Beck Wattier

What I’m Reading: Do More Better

Going into this year, as I was thinking through my goals and the things I would like to do differently, I was hit with my need to be better organized. I tried to take some time and review my systems, or the places where I needed to establish systems of some kind, not just to do MORE or to be MORE efficient, but to do BETTER. Like many of you (I’m assuming) I find myself often not only with a to-do list that is overcrowded, but with many to-do lists that are overcrowded and spread out all over the place. I find that because all the information about all the obligations and responsibilities and all of the things is floating around in there somewhere, I spend more energy worrying that I’m forgetting something than I spend on taking care of the things I need to do. Not to mention I am a creative person, and I can’t tell you how many ideas or have thought out projects go in and out of my head before I can devote any real time to them.
All of this contributes to my putting Do More Better on my reading list for this year. I love how the book starts out with laying a groundwork theology of work. Why do we work? Why does our work matter? Why should we strive to steward our time better? It was a refreshing and helpful reminder that organization and having helpful systems put in place really does come back to a stewardship issue. We are commissioned to do good work, and anything that enables us to carry that out in a healthy and fruitful way is an opportunity for us to give glory and honor to our God.
Moving on from there, there were a couple of chapters I found particularly clarifying that addressed putting your personal mission to words and defining your personal responsibilities. Having these down on paper is so helpful in knowing how to prioritize your time and energy, what to say no to, and what new things to pursue.
Throughout the rest of the book, Challies walks us through his personal systems. He narrows it down to three tools: a task management tool, a scheduling tool, and an information tool. He shares personal recommendations for each of these (all accessible online) and walks you through how to set them up and get the most out of them. Everything is free and very simple to set up and get going.  I had previously used some of these things but he shared in-depth about how to use them better, and how to set all three up so that they work together for you.
I found this book helpful in many ways but I probably wont be using the system he outlines fully. Some of it just is not practical for me, or I have found other ways to stay on top of those certain things. There are parts that I skimmed because it got really detailed and I wanted to get the general idea before I committed to following all the steps. The things that I didn’t find useful I believe are most due to the fact that I’m not in the place where I need to have such a structured system. However, as I am hoping to press into some new projects and new work opportunities in the near future, I can see how I may return and pick up the things laid out here. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and tasks even if you don’t end up picking up and following the systems and tools for yourself because the chapters at the beginning and end are a good overview and encouragement towards doing more better.

What I’m Reading: Spurgeon’s Sorrows

     Spurgeon’s Sorrows is a helpful look at depression through the eyes of one of the most well-known preachers in recent times. By allowing us to peak into Spurgeon’s own battle with depression we find camaraderie and hope. Spurgeon knew well the darkness that can sometimes seem to hover relentlessly above, both due to physical ailments and spiritual battles, and yet he figured out how to manage and maneuver through it. Most importantly he didn’t let it pull him away from his Savior and he didn’t let it keep him from ministering to those before him.
“Personally I know that there is nothing on earth that the human frame can suffer to be compared with despondency and prostration of the mind.”
This book is divided into three main sections. The first is on understanding depression. People who suffer from depression, and those who care about someone who suffers from depression will both benefit from these chapters. Eswine does a great job at covering a few different causes of depression while tying in practical and biblical counsel. The second part concerns learning how to help those suffering with depression. These chapters offer some words of advice to those who don’t suffer from depression and therefore may not fully understand. Eswine debunks some commonly held myths and misconceptions and brings up some great approaches to how to be of benefit to the sufferer that you care for. The last part expounds on some helpful ways to cope with depression as a sufferer in the day-to-day.  I really appreciated how he shared some very practical things, while grounding and continually re-grounding things with examples from Scripture.

I picked this book up because I had heard it recommended by a few people I follow online. It particularly intrigued me because it wasn’t just a book on depression, but a book examining a great hero of the faith who was very public in sharing his struggle with depression. (On a side note, something about the cover is very welcoming and peaceful.) At a brief 143 pages, I made my way through it in two sittings. Even if you are a slow reader, you could finish it up pretty fast. I would (and will) recommend it to anyone walking through a season of depression, but beyond that I would (and will) recommend it to those that express a lack of understanding towards those struggling with depression. (Click link under picture to purchase.)

 “We very speedily care for  bodily diseases; they are too painful to let us slumber in silence: and they soon urge us to seek a physician or a surgeon for our healing. Oh, if we were as much alive to the more serious wounds of our inner man.”



This isn’t an announcement that I am ‘picking up writing again’ with all the plans and promises that those kinda posts entail. I quite literally haven’t been able to type more than three words in this space without stopping and erasing them for the last year or so. Partly due to life being busier and schedules being crazier but really truely due to the place(s) and season(s) I’ve been walking thru and the things going on inside of me.

This isn’t a post about the things that have been going on inside of me (or around me, or to me) because honestly I don’t have words and really dont know if words exist to adequately convey it. One thing I’ve learned is that sometimes there are things you experience or learn or go through that only you see and know. There may be a physical circumstance, and maybe tangible people involved, but the deep things stretching or moving around inside of you are changes only you can feel or know. Maybe those aren’t for sharing.

The times I’ve tried to sit down and write something that I could post on the internet (what is the criteria for that anymore?) there has been a physical tension rise up in my chest and I’ve stepped away. It’s like there has been so much inside and no where to put it that I’ve grown incredibly much in my ability to push through and keep it inside. Like there is a flood water locked up behind a sealed door and as my fingers graze the keyboard its the same as the doorknob turning and the rubber seal beginning to creak before it opens. If that door is opened there is no turning back and no regulating what comes out and at what speed and what damage may happen in its wake.

I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know why there is an internal healing difference in writing words on this screen and sharing them with perfect strangers, and writing words in my personal journal. You could say it’s for transparency. That other people go through other hard things and that by sharing my things I am helping them. You could say its a gift, a calling, that to not write is to deny a part of myself that makes me me. You could say it’s a reaching out. That in some way by knowing that someone somewhere is reading this it tells me that I am not completely alone, that I am connecting in someway. You could say all these things, I could too. None of them sit well with me tonight. I don’t know. What I do know is I don’t have energy to overthink these things anymore. I am way past weary of having to understand the purpose of things before engaging in the acts.

I have come to know my Father over the last six months in ways I never knew I could. He has led me through some places where all the nicely packaged spiritual disciplines and christian speak phrases have been completely lacking. We use prayer as a tool to keep ourselves in line or to call in requests, or even to commune with Someone when we feel the need…all things WE control, all pieces of OUR strategy. I have come to experience and grow in the kind of prayer that sometimes has to happen without words, when you don’t know what to ask for. When you have to choose to rest in the truths that you know and believe and cling to, even when there isn’t energy to boldly proclaim them. There have been nights so deeply dark and lonely and confusing that the only words I could figure to voice were ‘Please hold me.’ And He has, and He is, so closely that I could almost feel His heart beating and His breath on the back of my neck.