Funnily enough, I can't remember what inspired this post. But I've been reading a lot of good stuff lately, so I wanted to share a list of the stuff that lights a fire in my heart. 1. A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman
If you want to talk about a book that changed my life, this is the one I'll talk about. It's nothing short of beautiful. Her premise: we were created to bear the image of God, to reflect Him. He has created us with unique desires and loves and strengths and weaknesses. What makes us "come more fully alive" is from Him. And when we do what makes us come more fully alive -- whatever that is -- in the presence of God, then we make art and bring Him glory.
Let me tell you, this book is altering the entire way I see my life. It has awoken me to the fact that everything I do is art, not just my singing -- because in everything, I am a child of God, His image-bearer. And He has created good things for me to do. Emily's words are gorgeous, and they weigh heavy on my heart: heavy with realization, with conviction, with delight. This book is so good that I carry it with me wherever I go and reread it -- because sometimes we all need to be reminded of our calling.
2. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
These are the books that never get old. I reread them every year. The Tolkien love is what made me first realize that I loved and craved adventure. These books are my soul books. They are my Favorite Books of All Time. Not only are they classics and an incredible story, but they speak to a deep, fiery desire of my heart that I didn't know I had. I can never say enough about them.
3. Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis
This book made me cry. I love Lewis almost as much as I love Tolkien, and when I read this book, it was like Mr. Lewis (who I would totally be BFFs with in real life) had shone a mirror on my heart. This was another book that woke me up to the adventure in my heart. I read it for the first time last Christmas, and at that point I had known for a while that I needed adventure. But I never thought that the craving for something big and true and full of light -- the craving for joy that Lewis also had -- pointed to God. And that is where my adventure-joy-craving turns me every day: to the Lord Who made light and mountains and created me to find adventure and joy in Him.
4. Let's All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have, by Annie F. Downs
I'm reading this one currently. It punches you in the gut, in the best of ways. The title was enough to make me buy it, and it lives up to its title. Annie talks to me like she knows me and my fear of failure, and she reminds me that it doesn't matter because of who I am in Christ. She talks about being brave in big things and small things, and as I discover the courage God has placed within me, I am so grateful for this encouragement/kick in the pants to do things that are hard -- because I am called to be brave. And He always provides the push I need.
5. The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis
I ugly cried at this one. It's difficult to explain, but I'll try. Lewis examines the nature of love: affection, friendship (my favorite chapter), romantic love, and charity. His reflections on our humanity are, as always, gut-wrenchingly accurate, but the best part is at the end, when he points to the Gift-love of God as the only hope. Because it really is.
If you know any other good books, I'm always in the market! What do you recommend?