Before we begin
I love to read a great book with a warm drink on a cold snowy day. There’s just something about the idea of rejuvenation during the rest and quiet of winter (especially since hibernation is frowned upon in our species) that inspires me to take a little “internal” action and improve myself for the year ahead, and hopefully, beyond.
Last month’s book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, was a focus on self-improvement from a habits point of view. This book is more about orienting your compass to God. If you’re a woman struggling with a feeling of chaos, lack of control, unbalanced priorities, and a feeling of “does anything I’m doing really matter?” then this book is for you! Lisa Brenninkmeyer brings God back into focus and allows the dust to settle so you can see the truths that help you step out of the spin cycle and into a purposeful life.
This month’s book and author
Lisa Brenninkmeyer is a mother of seven that found herself answering God’s call to create a women’s bible study, despite feeling that she was too young, inexperienced, and too busy to do the job well. Her weekly bible studies became popular and have since spread to 593 parishes. While Lisa is a Catholic convert, almost none of the book has a Catholic-over-Christian mentality—it’s biblical, Christian, and wholesome for any Christian woman. You can read more about Lisa and her ministry at walkingwithpurpose.com.
My favorite takeaways
If you only get so far as the end of this little section, I want you to come away with something. When I look back over this book, this is what struck me most:
- Rethink and reconsider your notions about what purpose is. Your purpose can change and evolve as you navigate the twists and turns of life. Don’t get hung up on “selecting” a purpose that can never be adjusted in the future.
- Your identity holds the key to your purpose. Unlike the dynamic nature of a purpose, your identity is FIXED: you are a beloved daughter of God, created with unique gifts to offer to a world that needs them. Peel away the expectations of the world and your personal insecurities and find out who you truly are, and your purpose should become clear.
- God wants to know your HEART and your deepest feelings, sufferings, and questions. Your faith doesn’t need to start out strong. Let your heart rest in God BEFORE you feel worthy of a relationship with Him.
- When your identity and purpose align, that’s when your life gives fulfillment and peace among the chaos. Trying to live a life that isn’t authentically yours is a waste of who God created you to be.
- There are things you can do (tools laid out in the book) that can help you prioritize, organize the clutter, experience hope in your marriage and parenting, find and nurture true friendships, and most of all, seek God first.
- Your faith needs to be a foundation, not something you add in when you have the time. It’s not something you add to your plate, it IS the plate.
- When you’re “too busy” to answer God’s call, what good does that do for the world? Lean into God’s plan for you and He will direct your paths and use you for greater good of your family, community, and world.
- You CAN uncover the key to living a busy life with inner calm by identifying key priorities, and doing first what matters most.
Section 1: Putting Essentials in Place
Lisa says before we need to understand why we’re here before we can explore living a life of purpose. The following “essentials” are key:
- Understanding the depth of God’s love
- Recognizing what drives you (both good and bad)
- Avoiding distractions
- Cultivating an eternal perspective
Section 2: Getting Priorities in Order
- Priority one: Your Relationship with God: how our relationship with God must come first, not be something that gets “fit in” when there is time.
- Priority two: Protecting your Heart: how Christ is the only one capable of meeting our every emotional need. God wants our hearts, even with all the messy emotions, and to find rest in Him.
- Priority three: Your Marriage: how we set up unrealistic expectations for our husbands, how we can re-align what our role can be to, for, and with our husbands.
- Priority four: Reaching your Child’s Heart: explores the anxiety of a mother that wants to raise her child(ren) to love God, and release them into a world that doesn’t. It explores ways that we can minister to our children’s spiritual and emotional needs and ways that we (for better or worse) influence them with our own choices.
- Priority five: Clarity in the Clutter of your Home: talks about why the home needs to be a place of peace and love, and why organizing helps that happen. Gives wise advice about how to make small changes over time to acquire more peace and clarity.
- Priority six: Friendships: this chapter addresses the need for true, wholesome, good-for-us friendships, and how we should pour into others rather than seek to gain from them.
- Priority seven: Outside Activities: this chapter addresses our desire to do “all the things” and the temptation to get in over our heads because we want to measure up to others. It challenges the reader to explore the motivations for getting involved and making sure we do the things that are oriented towards the purpose God has for us, rather than seeking approval of others.
Section 3: Your True Worth
This section wraps up the book and encourages the reader to look at her life and stop settling for mediocrity where God is asking her to kick it up a notch.
This is the type of book you highlight and dog-ear and stick post-it notes all over. It has nuggets and bits of wisdom and “aha” moments galore. I LOVE all the references to scripture and the down-to-earth relatability of the author. This is a book I’ll read again in a few years and I’m sure it will “hit different” when I do.
Further resources available:
If you’re interested in journaling and/or exploring the book with a group, there is a companion guide available. There are three ways to obtain it, but only one of them is free! Go to the book’s page (https://shorturl.at/ckzIU) on Dynamic Catholic (the publisher) and scroll down to the link that says “Download our Walking With Purpose Study Guide” right above Customer Reviews. The book is available wherever books are sold, and probably available at your local library. If you order the book from this Amazon Affiliate link (https://amzn.to/3SwlAg3) I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. HOWEVER—I suggest going to Dynamic Catholic to get the book for FREE. Yes, I said FREE (it says that the book price is $0 to $3.50, but I was only charged for shipping). Dynamic Catholic has many books that it provides for free this way. You can also see other works by Lisa Brenninkmeyer at walkingwithpurpose.com. You can also watch Lisa in this video: Author and Founder of Dynamic Catholic Matthew Kelly interviews Lisa Brenninkmeyer about “Walking With Purpose” (https://shorturl.at/irLVW)
I’d love to know what your thoughts are about this book and this overview! Please add a comment below! I hope this blesses your business and your personal life as well. Stay tuned for next month’s book, “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port.