I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. I hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading too.
ATOMIC HABITS – by James Clear
James Clear has written a well-researched and scientifically backed book on how small habits can lead to big changes. By “Atomic” he means small, like atoms. Small changes can have great affect over time. The book breaks down how habits are formed and how new ones can be created or old ones overcome. James gives a number of examples that help to make sense of what he is teaching.
I especially like how he ties our habits to our identity. Deciding it would be good if I would run occasionally is very different than calling yourself a runner. If you are a runner, then you run. If you are trying to make a habit of running because I need to lose weight you will not have the same impetus as if you were identifying as a runner in the first place.
Want to overcome bad habits? Want to start new beneficial ones? Then this book will be a great help!!
Who are you? I mean, if friends were to describe you, what words and phrases would they mention?
As we transition into a new year, we are often asked about our resolutions. I prefer setting goals rather than making resolutions.
Some of us might want to rethink goals just a bit. I tend to set goals to accomplish something. For example, I want to read the whole Bible this year, using the Chronological reading plan that puts things in the order they probably happened. I also want to finish writing a book. But should I be setting some different goals?
How about goals that affect who we are? Should we be setting some goals in areas that would impact who we are, what our personality is, or how we face life?
If you want to be seen as a generous person, you could make your goal to be more generous this year. However, vague goals like that are less effective than those with more specific or concrete descriptors. Maybe we could write a list of what a “generous person” is like or what they do and how they interact with others. Perhaps you view generosity as being freer with your resources and time, for example, such as lending your tools or giving food to the food bank. Or your focus could be on buying meaningful things for people you care about or inviting more people to your home for a meal. You could do some research and find a worthwhile cause to support, financially or by volunteering, being generous with money and generous with your time. You might choose to lend your books to a friend after you read them. It’s your goal, so make it yours. You could consider reading some books or taking a course on generosity.
If being generous doesn’t resonate with you, consider a few other character goals. Think about your own life and moments of personal frustration or struggle to identify where you might want to focus your personal growth.
1. Do you want to be more forgiving? You realize you are quick to judge, quick to get angry and offended, and slow to forgive. You want to forgive more freely. Then set a character goal of becoming more forgiving.
2. You might desire to be more patient. You struggle with having to wait for anything. You could set a goal to deliberately always take the longest line in the grocery store, or when buying gas. You could find ways of thinking about other things while waiting. You could memorize scripture…so every time you wait in line you bring up the verses you are learning and go over them. Now the slow line becomes productive for you, and you are being more patient.
3. Would you like to be more creative? You could read books and take courses. You could find ways of trying new things that require creativity. Maybe you schedule in some “day-dreaming” into your day so that you can focus on your creativity.
4. Maybe you want to be more at peace and worry less. You could memorize scripture verses on not worrying. You could pray, even ask others to pray with you, that God would help you have peace in your life.
5. Maybe you want to be more considerate of other people. This is one I have to work on. I have set a goal for me to connect with at least two people who are not in my immediate family or part of the church. Personally, I want to text or visit or connect in a meaningful way with others that are outside of my immediate thought process. These are people I care about, but they may not realize it because I rarely connect with them.
I’m sure that if you ask yourself: “What is one area in my life where I would like to improve?” you will quickly come up with an answer.
Now, before we leave this, I want to suggest that some of these self-improvement goals may need some outside help. Maybe you connect with a coach, or book a few sessions with a counselor. Maybe you meet with your pastor, or a good friend. And you ask for others to speak into your life and help you think of how to improve in your area you want to grow in.
I’m thinking that a number of us probably have people in our life who are really good at the area we want to improve. At least for me, my lack shows up when I see others who are doing so well in this area. My wife is one who is great at noticing others and connecting and loving – and that is why I recognize I have some improving to do. Take time to talk with those in your life who exemplify the area you want to work on. Maybe you are doing well in an area they want to work on and you can help each other.
I encourage you to set some risk-taking goals for the year: tasks to complete as well as areas of personal character growth. Put a plan into place, to learn and grow in these areas.
I wish you all the best for 2022. May it be a life-changing year for you!!
I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.
BAPTIZED IN THE SPIRIT – by Randy Clark
I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons:
I am growing and learning in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and this book brought some goo foundations to that learning.
Randy Clark does a good job of explaining the historical understandings of different denominations and theological traditions.
Randy does a great job walking through the many historical revivals where the Spirit showed up in power – with similar displays of God’s power as many are experiencing today when the Spirit shows up.
If you are looking to grow in knowledge and experience of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, this book is a great foundation to that. It helps you to see that some of the unusual experiences of recent revivals are not that unusual when compared to previous outbreaks of the Spirit. And it helps give a balanced understanding of what we might expect if we are filled or baptized with the Spirit.
This book leaves you longing for more of the Spirit – His presence and His power.