Last week I began a series of blogs revealing the four books that I read on a yearly basis.
These tried and true books have become my mentors over the years. They have reeled me in and reminded me of the end goal. And when I have my focus clear, I walk a little less afraid.
Last week, I shared the book by Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
This week, I highlight a book by Gordon MacDonald entitled Ordering Your Private World.
There are very few pages in this book I have not filled with stars or underlined sentences. Some ideas I have blogged about in the past, so they have in the margin the word BLOG. I have repeatedly reached into this book and found wisdom to move forward into a new year.
On the first page in the preface entitled 'The Day I Hit the Wall' MacDonald writes as a counter response to the profitable and efficient busyness of a purposeful person:
"But there is also a busyness (a destructive busyness, actually) that reflects a chaotic way of life⏤a way of doing in which one is simply responding whether or not it has significance; it's just the next thing, and one does it because it's there to do." pg.1
A few pages later He, (a pastor of a sizable church) describes himself as "A young man with a fairly empty soul, rich in natural gifts but impoverished when it came to an inner space, from which there might flow a wellspring of wisdom, spiritual power, and Christian depth." pg 6.
WOW! What a vulnerable, honest description.
The rest of the book containing fourteen chapters are filled with how God sent him down a road of healing from chaos. MacDonald takes us on this journey of his drop into a sinkhole and shares how he believes the burn out could have been prevented.
Every chapter begins with a wise word on a note card. The notes are copy worthy.
Do you know what I mean when I say 'copy worthy?'
Copy Worthy are the words I jot down on a sticky note and put on my wall in my office, or the mirror in my office. Years ago, when I didn't have an office, I stuck them on my bathroom mirror and would read them as I was dressing for work.
The first Memo from the first chapter, 'The Sinkhole Syndrome', is to the Disorganized.
"If my private world is in order it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity." pg. 10
Good stuff, right?
There are wise words like this:
"I manage time and command it best when I budget it far in advance."pg 98
"I think Jesus included a third element in His strategy of time budgeting, for He set time aside for the training of the Twelve. With a world of millions to reach, Jesus budgeted the majority of His time to be with just a few simple men." pg 84
And that is probably why I found this book so valid. It is rich with input on how to keep taking each step of my life toward the purpose I have been called to by God.
It is a study on how Jesus handled life as both a person and a leader. And every year I glean more wisdom from it.
I highly recommend checking this book out and taking some time reading it before the end of the year. It is a book that will help guide you down the road of purposeful living.
Having a purpose for our lives gives us a plumline. As we go through and check that plumline we are more quickly stabilized and led into peace. That peace that comes when we have a clear destination.
MacDonald challenges the driven leader and draws a line between the driven and the called. His clear guidance to determine where his reader lands is a great comeuppance. A pie graph/diagram is drawn from the beginning of the book walking each person through five slices of living. Use of time and Spiritual Strength are just two of the powerful pieces of the pie.
The book closes with a Study Guide. I didn't go through the Study Guide until my third reading, but when I finally did, I found it brought even more depth from the wisdom shared by MacDonald.
I encourage you to check this book out. If you have read it in the past, consider tapping into it again. You can buy it on line, it is even available on Kindle. I pray that this gives you an opportunity to build into your life a daily commitment to be reading the word of God.
And if you ever want to join us here for that regular commitment with our Reading, Reflection, and Bible Community, you can find us at
Because in reality, there is nothing so powerful in learning how to fear well, than by reading the Word of God. Within those book covers lies the peace that comes from resting in Him.
I post here on Mondays.
Or daily as I review my life as a missionary in Germany:
on the Mutating Missionary blog. Click Here
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Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?