One Big Lesson from my January Reading
One goal that I currently have is to do yoga several times each week. This goal is beneath my capacity because a few years ago I ran a marathon, but since 2020 I’ve struggled with my health. I decided that I’d rather build a base for long-term health over big goals that feel good to meet, but aren’t sustainable.
A few books I’ve enjoyed lately are: Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle by Danté Stewart and Young, Gifted, and Black by Shelia Wise Rowe.
A good, fun, fascinating read is The Theory of Everything Else by a guy called Dan Schreiber. Well worth reading or listening to if you do Audiobooks. Funny, interesting - I loved it! Not a Christian book by any means (sorry for the swears!) but really refreshing and entertaining.
My one habit that's way below my capacity that I'm trying to focus on for today is to move for 5 minutes. I want to have a better relationship with my body.
I read this book called Who Moved My Cheese...it's very short but super impactful.
John, having relocated from nyc I've been reminded of something important. Though it is very different from stepping out of the ministry here's a thought I thought I'd share in case it speaks something good. People talk about the closing of one chapter in life and the beginning of another very often, but there's something powerful about that, especially with respect to calling. Because it is such a great calling. All the specifics of discipleship require the whole of one's life or nothing at all, and to be an example called to represent what that means in a way that is a good example is a task too great for anyone in the flesh.
By design that calling required no less than everything from you. So now what?? I can’t imagine how that must feel. I think in taking calling seriously it becomes more important to be able to appreciate what has happened in a whole bigger than our culture’s assumption "that the story of our lives are all our stories to tell all about us" can manage. It must be so exceptional to be a part of the church you helped to plant that God brought from nothing, also an opportunity to celebrate the work of faithfulness he did in you. I’ve been at times tempted to think the self-hatred we’re called to in the bible doesn’t allow for celebration of works God has done as ours in such a way but thank God I’ve grow to understand he sanctifies us to do just that.
As a whole, a whole completed chapter of your calling you now get to enjoy the fruit of in completing your next calling. What a privilege! I’m sure it’s one that Paul the Apostle felt. Not that the ministry you had in the chapter you ended doesn't have anything to say about the other chapters, it's part of the story, but when someone who having been called to an office in the church moves on I can imagine it is very important to be able to look back and to see the work we are a part of as a whole somehow unto itself. Especially because understand our calling to such an office as from God I think it can be important to understand he's calling us to other things too. A whole chapter completed. What a joy. How many people get to feel such a joy?! To know it completed so well.
I've always wanted to be in vocational ministry, and I don't know you so I'm not assuming you need to hear this, but I know for myself if I didn't believe every chapter of my life was about more than me, I don't think I'd have the hope that I've held onto that God is doing something bigger than I can understand in where he is calling me in the future chapters that I’d need to be the writer to see. He’s telling a better story than I could ever imagine. That I can have confidence in the chapters to come in my life, that God is calling me to something bigger than what I could predict in future chapters makes it all the better story! And yet, all the more important to understand the chapters behind us, to see what he had done, as a whole to be enjoyed in the future chapters. God bless you brother.
Two goals i've failed with becoming habits is getting to bed earlier (and going to sleep instead of staying up late reading ; ) and getting off sugar. Lowering the bar to a more reasonable attainment given the dynamics of family life would probably be a means of grace.
A book our family is reading at this time is titled Unoffendable by Brant Hansen. It was passed along not for what would seem the obvious, but due to the journey we've started with a family member. It's thought provoking. Reading it with the family is my second read.
I'm learning so much from your insight and wisdom. I feel like my hope of writing this book that apparently I'm supposed to write feels much more attainable after I listen to you...like your vantage point makes the whole ridiculous thing seem practical all of the sudden.
So I guess my goal is to write for 30 uninterrupted minutes in the mornings. And to meet my step count most days.
Thankful for your writing, it has really blessed me. I also really appreciate you sharing your book recommendations. Audio books have really helped me, along with Kindle, to boost the amount of books i have read/ listened to.
I love seeing how God is purposefully directing you in this season, its a huge encouragement to see God purposefully (as always) at work.
Your previous post inspired me to read more. So I took your goal of spending 30 minutes a day reading (or listening to audio books) as my own. So far I have completed a few books and am currently bouncing between Grace Can Lead Us Home (Kevin Nye) and We Go On!
Love these book recs! Definitely looking into them.
Two for you about habits:
The Common Rule and Habits of the Household
both by Justin Whitmel Earley. They really changed so much of how I viewed habits and my relationship with God and others.
John, I have just been introduced to your blog and it is so compelling! Since I haven’t been around you since early 2000’s, I am catching up with your brilliance. You are so honest and open, which is admirable and healthy! I’m happy to have stumbled upon your writings….what a blessing! Love to you and your family…