#27 on my 30 before 30 list is complete! 20 books read with almost a whole year to spare. But don’t worry, I’ll keep reading and posting my reads.
I took plenty of reading material along on my recent trip. I read mostly fiction novels but try to switch it up every now and then, so before my trip I popped into the church bookstore. Andy Stanley’s sermons are great, so I figured his books had to be worth reading. I picked one that seemed to be a topic that I could actually use and learn from. I picked Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living. The downside to reading this book on a trip is that I am easily distracted in airports and on planes – I mean, the people watching is great! So, for a nonfiction, personal growth book, I really could have read more carefully.
This book is all about character. Character is probably the most important factor about a person – it impacts relationships, job/career, success/failure, and your character is what people define you as a person on. Stanley defines character as “the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.” That is the basis of the book, in which he discusses how to target specific qualities, evaluate your own character, and how to move towards change. After all, no one is perfect.
I especially liked his reflection on how character affects our relationships. Stanley proposes that there are four relationships that are important to consider: relationship with God, with ourselves, with others, and with our community. He, in my opinion, accurately concludes that “the way we view ourselves determines how we will interact with God, family, friends, loved ones, and even those we consider to be our enemies” and goes on discuss how “it is when we are least happy about the state of our own character that we are quickest to find fault with others.” I could not agree more and can definitely think of instances of this in my own life – even though we don’t always realize how unhappy we are with ourselves. As far as others, the point to take awayis that “character involves loving our neighbors as ourselves – even when they don’t reciprocate.” Much easier said than done, right?
I could continue writing, but it’s getting a little long. Stanley, of course, goes on to reference character discussions and guidance in the Bible, which are important in focusing on the character that God meant for us to have. So if you’re looking for a book to really help you look at yourself and the way you act not only towards yourself, but also towards others and God, this is a great one.