What Are The Books That Have Influenced You The Most?

One of my Facebook friends shared a post about the ten books that have most influenced his life, which I thought was a great idea. But it took me two weeks to figure out which books I wanted to write about and by the time I hit 500+ words I thought, why not just make it a blog post? So if you are reading this and care to share your most influential books consider yourself “tagged.” I’d love to see what books have had the biggest impact on your lives either in the comments or on your own blog (there’s an article topic you don’t have to come up with on your own!). The original list was 10 but I ended up with 8, so post however many you like.What Are The Books That Have Influenced You The Most? | marissabaker.wordpress.com

The Bible

What Are The Books That Have Influenced You The Most? | marissabaker.wordpress.comA rather obvious first choice for a Christian blogger, but this book definitely deserves the top spot when talking about books that influenced my life. It’s still influencing everything I do and I fall more in love with this book and it’s Author every time I read it. It’s the greatest love story every told, the best handbook you’ll ever find for life, and an incredible source of hope and purpose. Since more than 50% of this blog is devoted to talking about this book I’ll stop now. You know I could (and have!) keep going on about it for several books worth of text.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

What Are The Books That Have Influenced You The Most? | marissabaker.wordpress.comI could have put several books by C.S. Lewis on this list, but this is the first of his non-fiction I read and it’s the one that’s been most influential (with Screwtape Letters a close second). I just love the way he writes about his faith. Not only is he firmly grounded in scripture, but he’s also a persuasive speaker to those who don’t already put their faith in the Bible. In the words of Anthony Burgess, “C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

What Are The Books That Have Influenced You The Most? | marissabaker.wordpress.comI started researching my personality after starting college and realizing I was even more different from “normal” people than I’d previously thought. This is one of the first books I read on the subject and it literally changed my life. Like many introverts, particularly INFJs, I always felt there was something off about the fact that I couldn’t seem to socialize the way so many other people did. This book pointed out how introvert brains are wired differently and that there are strengths in that personality. In other words, it shows that we’re not broken extroverts and introversion isn’t something to “fix.” Read more

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Our Vocation

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received Eph. 4:1 NIV

I was reading through Ephesians (in my KJV Bible) when a word caught my eye. Earlier, I’d been reading something about the word history of “vocation,” and learned that it wasn’t until fairly recently that it referred to anything other than an ecclesiastical calling. With that in mind, I thought the word choice in Ephesians 4:1 was intriguing:

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called

Prior to the mid 1500s, the definition of vocation was always linked to a calling from God (vocation, n. Oxford English Dictionary Online). Of the 11 definitions given in the OED, 5 have to do with a religious calling. Even after the word expanded, the primary meaning continued to involve a Christian calling – there simply weren’t other employments that you could choose instead of being born into. Here are two of the definitions (1a was first recorded in 1426, and 2a was in use by 1487):

1 a. The action on the part of God of calling a person to exercise some special function, especially of a spiritual nature, or to fill a certain position; divine influence or guidance towards a definite (esp. religious) career; the fact of being so called or directed towards a special work in life; natural tendency to, or fitness for, such work.

2 a. The particular function or station to which a person is called by God; a mode of life or sphere of action regarded as so determined.

Back when the King James Bible was being readied for its publication in 1611, these are the definitions they would have had in mind when they chose to translate the Greek word klesis (G2821 κλῆσις) as “vocation” here and as “calling” in ten other places. For them, a life’s work which you were called to had to involve Christianity.

Though one of the main reasons we can use “vocation” more generally now is that we have the freedom to choose a profession other than that of our parents, I think it goes deeper than that. It is telling of our society that when we think of a vocation, we rarely (if ever) think of anything religious or spiritual.

When we talk about finding your life’s work or discovering your calling, we mean finding employment that is lucrative and enjoyable for us. Even as Christians, when people ask “what do you do?” we are more likely to respond by telling them about our job than about our faith. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. But (except in a setting where we should clearly be talking about the kind of work we do) maybe we should re-think this. Our true vocation – our calling from God – should be the one that’s more interesting to talk about and more important to share.