faith, Fortitude, Personal Development

My 2019 Book List

It’s that time of year again. The annual book list and review. You know I enjoy reading. I prefer to read to learn something versus reading for entertainment. I’m always on the lookout for a solid read from a respected author. I’m not one to plow through a book a week because some of what I read needs to be taken in small portions so I can digest it. See what I did there with the play on words?

So here is what I read in 2019 with a few notes about each one. I’m not saying you MUST read everything that I read, but if you are in the market for quality content to nourish your mind and soul, these have been impactful to me. And if you missed my book list from 2018, you can find it here.

By the way, if you have a book you think I’d like to read, please let me know.

Eyes Wide Open – Steve DeWitt

It is our nature to quickly judge literally everything as good or bad. We tend to see everything through our own lens of perspective and experience. This book suggests we open our eyes to God’s perspective and see things as he does. To see people as he does. To see nature, art, and science as he does. DeWitt has a clever writing style that challenges our perspective on this beautiful world around us.

31 Prayers for My Wife – Aaron & Jennifer Smith

This is a devotional style book that helps to focus my prayers. It’s a nice resource to keep bedside or wherever you normally conduct your business with the Lord. You can learn some things your wife struggles with that she may never say. Praying specifically for your wife will bless you both. FYI there is also a book for wives to pray specifically for their husbands by the same authors.

The Cross Centered Life – CJ Mahaney

This book is a treasure worth reading regularly. In college I learned this principle: “Major in the majors and minor in the minors.” It means to focus my energy and attention on the central, important, main things in life and faith and not fuss to much over the little things. Keeping the cross of Jesus Christ at the center of my life and faith is liberating. Doing so helps me avoid my common pitfalls of performance based, legalistic behavior. This is a book for every Christian.

21 irrefutable laws of leadership – John Maxwell

Among the bestselling leadership books ever written, this one is a must read for those who lead others, or aspire to do so. It’s practical, easy to read, and has interesting illustrations to make the principles come alive.

Total Truth – Nancy Pearcey

Oh my goodness, this book is heavy. Literally and figuratively. It is several hundred pages in hardback weighing five pounds and the content can only be absorbed in small doses because it is so rich and deep. Pearcey distills a lifetime of research through all of human history to break down the existence, reality, and reasonableness of truth. It’s quite academic and she even admits so saying there is a caution to the reader to not leave this study with mere information about truth, but to live it out in the way we believe and behave.

Convictions – Vince Miller

Here is a shorter book aimed at men who wrestle with the age old issue of knowing what you should do, but not doing it and doing what you know you shouldn’t do. How do we manage this ceaseless struggle and be the man we were made to be? Read this book to get unstuck from feeling convicted and live with conviction.

The Mysterious Island – Jules Verne

An old school classic adventure story. My teenage son read it first and thought I’d like it. He was right. This is a great story. Island castaways surviving with minimal supplies and their clever wits. The detail spun in Verne’s narrative puts you in the middle of the action on every page. You feel like you are on the island with them, feeling every emotion and sensation. Spectacular writing.

Surprised By Joy – CS Lewis

Author of many excellent works including The Chronicle’s of Narnia and Mere Christianity, Surprised By Joy is the story of Lewis’s early life. Witty, fascinating, and pretty deep sometimes. His journey to faith from atheism is pretty interesting. And his childhood is quite odd. I won’t spoil it, but it’s worth checking out if you are a fan of Lewis.

Reflections on the Psalms – Lewis

Here Lewis digs into the meaning behind the ancient poetry of the Psalms in the Bible. He writes his observations as I imagine he would write in his own personal journal; a bit raw and conversational with humor sprinkled in. Some of his analogies are hysterical. This book makes a pretty good study guide for those interested in a deep dive into the Psalms.

The Four Loves – Lewis

I have all 3 of these CS Lewis classics in one volume. It took a few months to get through all of it. This book is a through study on the four types of love humanity experiences; affection, friendship, Eros, and charity. He challenges us to work on all forms of love in our own lives and reasons how each form helps to explain God and draws us closer to him.

Kingdom Marriage – Tony Evans

If your marriage is awesome, I recommend reading this book. If your marriage could use a tune up, read this book. If your marriage is struggling, read this book. OK, if you are married, read this book. It’s that good. Tony Evans breaks down marriage in simple terms with stories and illustrations everyone can relate to. He pulls no punches, telling it like it is and just how we need to hear it. No psychology mumbo-jumbo, no fluff, no super spiritual rules or condemnation. This book will challenge your thinking about yourself and how you view marriage and its purpose in your life.

Sein Language – Jerry Seinfeld

A silly reprieve from the learning books I like to read. I received this book as a birthday gift in college. It’s a collection of Seinfeld’s early material, much of which you might recall from his TV show. It’s funny, clean, and super-fast to read. His observations on the everyday are hilarious.

He Loves Me – Wayne Jacobsen

The depth of God’s love for me (and you) knows no bounds. We will spend a lifetime to understand it and still not be able to grasp it all. God’s love is unconditional which is hard to fathom. How can someone love me perfectly and fully regardless of my past, my mistakes, failures, fears, and annoying quirks? Well God does, and his love compels us to seek him more, trust him more and love him in return. This book dives deep into the relationship God desires us to have with him, explaining plainly the beauty, wonder, and benefits of receiving God’s gift to us. This is not a hard read, but I marked up the book thoroughly to highlight insights in every chapter that I can quickly refer back to. This is encouragement for your weary soul. I offer my highest recommendation to any who just want to be loved and live loved.

Fortitude, Personal Development

ConQuer Your Mind Part 3 – “Failing Forward”

The following video expands on the chapter three idea “Fail Forward” from my e-book How To ConQuer Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals.

Failing is scary. Nobody wants to fail. We naturally prefer the safe and easiest way especially if we can avoid being scared, embarrassed, hurt, or disappointed in ourselves. Yet the greatest learning opportunities come from failure. Let’s think about failure differently and learn how to embrace it so we can achieve our goals. Take a few minutes to watch this video. Read my review of John Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward” HERE.

You can get the e-book for free from the Team Quadzilla Facebook page, or directly HERE. Stay tuned for more videos to supplement the e-book content.

Fortitude

It’s Just A Thing

I played high school football in northern Michigan where the cold weather comes pretty early in the fall. As a QB and part time receiver, it was important to keep my hands as warm as possible so I could feel the ball and handle it properly. I remember being so frustrated that my hands were freezing (like numb and stiff freezing) while it seemed like everyone else was fine. The rest of my body was warm enough, so what was wrong with me? Every snap from center hurt, like someone punching a bruise on my arm over and over. Basketball season wasn’t much better. Though the gym was warm and I was sweating, my hands would still be ice cold making it difficult and uncomfortable to handle the ball. I thought that’s just how I am, until it got worse.

It seems the older I get, the more sensitive I am to the cold. It’s so bad now that I prefer to wear gloves while working on the computer. My mouse hand gets so cold! I’ve always said I would much rather be hot than cold. Raynaud’s disease is a big reason why.

I didn’t know this was a thing until about 5 years ago when my doctor figured it out. I’m glad there’s a name for my condition, but unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m not sharing this to seek sympathy, but to raise awareness. Maybe you have the same trouble as me and don’t know why. It’s actually quite common. I’m not a freak!

Check out this short article that sheds some light on what it’s like to live with Raynaud’s and endure a cold climate for nearly 1/2 the year. If you shake my hand and wonder if I’m alive, or you see me in gloves or heavy socks at strange times, it’s not because I’m nervous or ill, I just have a hard time keeping my hands warm. Compared to other awful health conditions some normally healthy people have to deal with, I’ll take Raynaud’s. It doesn’t keep me from doing anything and it’s not a threat to my life. It’s just a thing.

Family, Fortitude, Personal Development

Why Am I So Angry?

By Wanda Walborn

Violence levels are on the rise in our nation and world, and the Church is not exempt from its impact. As those who love God, how do we address anger as a natural part of our soul care and then help others diffuse the anger in their lives too? There are many forms of anger, so don’t be too quick to assume that you are not an angry person.

Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure and antagonism aroused by a sense of injury or wrong. Healthy anger can act as a powerful force for producing change in our lives at every level. It can be a gift that signals things are not OK.

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

There are three types of anger mentioned in Scripture. The first type includes a stewing or festering that brews just below the surface and doesn’t come out. The Greek word for this type of anger is parogismos used in Ephesians 6:4, exhorting fathers to not provoke their children to anger.

The second type of anger occurs when something important to you is threatened or damaged. The Greek word is orgizo used in Ephesians 4:26—“Be angry (orgizo), but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger (parogizo) and give no opportunity to the devil.” Paul is saying to feel the anger but not to sin by refusing to deal with the festering anger below the surface, which gives the devil a place in your life.

The third type of anger is what Galatians 5:20 refers to as “outbursts of anger” or “fits of rage.” The Greek word is thymos, or rage, which passionately erupts and then cools down quickly, whereas the orgizo is indignation that gradually builds and settles in.

Five Signs of Indirect Anger 

Many people don’t think they have a problem with anger but are sarcastic, passive aggressive, numb, depressed, or apathetic. Each of these expressions is an indication of indirect anger.

1. Sarcasm

The word sarcasm means “tearing of flesh.” It is intended to cut a person but is covered with a façade of humor.

2. Passive aggression

Passive-aggressive people pretend everything is fine. Then they say things to others, often acting like a victim, to get other people to confront or speak for them, because they can’t approach the person with whom they have a problem. This type of manipulation is calculated and driven by anger.

3. Depression

Depressed people turn their anger inward rather than choosing to express it outwardly. In an attempt to keep the peace, they push down all negative feelings to avoid hurting the people around them.

4. Numbness

People who feel numb have shut down emotionally to survive. Long-term chaotic or abusive situations cause them to close off emotionally to cope. They no longer feel joy or pain. They live in a constant state of numbness, and their anger has become frozen.

5. Apathy

Apathy is a sign that passion and hope are gone. Not caring is the only way a hurting person endures the pain. Apathy is a logical conclusion to an emotional issue. Rather than caring and feeling continual hurt, fear, or powerlessness, a person chooses not to care so he or she can function in everyday life.

angry_momImperfect Parent

In 1992 I became pregnant with our fourth child. My anger toward the other three children surpassed the usual irritations or annoyances of typical childish behavior, and I found myself overreacting to almost everything they did.

If they spilled their drinks at the table, I went into a rage. If they started whining at the grocery store, I would take them into the bathroom or car and spank them. They were just tired and needed compassion, but what they got was frustration and an anger that forced them into unhealthy obedience. I felt disrespected, humiliated, and exposed as a bad mother because they wouldn’t listen to me, and I used my power to make them pay.

As I look back now, I realize I felt shame over their behavior. It makes no sense that I expected an 18-month-old, 2-year-old, and 4-year-old who were tired and hungry to handle a long day that ended at the grocery store without complaint. But I did. My parenting revolved around what other people would think and not about what my children needed.

This feeling of shame intimidated me into silence, and it wasn’t until I heard a sermon at church that it was OK not to be OK that I felt a dam burst inside of me. I finally determined to be honest about my feelings and seek the help I needed.

When I told my husband about my over-the-top behavior toward our children, he initially passed my anger off as just a reaction to a bad day. I continued to confess to him my actions toward the children when he wasn’t around to show him how bad it really was. Thankfully, he didn’t respond with more shame but encouraged me to talk with our senior pastor (the one who preached the sermon about not being OK), and I began to meet with him and his wife for the next four months to deal with the root of my anger instead of the symptoms.

The interesting part of the story is that my husband was the associate pastor of the same church. I was a pastor’s wife and treated my children that way. How shameful! I believed the lie that I should be perfect as the pastor’s wife; therefore, my children should be perfect too.

anger.is_.danger

What’s Under the Anger?

During my prayer counseling sessions, I learned of six emotional causes underlying anger. Anger is what presents itself to others, but the primary emotion is underneath the anger. Understanding these six causes helped me identify the hurt and deal with it.

1. You’re afraid.

Fear can be a strong emotion causing people to feel weak, vulnerable, and powerless, so they rise up in anger to push people away and regain a sense of control. The rush of adrenaline that accompanies anger makes a person feel strong and hides the hidden terror.

2. Your opinion is invalidated.

Everyone wants to be heard whether in a business meeting or at the dinner table. A person’s opinion is simply his or her viewpoint on a topic. To criticize someone’s viewpoint or, worse yet, ignore the person completely, can cause anger. This is often seen in autocratic homes where one parent is always right and children aren’t allowed to have different opinions.

3. Your way is blocked.

This attitude is where road rage stems from—“Get out of my way!” Whether a person’s car is cut off on the freeway, or the budget is cut dissolving the business plan, or a 2-year-old is told no, anger results. It is probably the most volatile of all the underlying causes because it erupts spontaneously.

4. You’re hurt.

When a person is hurt, the offense is either turned inward, leading to despair or depression, or turned outward, leading to anger and bitterness. When turned inward, the person seeks to contain the anger by taking it out on him/herself, and self-rejection and self-hatred results. Turning the hurt outward can lead to blame and seeking revenge toward the person who hurt you. The healthy response to hurt is to feel the sadness, loss, and pain of the wounding.

5. Your personhood is attacked.

Name calling and inappropriate comments about your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or beliefs fit this category. Oftentimes, these comments are made sarcastically or with a joking tone to get a laugh. Outwardly people might smile or play along, but inwardly the very core of the person has been touched, and it hurts.

6. Your expectations are unmet.

The angry person flies off the handle because of an unfulfilled expectation that is never spoken to the person receiving the anger. The angry person assumes the expectation is obvious, so he or she doesn’t need to communicate it directly. It should just be known. This happens in any relationship with assumptions and poor communication.

Anger leaves a wake of pain. The next time you get angry, pause for a moment and sift through these six areas to identify the underlying cause of your anger. It can help you communicate clearly and avoid many arguments and disagreements in your relationships.

How Do I Get Rid of My Anger?

We can’t rid ourselves of anger because it is an emotion; however, we can learn to appropriately deal with the real issue underlying the anger so it doesn’t fester or spew in unhealthy ways to hurt people around us. Here are five ways to self–check your anger level for your personal soul care.

1. Acknowledge the way in which anger generally surfaces in your life—aggression, passive-aggressiveness, sarcasm, numbness, apathy, depression, or rage.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the underlying issue as the source: fear, invalidation, blocked goals, woundedness, attacks on your personhood, or unmet expectations.

3. Ask for help so you don’t suffer in silence. Telling a close friend, spouse, or counselor about your anger disarms its power in your mind.

4. Grieve the loss accompanying the pain to process all the feelings surrounding the incident.

5. Choose to forgive the offender. Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation for those who have hurt you and may not ever involve a conversation with the other person. Rather, forgiveness eliminates bitterness from forming in your heart to torment you and cut off intimacy with God and those you love. Satan is a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Let us not allow our unresolved anger to be the entry point of our destruction.

It’s been 24 years since I came clean with my husband and began to deal with my anger in a healthy way. I still feel anger, but it doesn’t control me as it once did. You too can be free from anger’s grip. Go beneath it and diffuse it.