Seven Books that Have Helped to Make Me Me

Recently I was asked what books I’ve used in my time with God to teach me and grow me—other than the Bible, of course. What a great question! Why haven’t I shared these titles with you before?!

As I read each of the seven books I have felt as if its author was sitting next to me and teaching me from his/her own personal journey. They have made me think and sent me deeper into God’s Word. I have shared their truths innumerable times. They truly have played a major role in my spiritual growth.


Let’s take a look at a few books on my bookshelf:


1. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I wish I would have written the date in this book when I started using it (as I wish I had done with all my books), since I know it has been many years. Throughout the book are many phrases I have easily remembered and have directed my thoughts throughout the day back to the Lord and how He would have me to live. One of my recent favorite phrases is from January 7 where Mr. Chambers states the result of being with Jesus is a “strong calm sanity.” Yes, please, Jesus, I need this!


2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer—I am currently reading this book with a group of close friends. It has excellent teaching on God and as importantly—what it means to my life—how it affects my life. I have been greatly encouraged and comforted by this book.


3. A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller—If I could recommend only one book for a follower of Christ to read (other than the Bible) it would be this book. Prayer is our relationship with God. Relationship with God is the reason we are here—to know Him, love Him, and honor Him in our lives. Mr. Miller honestly and vulnerably shares his and his family’s journeys in knowing God through prayer. Paul and Jill Miller are parents of six children including one daughter with a challenging mental disability that was not properly diagnosed until she was twenty.


4. Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot—Each of the short pieces in this book came from Mrs. Elliot’s monthly newsletter. In true Elisabeth-Elliot-fashion Mrs. Elliot speaks her mind and heart honestly. She teaches from God’s Word and common sense. As a result this book is inspirational and highly life-applicable.


5. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero—The subtitle best describes the book, “It’s impossible to be spiritually mature, while remaining emotionally immature.” “Even though he [Peter Scazzero] was pastor of a growing church, he did what most people do: avoid conflict in the name of Christianity; ignore his anger, sadness, and fear; use God to run from God; die to the wrong things; live without boundaries.” This book gives us permission to live the life God planned for us and then shows us how.


6. Nine Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life by Dr. Henry Cloud. Again the subtitle tells the story—“A psychologist probes the mystery of why some lives really work and others don’t.” I don’t know about you, but I want my life to work. This book offers brilliant insights that anyone can put into practice in his/her life.


7. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. “Christians often focus so much on being loving and giving that they forget their own limitations.” I find Christian women especially feel they would be un-Christlike to say no to someone for almost anything they ask of them—time, help, energy, money, any part of us that makes us us. What we don’t realize is that when we say yes to someone we are saying no to someone else and many times that someone is someone we love. To be effective women for God we must know “what is me and what is not me” (page 29). Jesus was the perfect example of knowing and living what was His and what was not His. Boundaries was one of the most influential books in my life.


I hope you will read one or all of these books. I would love to hear your thought as you study them.


What about you? What book (other than the Bible) has had a major influence in your life?

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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