I’ve heard it said, “This year, your life will change for two reasons: the people you meet and the books you read.” For the most part, this quote has proven true for me. But it leaves out one huge thing: God. Without the Holy Spirit leading me to thought-provoking books and inspiring people, I would not have changed.
When I read books with a selfish, git’r-dun type mindset, I give myself a list of impossible goals to achieve. Then, when I ultimately don’t achieve them, I feel worthless. Or if I do achieve them, my pride inflates into a monstrous balloon. I get filled with the hot air of self-righteousness and self-importance. And just like a balloon, the more I’m filled with pride, the thinner my skin gets- the more I’m likely to explode if someone challenges my accomplishments or character. So without God, self-help is a lose-lose.
But if I pour every book I read through a filter of God’s love for me, the book’s ideas don’t morph as easily into God-sized idols. Instead of condemning me or giving me “the big head,” each book gently helps suggest how I can love people and God in practical ways.
In other words, I’m too weak to pick myself up by the bootstraps. Self-help books would never truly help me without God using them. I suggest these books to you with an extreme amount of caution because I’ve found no book, no idea, and no person who can truly change the motivations of our hearts. Only God can. If He’s your foundation, these 3 books can help you live a more loving, worry-free life.
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
My Takeaway: My wife and I paid off $37,000 in 18 months. We’re debt free except for our mortgage.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
My Takeaway: My wife introduced me to this one. The chapter on criticism instantly started to change how I treat her. The book cautions against using the techniques for manipulation. Instead, it provides practical tools to love others in everyday conversation.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
My Takeaway: Efficiency isn’t everything. Taking it slow with my wife and other family members is healthy, and it saves time for us in the long run. If I rush through my time with her or anyone else in my family, it takes more effort to repair the relationship later. Slow with people. Quick with tasks.
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