Leaders are readers.
It’s cliche. But it’s true.
If you want to grow this coming year then pick up a book, or two, or forty-five. (I heard about a guy who reads fifty-two books a year!) You will be the same person this time next year, except for the people you meet and the books you read. You can’t control the people you meet, but you can decide to turn off Netflix, shut down your phone, and pick up a book.
Queue up the excuses.
- “I don’t have time to read.”
- “I can never finish a book.”
- “I read too slow.”
- “The dog ate my book.” (Do people still use this?)
- “I don’t know of a good book to read.” (You came to the right place!)
We can all make excuses, but let’s decide now to put away the excuses.
Have you noticed that we tend to make excuses for the things in life that are truly worthwhile? Here’s an axiom to remember: The things that are worthwhile are never easy, and the things that are valuable are never free.The things that are worthwhile are never easy, and the things that are valuable are never free. Click To Tweet
A strong marriage doesn’t come easy. Being present with your children requires an investment of time. If you want to live healthy, you have to put in the work. If you want to meaningful friendships, you have to be intentional. If you want to be challenged in areas of your life, pick up a book.
Let me encourage you this year to make reading a keystone habit. (Watch this to learn what a keystone habit is.) Whether you are reading old school physical books (which I do) or you listen to audiobooks on the go (which I do, too), carve out time in your day to be mentored by others.
Lastly, reading a book should not replace reading the Bible. Start with Scripture. If you aren’t currently setting aside day time to read the Word, then start there! We believe that real life change happens when we live by God’s Word. You can’t live by God’s Word if you don’t read God’s Word.
Here are a five books on my personal reading list this year.
1. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
This book was gifted to me this year for Christmas. (Ever wonder if someone is trying to tell you something?) Written by John Mark Comer (No, we aren’t related.) this book sheds light on the widespread disease of hurry.
Ask anyone how they’re doing, and 99% of the time you’ll hear, “Busy.” Everyone seems to be rushing through life on the hamster wheel. Is it worth it? Are we actually engaged in the things that matter?
John Mark is a gifted author. I’ve read his other book, God Has A Name, which I’d also highly recommend.
Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul in these Turbulent Times by John Eldredge
In full transparency, I read this book already. But I wanted to include it here on this list because I think this book (and the book above) addresses three problems we’re facing in the modern era that are fracturing our societal foundations. We’re addicted to technology. We’re extremely busy. We’re carrying the weight of the world.
John Eldredge does a great job helping the reader learn how to live meaningful lives; turn the weight of the world over to Jesus; and how to discover the deep wells of refreshing time with God.
3. Gentle and Lowly
Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane C. Ortlund
I’m excited to jump into this book. Written by a pastor, this book is for anyone wanting to grow in their walk with Jesus. You may know what Jesus has done for you, but do you know his heart toward you?
This book draws us to Matthew 11, where Jesus describes himself as “gentle and lowly in heart,” longing for his people to find rest in him. The gospel flows from God’s deepest heart for his people, a heart of tender love for the sinful and suffering.
4. The Power of a Praying Husband
The Power of a Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian
We’re called to be people of prayer. I often pray for selfish needs/concerns, direction for my family, vision for our church, the sick, hurting, and lost. This year I want to grow in my prayers over my wife.
This book is written by a wife! Who better to know what to pray for a wife than a wife! As a man, I may not always be in tune for how to best pray for my spouse. This book takes the husband on a month long journey of learning to pray over specific areas.
5. Creation to Babel
Creation to Babel by Ken Ham
This is a book the Comers are reading together as a family. Before bed, we’ll gather in the living room and read a few pages. And, Yes! The kids love it.
You may not think your kids would enjoy a commentary on the book of Genesis, but they do. They hang on every word. This commentary walks through the first eleven chapters of Genesis, and details the creation account to the Tower of Babel. It brings up some great questions and conversation starters as a family. I’d highly encourage your family to read this book together at the end of the day, or around the dinner table.
That’s my short list, and I’d love to know what’s on your reading list this coming year. Share in the comments below!