Along with the author of Ecclesiastes, I subscribe to the notion that “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9) While I’ve striven to adapt thought and contextualize principles and suggestions to my own life and faith, I can’t deny that I’ve been greatly influenced by several works in recent years. These authors and thinkers deserve credit for doing much of the heavy-lifting. If you find yourself resonating with my story, you would do well to explore their work, too.
You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith got the ball rolling a few years ago. Smith’s work opened by eyes to the reality that all activity is formational. We don’t participate in anything without it influencing who we are becoming. This is especially true when we consider our habits, which are really nothing more than a celebration of the things we truly value and deem important.
The Common Rule was my introduction to the concept of a rule of life. I found commonality with the generalities of many of Earley’s personal struggles. The rule of life he adopted for himself was broad enough to apply to most, so I made a small attempt at organizing my life around similar guidelines. Like many of my attempts at growth in my hustle-style spirituality phase, it didn’t last long. My failure was definitely not Earley’s fault. I would not have gotten to the place I am now without the encouragement of his work and story.
Warren described her own book in contrast to Smith’s as a view at habits from a 5,000 foot perspective as compared to and view from 50,000 feet. Her down-to-earth understanding of how daily practices form and shape our faith was challenging and incredibly helpful as I later examined practices like potty-training and Quickbooks.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry was the final kick in the pants it took for me to make some lasting change. Comer’s examination of our tendency to “distract ourselves to death” hit the nail on the head for my particular struggle. His personal plan for how he set about to organize his life around simple pursuit of Jesus was inspirational and gave me a great framework from which to operate as I set a personal plan into place.