Sometimes, life is too fast for me. If I fall behind on things one day, I find myself playing catch-up for an entire week. The days take on a frantic feel and I find very little satisfaction in the things I do. It’s too hurried and pressing to be enjoyed. Life is meant to be savored.
It’s more difficult for me to sense God’s presence during these times. My mind is too distracted during my quiet time to settle upon Him, and I sometimes leave our sacred meeting feeling frustrated. I then enter into my day unbalanced, slightly less in touch with what it means to be holy than I should be. In this state, it’s easy for me to forget my tongue, to snap or speak harshly, maybe gossip a bit, or criticize unnecessarily.
My crutches during these times are the godly resources that cross my path. Sometimes it is easier to focus on the written word than to come up with my own. I am so thankful for the many wonderful books and Bible studies that the Lord has sent my way. They keep me in line. They make me try to rise above. They challenge me and encourage me. What a blessing to have so many resources!
God has been speaking to me through two particular books recently. One is the Bible study that I am doing with my church ladies, If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg; the other is a book that I came across in my bloggy world: The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman To Do by the mother-daughter team of Kathie Reimer and Lisa Whittle.
The first book is about having the courage to step out in faith and the second one is about living out a life of faith. Together, they make a great little life manual!
I’m not finished with the Ortberg book, but I really want to share about the other book. I frequent Lisa Whittle’s blog, and have grown very fond of this sweet woman. She has an amazing heart and steadfast desire to help other women grow in their faith. I think she is beautiful.
The 7 Hardest Things…challenged me to examine how I live my life and operationalize what it means to me to be a woman of God. The seven things that Lisa and Kathie discuss actually describe a life that is lived surrendered to Jesus.
These ladies share stories from their personal lives to illustrate the many concepts in the book, and that makes an enjoyable read. But there is a lot of meat in this book!! I cannot emphasize this enough. In fact, my only regret in reading it was that I was reading it alone. This book would make an excellent Bible study. As I read through its pages, I found myself longing to discuss it with other women of faith.
I don’t want to give away the main points of the book, but I would like to share a couple of my favorite parts with you.
One of the first chapters in the book is about being tolerant/intolerant. While the tolerants were right on (tolerant of people, tolerant of circumstances, etc.) it was the intolerants that got my attention. Many of what was said convicted me. Lisa explains thoroughly why God wants us to be intolerant of fear (here I am, a big scaredy cat), mediocrity (that comfort zone sure feels nice), and focus on self (who else is there?).
Hello? It felt like she was holding a mirror up in front of me and saying, “Girl, when you gonna really believe what God has made you?” Lisa calls a life that is intolerant of these, among other things, “black diamond slope” living. Leaving fear behind frees us up to live the adventure with God that He intended. (Plus, the story about her grandmother at the end of this chapter made me cry. She must have been an amazing lady!)
Another of my favorite parts came in the chapter on failure/success. God calls us to both. He is what we would call a “hands on” teacher.
One of my underlines in this chapter is the following quote from Kathie: “I believe one of the most common tools God uses to bring us to the end of our inadequate resources, and the beginning of his limitless everything-we-need-for-life-and-godliness, is through irregular people in our lives, difficult circumstances, and demanding relationships.”
Isn’t that the truth? My greatest successes have come when I have handed the project over to Jesus. I love that. (This chapter has a great story about Grandma Reimer too! Love this lady!)
Oh, I could just say something wonderful about every chapter in this book! I wasn’t kidding about the meat. Kathie and Lisa back everything up scripturally. Very good stuff. It can be a little overwhelming, though. It’s a lot to digest. A true quarter pounder. With cheese. That’s why I think it would make a great Bible study. It’s the kind of book that sparks great discussions and intimate conversations.
I’m always excited when I find a new author that I enjoy. Lisa has a new book coming out in May. I’ll keep you posted and happy reading!