Reading Challenge Update
Week 1, for me, ended yesterday (I am so far behind!) and the 2018 Christian Reading Challenge for Women is so kicking my butt! Yeah!!! The push to get my reading caught up and the concentration on information intended to grow me has really pulled me out of my comfort rut (it’s definitely more than a zone at this point.) Since summer 2016, I have been renovating everything in my life in response to the ever-expanding demands of Autism. I loved reading Jami’s first book! Refresh, by Shona and David Murray drew me in from the start and really spoke to my current season. The title alone grabbed my attention. I could really do with some refreshment. The work goes on to strike a great balance between thought provoking descriptions of wisdom gained through personal experience, guided self-examination to discern areas of need, and practical steps to address concerns.
The book is written as an analogy of gym members working through fitness stations. At your first station you identify areas of concerns based on a comprehensive outline of the warning signs. Then at the second station you replay different aspects of your life to determine how you got into your current situation. It’s a humbling exercise that breaks Shona’s vision down into seven focus areas where targeted change can have the greatest impact. Pick and choose from the advice offered or adopt it as a blueprint to run by the numbers, either way you reap the benefit presented at the final station where you rise like a phoenix. In all, it’s a compelling read and I have pages of notes to show for it. This is definitely reading to learn!
My two biggest takeaways after reading Refresh are that I’ve been in crisis mode since my father’s death over three decades ago and I have a lot of ground to cover before I am in a position to begin living my priorities. I hate that I keep writing out priorities and goals that required me to build a better support structure before I can work on them, but that is the season I am in. I feel discouraged that I’ve been working my butt off all these years, but haven’t even made it up to the starting line. Ugh! It really hit me when I listened to Jami’s What’s your ONE THING for 2018? podcast. She basically lost me at “hello.” I loved her message and really wish I had that life right now, but I’m doing my best just to see we get to church each week let alone pointing anyone back to Christ. I have so much to do just to get my daily habits and household routines efficient enough to keep my head above water I can’t imagine working on relationships, period.
That is probably the best thing about reading Refresh and listening to Jami, they are real women, grounded in scripture, but realistic that it’s a daily struggle to live out our ideals. Success is a journey of a thousand incremental changes directed at a target we may not hit, but we’ll get awful darn close to.