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Being Spiritually Formed: Recommended InterVarsity Press Books for Spiritual Health
At the beginning of every year most of us are filled with aspirations for how we want to shape the next 365 days of our life. Often these resolutions include ways to care for our bodies: exercising more regularly, eating more healthily, and even expanding our minds in new ways. But part of taking care of ourselves means attending to the spirit inside of us—in other words, taking care of our souls. Below, InterVarsity staff ministers recommend favorite resources from InterVarsity Press that help us do just that!
Tish Harrison Warren
We all have liturgies in our life—routines or practices, mostly mundane, that we do every day. These daily habits are what ultimately form us. Tish Warren takes us through a whole day, from waking up to going to bed, and relates these daily activities to a spiritual practice that gently instructs us about our life with God and each other.
“Liturgy of the Ordinary is a wonderful resource [written by] a recent InterVarsity grad staff member. It offers a glimpse into what it means to spend a day in connection and communion with God.”
–Cindy Bunch, InterVarsity Press Editorial Director
“Liturgy of the Ordinary is something I’m really loving. I know I need to pursue silence, Sabbath, etc. But I really like how Tish shows us—with great humility and humor—how soul care extends to my most ordinary moments of the day: arguments with my spouse, brushing teeth, eating leftovers, etc. This isn’t soul care like ‘go to a spa with your soul’ (which is important). This is soul care in the everyday behaviors of life.”
–Greg Jao, Senior Assistant to the President
Until we know our true selves, we cannot truly know God. But we often hide behind versions of ourselves that we present to the world. In these pages, David Benner, a psychologist and spiritual director, helps us see why self-knowledge is first needed before we can grow more fully into who God intends us to be.
“This powerful little book has literally changed my life. David Benner gently leads readers through the importance of knowing oneself honestly. From this place of knowing, we can move to acceptance, love, and appreciation of ourselves, others, and God. This is a good annual read.”
–Lori Neff, IVP Books Marketing Manager
“I really like that The Gift of Being Yourself helps me to know myself better and work through my false self that gets in the way of knowing God and interacting with others. This is a book I’ve read more than once!”
–Emery Silva, Assistant Director of Ministry Partnership Development
Ruth Haley Barton
In these pages, longtime author, spiritual director, and teacher Ruth Haley Barton speaks to the importance of daily practicing spiritual disciplines, which is what allows for personal and communal transformation. In particular, she focuses on seven disciplines and provides practical ideas for how to implement them into daily life.
“Sacred Rhythms was transformational for me at a time when I felt disillusioned and far from God. Her chapter on the Sabbath was the most compelling and enticing description I’d ever read. God used her book to bring new life to me.”
–Alison Smith, Associate Director of Communications for Greek InterVarsity
“Sacred Rhythms is both practical and restorative at the same time!”
–Kristen Parise, Digital Learning Designer
Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
The Enneagram is a wise and effective personality tool that gives deep insight into our strengths and weaknesses. Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile bring together here the wisdom of the Enneagram, its connections with Christian spirituality, and its personal implications. The book gives us deeper knowledge of ourselves and an understanding of how and why other people think, feel, and act the way they do. And that deeper personal knowledge leads us further into spiritual discovery and intimacy with God.
“The Road Back to You has given many readers a diving-in point for the Enneagram in an accessible, friendly, and—most importantly—kind voice. The Enneagram is a proven tool for many in the journey to self-discovery, but what I love about Ian and Suzanne’s book is that it gives the reader the ability to know themselves and to understand others. As relationships are at the core of who we are as human beings and Christians, this feels especially poignant.”
–Alisse Goldsmith-Wissman, InterVarsity Press Publicity Manager
“This is the most effective book I’ve seen in actually helping someone discover their Enneagram number.”
–Marilyn Stewart, Past Director of Spiritual Formation for InterVarsity
This book won Christianity Today’s Book Award of Merit in the spirituality category in 2014. In a culture that prizes living life fast and hard, Alan Fadling calls us to follow Jesus’ example and “unhurry” our lives. Speaking from personal experience and also his wisdom as a pastor and spiritual director, he explains how stepping into the rhythms that Jesus laid out is vital to our spiritual development, and speaks to the importance of such things as resisting temptation, caring for others, and praying. At root, this is a book about finding the balance between our sense of calling and the call to rest.
“This is one of the most formative books for me over the past three years. Alan Fadling had me at his opening line: ‘I’m a recovering speed addict—and I don’t mean the drug.’ Our culture seems to honor busyness, and Alan challenges us to resist that temptation and find Christ’s rhythms of rest and work in ever-increasing, life-giving ways. This is a book that I make a point to re-read at least every year—and, I suspect, that will be true for years to come.”
–Jeff Crosby, InterVarsity Press Publisher