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Why I read this book: Rhythms and the idea of arranging my life for spiritual transformation resonated with everything God is teaching me right now. It’s not that those ideas or practices are new to me. Experience has taught me that every season plunges me into a place of new learning curves and even greater invitations to live intentionally. I had seen quotes from this book floating around on Instagram and just knew I had to read it.
This book in a quote from Ruth Haley Barton: “Your desire for more of God than you have right now, your longing for love, your need for deeper levels of spiritual transformation than you have experienced so far is the truest thing about you. You might think that your woundedness or your sinfulness is the truest thing about you or that your giftedness or your personality type or your job title or your identity as husband or wife, mother or father, somehow defines you. But, in reality, it is your desire for God and your capacity to reach for more of God than you have right now that is the deepest essence of who you are.”
What the book is about: This book explores the power of spiritual disciplines to open us to God’s transforming love. This is not a book about rules and legalism. This, my friend, is an invitation into more. It’s not that the book expounds every way of seeking and knowing God. Of course not. But the feast that it does lay is a rich one and one that has the great possibility of changing the internal landscape of our hearts and minds even as we tie shoes, cook meals and love our family well.
My favorite parts of the book were…This is truly hard to say. The whole book flows together in a very cohesive way, building on each idea layer by layer. I will say that I truly appreciated the section at the end of each chapter called Practice. As an avid reader of great ideas, sometimes I need to be reminded to slow down and apply what I’ve learned.
The hardest thing about this book is… This book is written in a spirit of grace, but the driven and performance mindset so prevalent in our culture (and within us) can cause us to filter life-giving messages into more unfinished business on our to-do list. So free yourself from that thought right now. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the filters and lies that would have this be anything but a liberating adventure into the heart of God. As a close second, I would encourage anyone reading this book to not skip anything. I know statistics say that only a small fraction of people read books all the way to the end. As a busy homeschool mom of 3 kids, the perspective and admonition shared in the last chapters was imperative to fully receiving the goodness of this book in a way that I could apply in my current season.
You may want to read this book if…you’re thinking there must be more. If you’re dry and worn out, longing to connect with God more deeply, or ready to explore life-giving rhythms in your everyday life, you will love this book.
You may not want to read this book, at least for now, if…you’re already reading a book that’s incredibly rich. I’m usually reading 3-5 books at any given time, but it was important for me to give this book “room to breathe”. It’s certainly not a hard book to read, but one that provokes contemplation. Plus, I wanted time to experience each discipline through the Practice portion at the end of each chapter. This book is best savored slowly.
Where you can find the book: You can find this book on Amazon or at your local library. My gut told me I should buy this book from the beginning, but trying to be frugal, I got it from my library. Let me tell you, I filled that book up with my favorite book darts trying to mark quotes and passages. I finally gave up and received my copy through Amazon. I am huge library fan, but I’d recommend buying this one. It’s going on my shelf for a revisit every year.
More about the author: Ruth Haley Barton is the author of spiritual formation books and resources including Life Together in Christ, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Longing for More and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher and the founding president of the Transforming Center. I am a huge fan of her podcast. You can also find Ruth on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
One prayer practice that has been so life-giving to me in the throes of motherhood is praying the Word. There is something so powerful about engaging with the Word of God in prayer. I’ve created a free resource for you to do just that. I believe it will bless your socks off. Click here to see what’s included.