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I highly recommend these seven books that most encouraged and enlightened my faith journey in 2020. Read full reviews of each book by following the hyperlinks in the titles.

Try Softer

By Aundi Kobler

The journey to wholeness is sacred work. Kobler, a Christian therapist, gently invites us to lay down our burdens and become more attuned to the connection between our bodies and our emotions. She encourages us to move through our emotions rather than get stuck in them. Takeaway: There is divine healing power in self-compassion. (Tyndale)

Uncommon Ground

By Timothy Keller and John Inazu

How can we Christians love one another when we are so deeply and fractiously divided? In this contentious year, Uncommon Ground encouraged my worn-out, conflict-riddled heart and gave me hope. As one soaking sore, tired muscles, I immersed myself in stories and testimonies from a wide range of contributors, including artists, thinkers, and leaders. Takeaway: Without a vision, the people perish, but we can and must pursue love with great hope. (Thomas Nelson)

When Narcissism Comes to Church

By Chuck DeGroat

Though I have never experienced the pain and confusion of having a narcissist pastor, this book helped me understand a loved one and even develop compassion for that person. This book allowed me to get a grip on what I was dealing with and how to live my life well and with boundaries. Takeaway: My eyes are open to the truth, and my hands are open to God’s healing. (IVP)

The Mindful Christian

By Irene Kraegel

Anyone who worries that mindfulness is some kind of stealthy Buddhist practice need not fret. “I have come to recognize the practice of present-moment awareness as deeply embedded in Scripture and in the Christian tradition,” Kraegel writes. Takeaway: Living in a broken world, where Satan seeks to agitate and exploit our thoughts, Christian mindfulness helps us be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Fortress Press)

Chasing Vines

By Beth Moore

Beth Moore goes deep into the vine analogy spiraling through the Bible in a book about fruitfulness. How will we grow and flourish? How will we avoid becoming dried up and wasted away? I closed this book alight with new insights, having laughed way more often than I would have thought I would with a devotional book. Takeaway: God wants us to attach more securely to the Vine. (Tyndale)

Get Out of Your Head

By Jennie Allen

Allen, the visionary behind the women’s discipleship ministry IF:Gathering, challenges us to flex our God-given power to shift negative thinking patterns and take back control of our thoughts and emotions. Allen vulnerably shares her own battle with toxic thoughts and tells us how she learned to take control and transform her emotions. Takeaway: Spiral up with runaway thoughts instead of spiraling out. (Waterbrook)

On the Road With Saint Augustine

By James K.A. Smith

I was surprisingly moved by this exquisite book about the relatable St. Augustine, especially by the chapter about fathers. Both Smith and Augustine experienced deep disappointment in the choices their fathers made. At the end of the journey, Smith and Augustine point us back to the Father who sees and knows us. “Even broken fathers can be reborn,” Smith writes. “The best way to be a father is to point your children beyond you.” (Brazos Press)

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