It’s a new year – and you’re still enthused and optimistic about the new opportunities to learn, to grow, to become a better worker/parent/Christian/reader/citizen.... Oh, the areas where you hope to show some improvement! So today, I pulled from my shelf some of the recent books that offer helpful guidance along your journey. Pick and choose your challenge for 2019!

 

If Your Goal Is to Grow Closer to Jesus...

Katie Prejean McGrady, author of Adventures of a New Evangelist, has published Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2018). In this new book, she shares sometimes embarrassing, often humorous, and always inspiring stories about how she came to know and love Jesus and shows how you can, too, through prayer, scripture, sacraments and service. It's intended for young adults, but it'll be a helpful guide for anyone interested in growing in faith.

 

If Your Goal Is to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your Communications...

The Thoughtful Girl's Guide to Fashion, Communication and Friendship by Mary Sheehan Warren (Tan Books, 2018) is a practical guide for girls on the art of communicating through your words, actions, dress and demeanor that you are a person with value and dignity. In our world which is so confused about the very basics – the value of human life, the meaning and purpose of sexuality, why beauty matters, and what exactly constitutes true freedom – this book is much needed.

 

If Your Goal Is to Be the Woman God Made You to Be...

You'll appreciate Emily Wilson Hussem's new book Go Bravely: Becoming the Woman You Were Created to Be (Ave Maria Press, 2018). Like many young women, Emily used to struggle with insecurities and feel bogged down by the pressures and expectations of society. In this new book, she offers twenty bits of advice to equip young women to tackle concerns about relationships, self-esteem, and dating while strengthening their faith at the same time. Fresh off figuring out who she is as a daughter of God, how to cultivate healthy friendships, how to save sex for marriage, and how to develop a prayer life, Wilson Hussem explains what she learned in the midst of becoming a young woman. Read this book in short snippets, or in one sitting: Your choice!

 

If Your Goal Is to Cut Yourself Some Slack When You're Not Perfect...

Get your copy of Good Enough Is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom (Ave Maria Press, 2018). Author Colleen Duggan explains the honest truth about parenting: You don't have to get everything right, and your family doesn't need to be perfect! Colleen learned those hard lessons through years of struggling with unrealistic expectations. She describes the emotional and spiritual healing that needed to take place in her life so that she could become the parent, spouse, and follower of Christ that God created her to be.

 

If Your Goal Is to Be Like Mary, But You Find That You're More Like Martha...

You'll appreciate Katie M. Reid's book Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done (WaterBrook, 2018). Through her own story and rich biblical illustrations, Katie reminds you that it's not important whether you sit and listen, or stand and work. What matters is that your spiritual posture is one of a beloved daughter who knows she doesn't need to earn God's love. Your desire to get things done is not something to temper, but something to embrace as you serve from a place of strength and peace – knowing Christ already did his most important work for you on the cross. And you'll love the “It Is Finished” activities at the end of each chapter and a five-week Bible study included.

 

If You're Struggling to Keep the Flame of Faith Alive...

“We can keep the flame of our faith alive,” says author John R. Wood, “by sharing it with others.” In his new book The Light Entrusted to You: Keeping the Flame of Faith Alive (Ignatius Press, 2018), Wood explains the Catholic faith in six simple and engaging lessons that can be applied to everyday life. The first letters of the six lessons spell the acronym SAINTS, illustrating that the Catholic faith has the power to form ordinary men and women into extraordinary Christians, in other words, saints. Using popular movies, songs, stories, sports, and life experiences, John Wood illuminates the wisdom of Catholicism and equips us to share it with others, especially our own children.

 

If You Dwell on Past Mistakes and Errors...

“Everyone hears voices in their head that tell them they're no good,” says author Chris Stefanick. “These voices are not of God, and it's time that we stop listening to them.” Stefanick's new book I Am _______: Rewrite Your Name – Reroute Your Life (Jameson Press, 2018), addresses this problem through a 33-day devotional work with short meditations and thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Stefanick stresses that it takes patience and practice to move from listening to the destructive voices to listening to the voice of God in your life. It can be done, though!

 

If You Eat Too Much of the Wrong Things...

Whereas most diets are short-lived or require substantial upkeep, Eat, Live, Thrive Diet: A Lifestyle Plan to Rev Up Your Midlife Metabolism (WaterBrook, division of Penguin Random House, 2018) is a viable eating plan that can be adhered to indefinitely. Co-authors and health and lifestyle coaches Danna Demetre and Robyn Thomson report on this science-based plan which explains why you gain weight with age – a plan that equips you to permanently lose pounds and inches as you embrace health and vitality. They demonstrate that God-centered principles such as renewing the mind can prepare you for lasting change. Simple steps enable you to replace unhealthy thoughts with life-changing truths to fuel new desires and behaviors.