When I feel stuck, I need new information and new ideas to flood into my mind. Reading is my go-to way of allowing that to happen. This week's blog post is a compilation of books that have helped get me unstuck in my faith.
Faith by Sharon Salzberg
Salzberg looks at faith from the Buddhist perspective. I am not a Buddhist and didn't know much about that religion going into the book. However, taking such a deep dive on what faith means was really refreshing for me. Learning about a new religion challenged my assumptions about Buddhist religion and my own hybrid Christian religion I've got going on currently. I also like it because it's her personal memoir. She has not had an easy life and has experienced a lot of loss and yet she still has faith.
Here's a quote from the book I loved: Faith enables us to be fully engaged while also realizing that we are not in control, and that no strategy can ever put us in control, of the unfolding of events. Faith gives us a willingness to engage life, which means the unknown, and not to shrink back from it."
Also, I might be biased about this book because my copy was actually my grandpa's copy and I don't know if I loved it because of how it challenged my faith or because his pencil check marks are still on the pages. Probably both.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Written by an Atheist turned Christian, Strobel actually started writing this book to disprove Christianity and Jesus Christ. Through his research, he was converted into a believer. What I loved about this book is that it takes a very logical and research based view. I know I personally wonder about how we can know for sure that this is what we should believe in. Learning about the story of Jesus Christ through research allowed me to explore my own faith and beliefs independently and not under pressure by another person's emotional beliefs.
Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
This book taught me how to pray. Well, not totally because I still feel like an awkward turtle when I pray sometimes BUT it challenged what I thought I knew about prayer. I used to be a Lord's Prayer and a "Please pray for…" kind of gal. Now, I'm learning to do as Rodney Atkins says to do "talk to God like you were talking to a friend". I'm also challenging myself to pray for what I really need and less about what I want. If you haven't read this book, you have to. If nothing else, read it because her writing is like sitting in a spa all day. She is so relaxing and her words have a way of soothing your mind.
The Shack by William P Young
I never really understood the Trinity - God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I even asked a pastor about it once and he got out his wallet and tried to use that as an artifact to explain it to me? So confusing (still confused to this day). The Shack presents the Trinity in a way I had never imagined it before. Also, it touches on the idea of "if God is good, why is there evil?" in a really deep way. That was another hurdle in my faith I couldn't get over until reading that book.
Sandcastle Kings by Rich Wilkerson, Jr.
The title of this book was enough to draw me in: "Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World". Wow, if that doesn't reflect the general sentiment in our world these days, I don't know what does. This book explores one chapter in the Bible, Luke 7. I enjoyed this book because I don't think I've explored a chapter of the Bible since Sunday School or Confirmation. The overall concept was one I could really dig because I talk about it with my clients a lot. Build your house (life) on a rock (rooted in your core values and what you really want in life), and not sand (aka what we "should do"), so that when the storm comes our house doesn't get swept away (by people telling us what we should do, etc).
Any Daily Devotional
I have a couple that I really like. One is Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. She's a local author and although it's not a pure devotional, it sure is spiritual. I've read it twice now and her writing just makes you feel like you're one with nature. I also love the Eagle Brook Church daily devotional on their app. Another good one is She Reads Truth. If you're starting from square one in your faith, I'd recommend starting with a devotional. A little bit every day to get the ball rolling again is usually helpful for me!
What are some of your favorites?