Is it really October? The calendar moves with increasing speed nowadays.
I swear, I’m gonna wake up tomorrow with presents under the tree. I’ll be at the top of the stairs at my in-laws’ house with my “special” Ho-Ho jammies, holding the hands of my wife and kids as we walk down “as a family” to open Christmas gifts.
Yes, I’m bitter. Why must a grown man wear Christmas jammies and be forced to frolic down the stairs?
You need to stop laughing.
And besides this is my favorite season of the year. I’m talking about fall. College and Professional Football. Major League Baseball playoffs. Leaves changing. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Man, I would love to pump the brakes on the calendar right now.
As we take in the final breaths of 2017, I want to recommend a few books you need to read, books that will encourage and inspire you in these remaining months.
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Brene Brown is one of the most important voices of this generation. Her work on vulnerability and shame has the power to change our culture. You might remember her TED Talk, one of the most memorable talks I’ve ever heard.
Braving the Wilderness is about the quest for true belonging. Here’s how Brown defines true belonging:
“the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
Don’t you want that? Yes, you do. Our culture is desperate for it. The words in this book are so timely. Prophetic. You need to read them.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson
That’s right, the same Eugene Peterson who penned the Message, arguably the most popular Bible translation out there. Peterson is more than a one-trick pony, though. He’s a pastor, speaker and author of a crap ton of books.
This book is his last. It’s a compilation of sermons he’s preached over nearly three decades of preaching and teaching. If you collect books, this one is a must-have, a summation (of sorts) of Peterson’s most important messages over nearly three decades of pastoral ministry.The chapters relatively short, you can use the book as a daily devotional. Good luck reading just one chapter, though. I couldn’t put it down.
The chapters are relatively short, so you can use the book as a daily devotional. Good luck reading just one chapter, though. I couldn’t put it down.
The Sacred Enneagram by Cristopher L. Heuertz
I’m all in on the Enneagram. Not because it’s trendy or informative. This spiritual tool exposes the lies that enslave and prevent us from becoming the people God created us to be. The Enneagram has helped me grow as a Christian, a husband, and a father. It has increased my capacity for compassion and empathy.
The Enneagram has helped me grow as a Christian, a husband, and a father. It has increased my capacity for compassion and empathy.
The Sacred Enneagram is the most recent book in the Enneagram world. The author, Christopher Heuertz, is an Enneagram Jedi. He’s been studying the tool for years, learning folks like Mother Teresa. (Yes, that Mother Teresa) and Richard Rohr, arguably the father of the Enneagram as it relates to American Christianity.
If you want to grow in self-awareness (and subsequently as a spouse, parent, and follower of Jesus), you should pick up this book.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She has been named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. She’s also a gifted writer.
A couple years ago, Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died, suddenly, tragically, while on a family vacation. Option B details the days, weeks and months following his death.
How does someone so successful and influential process and overcome something like this? Option B a compelling read. But it’s much more than a powerful story, although it is that. It’s a guide for handling grief and loss well. It’s a hopeful reminder of our resiliency as humans. And it’s a great encouragement to anyone going through a dark season.
You can transform pain into joy. You can find life from loss.
Parenting by Paul Tripp
Paul Tripp is one of my favorite Christian authors. Though I haven’t read all his stuff, I can’t imagine this book not being his best. It’s powerful. It’s transformative. If you’re a parent, it’s a must-read. Tripp will reshape your perspective on parenting.
Parenting is not another self-help guide. It’s an invitation to embrace a big picture view on parenting, to let go of to-do lists and release the burden of manufacturing change in your kids (this isn’t even possible, as Tripp will show you).
The principles Tripp introduces are gospel-centered and grace-soaked. You will finish it both challenged and encouraged to raise kingdom-minded kids.
Present Over Perfect by Shana Niequist
Savor, Bread and Wine, and now this yummy book, Present Over Perfect. Shana Niequist knows how to introduce timely, life-giving truths into a culture overcome with busyness and frantic scurrying from one thing to the next. True life, abundant life, often seems like a pipe dream in modern-day America.
That’s why you need this book. Niequist will take you on a journey to discover a different kind of life, one filled with meaning, connection and depth. These are the signposts that lead to an abundant life, friends.
You don’t have to be perfect. You really don’t. You just need to be present. You just need to give what you have to every moment. That’s what it means to live. Present Over Perfect will show you how to make it happen.
If you could recommend one book to read before the end of the year, what would it be? Leave a comment below.
Grace and peace, friends.
Frank is lead writer and editor for the blog at Bayside church. He is also a husband, father and Jesus-follower. Occasionally he plays golf. Often he drinks coffee.