Living Your Best Life: Favorite Books for Personal Growth

We have already established that I love books. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean mostly, I love to read mindless fiction so that I can escape reality.  I call it candy. I love real candy and book candy.

These books are not candy.

These books are fresh fruit. With incredible benefits for your soul. They are designed to heal. To uproot lies and replace them with Truth.

My friend Sandy loved Proverbs 25:11. I can still hear her voice sparkling with delight as she read it from her Amplified Bible.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken at the right time.

Here are five books that were a well-spoken word in the right season.

They came into my life when I needed them most.

The Divine Romance | Gene Edwards | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 1. The Divine Romance

This book changed the way I saw God. And my understanding of how God sees me. It is an allegory of creation. All the way to the Cross. And beyond. If you have ever struggled with the whole “Bride of Christ” concept. Read this. Yesterday.

Here what the back of the book says, “A breathtakingly beautiful saga spanning from eternity to eternity, presented from the view of angels. Experience creation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection from this unique viewpoint, and gain a better understanding of the majestic love of God. Gene Edwards’s classic tale is the greatest love story ever told.”

 

Shattered Dreams | Larry Crabb | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

2. Shattered Dreams

Larry Crabb say that in everyone’s life, some dream will shatter. Something you thought you could count on won’t come through.  No one leaves this world unscathed. And whether you believe God allowed it or ordained it, He could have prevented it. And you have to make peace with that God*.  That is what the last eight years of my life have been about. Making peace with a God whose plans are different than mine.

Cure For the Common Life | Max Lucado | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

 

3. Cure For the Common Life

I read this book when I hated everything about my life. Especially my job. It gave me hope. And the courage to make a change. What really helped were the exercises at the back of the book that help you rediscover what you really love. And what you were made to do. It’s what led me to teaching. And back to Young Life.

Daring Greatly | Brene Brown | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

4. Daring Greatly

Brene Brown. Is. Rocking. My. World. It is why I talk about her here. And here. She is a researcher who decided to study shame. And made a startling observation. People who live wholeheartedly embrace vulnerability. The rest of us do three things to avoid it.

Numb it out.

Perfect it out.

Or in my case, forbode it out.

I rehearse tragedy so I don’t feel pain. Meaning, I have spent most of my life running worse case scenario’s so when things don’t pan out, I’m not devastated.

But her discovery, you can’t feel true joy without feeling vulnerable.

She explains it so much better. Trust me. So worth the read.

And if perfectionism is your game, check out her book I Thought It Was Just Me.

Jesus Calling | Sarah Young| The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

5. Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling is my jam. I read it every day along with My Utmost For His Highest. It’s a daily reading written as if God is speaking to you. Not everyone is a fan. Fair enough. But I am. God uses it all the time to speak to me, encourage me and reaffirm His incredible love for me. If you decide to give it a whirl, I love the large print edition because it was the scriptures written out on the bottom. And there’s room to journal. Unofficially.

 

Your Turn:

What is a book that changed your life?

 Or brought a well-spoken word in season?

I’m always looking for something new to read.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

P.S. This is not an #ad or paid endorsement. I just can’t help blabbering about the things I love!!!

P.P.S. This book is wrecking me right now. I’ve just started and already cried twice.

Looking for Lovely | Annie Downs | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Not Eat Your Feelings | Hope for addiction | Learning to journal your feelings

How to not eat your feelings.

 

It’s Friday afternoon, I’m sitting at my desk and my insides are churning. Boiling. Overflowing. A student openly defied a rule and flagrantly walked away when he was held accountable. The phrase “hotter than a two dollar pistol” would be an apt description of my emotional state.

I can seriously feel myself unraveling!!! The ping pong ball is gathering steam. And if I don’t deal with it now, my poor 7th period is going to bear the consequences.

The moment I said I was going to write a post about how to not eat your feelings, I have had opportunity after opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. My journal is filled with “I feel___ because____” statements and prayers to the Lord about what to do with those feelings.

The truth is, it is not easy to settle your heart when your emotions are running wild.

I’m all like journaling out your feelings is easy. It makes everything better.

And it is.

And it does.

But when you are amped beyond measure. Charged. About to blow a gasket. That is when it is the hardest. And most necessary. Otherwise, those feeling come out sideways. And there will be shrapnel.

So when I get all straightened out, I’ll come back and finish this post…

Much better now.

My journey towards healing started with Celebrate Recovery. I didn’t have any deep dark struggle that I needed to work out. I just needed a safe place to land in order to heal. I was numb. And completely out of touch with my heart and my emotions. My biggest takeaway from my time in the anonymous world was the importance of processing out your feelings. We are only as sick as our secrets and I have found that clarity comes when I take the time to process out my emotions (and secrets) before the Lord.

In my inner world, thoughts and feelings can be very dangerous when left unchecked.

  • Usually someone will say something or an event will occur that triggers a negative reaction in my mind. (My student)
  • I picture a ping pong ball of emotion being released.
  • The longer that negative emotion is allowed to build, the faster the ping pong ball zips and dings around in my mind until finally it is whirling dervish that will escape.
  • Usually coming out sideways and often in a less than ideal manner.
  • And I end up kicking the cat. (Period 7)Kick the Cat | How to Not Eat Your Feelings | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

What has helped me tremendously in my journey towards healing and keeps things from coming out sideways is journaling out my feelings. I have found a process that works wonders for me and I’m sharing it with the hope it might help you.

How to Journal Your Feelings

Step One

Identify all the emotions you are feeling in this moment. Every single one. Good and Bad. I use this amazing Feelings Chart that takes feelings like happy, sad, tired etc and expounds upon all the nuances that go with each emotion.

 

This is especially helpful if you are at a point in life where you are so numb that tapping into your actual feelings seems impossible. Don’t worry. I was once there too. I lived three years of my life so numb that I would spend my time counting in order to avoid feeling anything because my reality was so painful that my mind kept itself busy to avoid any semblance of emotion. It takes work but there is such freedom in knowing what you feel.

 

Step Two

Connect a situation to each of those feelings.

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

 

What took me by surprise as I was learning this process is that you can be feeling pleasant and unpleasant feelings at the same time. I think that is why so many of us feel guilty. We have a negative reaction to something and think, “This shouldn’t be bothering me so much. Things are really good.” And they are good. In some areas. But you might have some really yucky things going on in another area. And you need to be honest about both the good and the bad in order to heal. To be whole.

The key is to identify what feeling goes with what situation.

 

Step Three

Take each of the situations and see if there is any lie that you might be believing. If so, write out the truth. Or, work through the worst case scenario.

_______________ is not true. It may feel true but the reality is…..

 

If ___________ happens, then…. (run out the worst case scenario to the very end)

 

Step Four

Take each of those feelings, situations and lies and journal it out to the Lord. If you know the truth, ask Him to help you believe it. If you don’t know the truth ask the Lord to reveal it you. Be super honest and humble when you cry out. Ask him for help and be prepared to be amazed. Often I will look back in three months and be blown away by the transformation that has taken place in that area.

He is such a great Father.

And he loves us so much. He gives his children such sweet gifts. It’s not always what you hope for but it always what you need most.

I pray that you find this helpful. I know this is very different from my usual posts but this method really has been the key to my healing. And hopefully yours.

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

Here is a copy of the Feelings Chart for you to print and use as a guide.