read made such an impact on me that I had to add it to the list. I started reading this book during the really challenging time I was going through in my marriage. I was drawn to this book because I had been so hurt and at that time and didn’t know if I could forgive those who had hurt me. In this book, Bishop Jakes shares experiences that he went through where he had to practice forgiveness. The message that we should forgive so that we can be forgiven is so important and actually comes from the Lord’s Prayer. This book helped me to look past hurt and what I had such a hard time forgiving, to see that I too, needed forgiveness. In order to be forgiven, I needed to forgive. I know that he covers many more topics in this book, but what I needed for that specific time is what I received. I’m definitely going to go back and revisit this book so that I can read it in its entirety. I am interested to see what new messages and insights I will get from it this time around.
I am truly grateful for these books that helped to shape my life. I truly believe that these books came into my life at just the right times. It’s amazing how they were able to give the guidance, encouragement and strategies I needed to help me get where I am today. This shows me that God takes interest in every little detail of our lives even down to the books that we should be reading and when we should be reading them. This may seem like a little thing, but as I look back on it, I see that it was actually a big thing after all! On that note, I’m interested to see what new lessons and insights I have to learn from the big stack of books that I can’t wait to dive into next! We shall see! Perhaps I’ll even write a post about them!
So dear friends, I would love to know…what are some books that have helped shape your lives? Please share in the comments below! I would love to hear about them. You never know, I might just add them to my “must read” list! 🙂