Last week I was asked this question (for a website on self-development),
“(In 50 words) What’s the best book you’ve read on self development and how is it different from the rest?”
I thought of the self development books I’d read.
Books with helpful insights on mental health issues. Books offering practical advice about relationships. Books with tips on managing emotions or improving my health.
Books by lay people and books by medics. Books for groups and books for individuals. Books that have been published in the last few months; books that are recognised as classics. Books that claim to have an answer to life’s challenges. Books that say there’s no such thing.
I’m thankful for these books – and many of them have really helped me. Some have helped me modify my thinking. Some have helped me change my behaviour. Some have shown me ways of managing how I feel.
Some have told me to accept myself, when I’m desperate to change.
Some have told me to change, when such change seems impossible.
Some have said, ‘give up’ and some have said, ‘fight’. Some have said ‘let go,’ and some said ‘hang on.’
But none of them have changed me. The core; the engine-room; the heart or soul, the bits my brain can’t reach.
A tale of different worlds – one unseen and one that is to come; one that’s been and one that is.
A manual for living, that says we cannot keep its rules.
A true story, with a king and a princess, a knight and a dragon.
A love letter; that transforms all who read it.
A book that tells us that we’ve got everything wrong – and that’s really good news.
This is what I said:
The best book I’ve read on self-development is the Psalms. It’s the song-book of human experience; and it covers the full range of our emotions; from grief and joy to despair and doubt. It doesn’t give us answers or a programme to follow; but points to the God who joins in in our sufferings at the cross and then rises again to bring us new life. In him we can die to the people we were and become the people we were created to be; not because we try harder, but because He carries us.
Here’s a link to the finished article.