Review by Rayna: How’s Your Soul?

Review by Rayna: How’s Your Soul?

 

How’s your soul? Is a question most of us avoid not Judah Smith.  In fact, he asks his friends this often and this book is a book about how he explored the answer to this question for himself.

The book challenges you to look deep.  Even though vulnerability is scary and it feels much saver to be superficial and not allow others to see if you are really OK on the inside.  Outward indicators are usually how we judge how things are going in our life but success is not how we know if we are OK on the inside.

To examine if you are satisfied, stable and healthy to determine how your soul is doing.

Our health and wellness moves from the inside out.  Most of the time when we struggle with inner peace we double down on the work on the outside, sadly that doesn’t bring peace.  You can’t make all the outside things go the way you want and you can’t escape what is not going well.

Our souls must learn to lean on and into God, the giver of our souls.

Relating to God from a place of forgiveness and acceptance from Jesus helps us find deeper fulfillment in God on a soul level will change everything.

Jonah challenges us to find a nurturing environment as God created it for us in the beginning.  A place of rest, responsibility, restraint and relationships rooted in God only.  He takes a closer look at each of this things in the light of God’s design for us.

One of the most powerful parts of this book for me was when Jonah examined how we often deal with emotions today.  Most of us allow our emotions to rule our world.  We have even gotten to a place that if we feel something is true then decide it must be.  Facts are evaluated in the light of our feelings.

Fulfillment, peace, joy, health on the inside, are often found by doing the exact opposite of what we feel like doing in the moment.  Our feelings can’t rule our lives.  How much different would your life be today if you were to step out of the place where you trust your feelings so much?

Another section that spoke to me was about control.  “We all struggle with viewing ourselves as god of our own lives.”  My first reaction was probably like yours, no way.  But Jonah goes on to say we have responsibilities but we are not in charge of our own fates.  You can’t live like it is all up to you.  If you do you are being a god of your life.  If you want a calm quiet soul you have to recognize, I am not in control.  The Lord has your best interest in mind.  “External control does not give us inner peace.”  God has both external control and the ability to give us internal peace.  We must let God be god of all.

I am sure you will find this book one that causes sore toes and a more contented heart.  So How’s Your Soul? If you’re not sure or if you want to ponder it a little deeper this is a good read for you.

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3 Ways an Observer Hat Helps Me Love Better

The Think. Question. Change. Workshop just finished up.  One of the key concepts we discussed was Marilee Adam’s Question Thinking.  During a two-week time period, we exercised getting into an observer mindset to interact with our world.

As an observer, you are detached from your own thoughts and feelings.  Being able to move into an observer mindset opens up the possibility of making choices rather than reacting to the world around us.Love one another John 13:34-5

Wearing my observer hat got me thinking about how I can best live out the command to love one another. 

Give the benefit of the doubt.

When I am wearing my observer hat, I don’t judge others. I can give them the benefit of the doubt.  My nature is to judge whether I have any knowledge about the person or situation.

For example, when I see someone who is not dressed appropriately I can judge them or begin to ask questions that might lead me to love.  I have been volunteering with an organization called Dress for Success for a few years now.

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.  Through working with these women, I have found that there is so much more going on in their lives than I can even imagine.  Offering them support by helping them with their resume or interview skills is really an act of love which will do more for them than judgement ever would.

Now my goal is to extend others that love without having to understand their situation.

Do not withhold forgiveness.

When I have my observer hat on I can’t jump to the conclusion that someone is hurting me on purpose versus just acting in ignorance.

I don’t think I have thin skin but I can get my feelings hurt, like you can I’m sure.  When we are observing someone’s behavior and looking to respond in love then we will extend grace. Giving grace beyond the place we would have if we weren’t being intentional.

Forgiveness is not fun to ask for so don’t make someone ask.  I have found that if I can offer love and forgiveness immediately I just need to do it.

If the offense needs discussion then opening the conversation with questions about what was going on when the offense took place is helpful.  Just learning the back story can often give me the understanding I need to overlook it.

Keep my word.

The other side of the coin of offering forgiveness is behaving in a way that doesn’t require others to need to forgive you.  In this busy world, we can often overlook our commitments to others.

Jesus said let your yes be yes.  Loving others includes respecting them enough to do what you say you will do.  Take the time to consider your words and actions before speaking.  Once your word is given the decision has been made- in love follow through.

I have found being a person, someone can count on is one of the most loving things I can do for others.


What areas of your life do you see that wearing an observer hat and being intentional in your actions can be loving to those around you?

 

Review by Rayna: Doing Busy Better

 

Doing Busy Better has great content.

Though it would not make my top 10 list, I would recommend it because it does hit on some things which I think most of us need to hear.  The Lord definitely challenged me in areas as I read about this Better Busy.

Glyniss Whitwer is a self-proclaimed Type A Christian.  Even typing those words make me realize that most people don’t think that goes together very well.  Glyniss, like me, has felt bad for Martha, when she reprimanded for doing all the things that had to be done when Jesus visited. (my words)

In this book she discusses how busy is a part of who she is and most importantly who God made her to be.  But she doesn’t use it as an excuse for living in a way that causes neglect of the most important things in life. (as Martha did that day)

 

Glyniss states “God never meant for me to live non-stop.  God made work and rest in perfect symmetry.  We were created and commanded to work AND rest.”  Figuring out what that symmetry is the challenge and what she addresses in this book.

One area she addresses as a cause of harmful busyness is a wrong identity. 

When our identity is not found in Jesus we are often just one mistake away from going into overdrive to compensate.  Therefore that roller coaster of identity took her on a wild ride for years.

When pursuing your identity in the things you accomplish sets you up to HAVE to keep doing.  Even when you accomplish something great it is only a short a while before you have to get after the next project.

In contrast when you assign the source of your value and worth to God you will be freed from the fear of failure and opinions of others.  “The only thing that matters is what our heavenly father thinks about us and that is unchanging.”

Glyniss explores other reasons people stay busy for the wrong reasons and then moves on to what the right kind of busy is.  She explores physical rest and how some of our thoughts about being busy can affect our ability to rest.

From there she explores how physical rest leads us to Spiritual rest.

Glyniss states that Spiritual rest “happens when we stop striving.”  Stopping the striving allows us to find a deep sense of confidence.  Confidence that no matter what comes our way God is on the throne and He will not forget us.

Doing Busy Better goes on to: Explore ways to rest and the enemies of it. Presents how hurry is a heart conditions.  Lay out 5 questions to ask yourself to determine your core responsibilities, that helps us know what to stop to put an end to doing too much.  Also a challenge to implement a sabbath day and some of our mindsets that get in the way of this commanded practice.

Last I will leave you with one of my favorite quote,

“The abundant life Jesus offers is not abundant with work but with love.”


I would love to hear your thoughts on this book.  Be sure to leave your comments on my blog.

 

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Review by Rayna: No Easy Jesus

No Easy Jesus:  How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life

No Easy Jesus is an honest look at the Jesus we have made Him out to be.  Many of us got to know Jesus and were excited about our relationship with Him years ago.  Things were great but then life happened and things did not go the way we expected so we began to feel a deep disappointment.

Eventually we reach a place where we began to feel that there must be more than this to the Christian life. 

Jason lays it out in what a life of a true follower of Christ looks like.  The true Jesus follower doesn’t do the easy stuff but rather the tough stuff that makes the best life possible.  Jesus held out the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

Discouragement, frustration and boredom are common among those who are serving the easy Jesus.  You do not have to be spiritually elite to experience a different life.

No Easy Jesus challenges you to take your faith to the next level.

Chapter 10 was my favorite.  Jason talks about how difficult it is to love others.  He sheds light on how our love often turns into demands.  He reminds us that love does not demand things of others.  When love has demands then resentment often follows.  Love can only exist in freedom.  Challenging words and something I’m still processing to be honest.

I recommend this somewhat quick read.  It will challenge you and help you better understand why you might be experiencing boredom or disappointment in your relationship with Jesus.

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