Some way, somehow, I really don't know, every evening this past week was open! I had no commitments. I made it to my usual workouts, spent some time with my kids and husband, watched Survivor with two different friends on two different nights, attended my students' musical, and READ. I finished a book - a book I wasn't teaching! My personal reading life has become so sad.
A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God's Promises, by Renee Swope, is one of those books I bought because it sounded so good, but I never got around to reading it. I happened to pull it up on my Kindle a couple weeks ago and it was like "read me now!" Sometimes, as is the case this time, it's all about timing. In the spirit of Owen Meany, I'm willing to bet it wasn't a coincidence.
First off, I'm not going to rewrite a perfectly good Amazon summary: "Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt--about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our lives. A Confident Heart gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows us how to identify, overcome, and learn from our self-doubts so that we can live confidently in God's assurance, truth, and grace. Perfect for women's small groups or individuals, A Confident Heart is an authentic, insight-filled and encouraging message for any woman who wants to exchange defeating thought patterns with biblical truth that will transform the way she thinks, feels, and lives."
Secondly, it's no secret that I love "character improvement" books (not quite self-help, maybe I'll explain that in a post some day). I think because I spent so much time in my 20's not liking who I was, I'm pretty willing to look for my weaknesses and take steps toward improvement. There are certain aspects of life I feel fairly comfortable with and others where I doubt myself constantly. I feel confident as a teacher and student typically, but doubt much about my worth and ability as a wife, mother, and friend. Kind of a big section of relationships in life, right? This book helped. It broke down all the ways in which we doubt ourselves and shows why they aren't true. More importantly for me (because I've heard the ways and whys many times from other sources), Swope discusses the how. She gives guidelines - speaking not only to prayer and Bible study, but also what to do with these things - and provides charts and lists to organize the information she wants you to follow. Of course, a good book and a plan won't do you any good if you don't act upon them.
It is definitely a book to highlight and note, so I am glad I purchased the Kindle edition (which I've been doing with all of my nonfiction/topical books lately). I will definitely peruse my highlights and possibly even reread A Confident Heart. The truths it contains are vital to being who I was made to be. I'm determined to confidently be her.