Beck Wattier

What I’m Reading: Do More Better

Mar
26
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

Mar
25
     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.”

What I’m Reading: Gladys Aylward, The Little Woman

Jul
01

Gladys Aylward
Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) left her home in London in her early twenties to pursue service in war torn China. Although fairly uneducated, having no ‘missionary’ training, and lacking any financial support, she felt God was asking her to go and teach the Bible and she simply went. This book is an autobiography of her story. From riding trains in the middle of a battle zone in China, to being held captive in Russia, to taking in Chinese orphans, to being approached by government officials to be a Foot Inspector…there is not one page in this book that will not consume your full attention. There are many spiritual elements and things to learn but at its core, her story contains all the elements for, well, a good story. This is probably why it was made into a film, The Inn of The Sixteenth Happiness in 1957.

I found myself greatly challenged by her life and her faith. She truly found what was worth investing in and she spent her life on it. We often think that doing this means taking on something large and grand. Reading this book you may be tempted to think her life was just that but as you read you see that she never set out to live a life that was book worthy, she set out to be faithful in each day and to each person she came across. We often don’t ‘go’ if we have to go alone. Gladys is a great example of someone who counted the cost and was willing to pay it. I couldn’t help but to think of the missionaries I know who are now on the field and how they need people to be behind them with encouragement, resources, and prayer.

Practically, at a hundred and fifty (small) pages, this book is an easy read for anyone; I read it in one sitting (about two hours). I would especially recommend it to anyone that is in a rut and needs a little heart stirring, to anyone who is in the middle of faithful serving and is feeling alone and weighed down, and to anyone who has heard God’s voice clearly but doesn’t see how things could possibly work out that way.