Friday, February 28, 2014

BOOKS! (The Purpose Driven Life)

I found this one in the used section of a bookstore and figured why not? This book's been popular for 12 years, I keep hearing about it, so let's see what all the fuss is about. At first I tried to plow through it like I do other books, but when I realized that it was a 40-day devotional I almost opted out. I didn't want to be slowed down. But then I decided to just go with it and see if there was anything in it that could clear things up for me and help me start 2014 off in a good way. I'd never read a daily devotional before, and it ended up being good to slow down and get a daily dose of insight and encouragement.

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

First off, this book won't tell you what your specific individual purpose is. It's not a crystal ball. Rather, it aims to give you the tools to figure it out by having you reflect on your actions, interrogate your motivations, and learn about the general purposes that God has for all of us. Each chapter starts with a Bible verse or an inspirational quote, and ends with a Bible verse and a question for you to reflect on for that day.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned from this book is that I need to stop trying to rely on myself so much. I will never have all the answers, I will never be able do everything (much less do everything right), and I will never make it in this life if I don't practice relying more on God and on the good people he's placed around me. Interacting with others is part of our mission, and it is also key to finding fulfillment in life. Relationships matter!

I've also been reminded that this life is not about me, how I feel, or what my problems are at the moment. Even though it might not make sense, as long as I'm faithful everything that happens works for my good and the glory of God. So what you focus on matters, too!

Warren's message becomes repetitive at certain points, he makes some statements that seem sweeping or vague, and some of the paraphrasing and translations that he uses for Bible verses is unfamiliar to me. But overall this book provides good food for thought, and enables readers to take a few minutes a day to read and reflect on God and purpose in a quiet space.

Favorite quotes:
"There is no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don't share it, it will be lost forever. You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are the authority on your life, and it's hard to argue with personal experience." (290)
"Blessed are the balanced; they shall outlast everyone." (305)

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