Devotional for July 21st 2021

It’s time for my summer reading check-in! Back in June one of my devotionals focused on reading. I reflected on how meaningful reading can be as we seek to not only learn new things, but immerse ourselves in the lives and stories of others. I also put out a summer reading challenge. I invited you to join me in picking up a book or two (or more!) and be intentional about reading books that you’ve been longing to enjoy. I even made my own summer commitment in the hopes that I would make more time for reading as well. It’s been about a month since I made this challenge, so I thought I would check in and see how you’re doing so far! You’re welcome to share an update in the comments. Have you started, or still need the extra push to curl up with a good book? If you have started, what have you read? Or, what are you currently reading? Share the title and your thoughts on the book. Would you recommend it? Have you learned something about yourself, the world or your faith? Now for my check in. In June, I committed to reading two books over the summer. The first book was “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone” by Brené Brown, had already been started. I had read a few chapters when I posted this so I felt confident that I could easily finish it over the summer. In fact, I even had high hopes to finish it by the time I made it to the half way check in point! But, I haven’t. I have continued reading it, but still have three more chapters to go. So far though, I’m enjoying it. Not only has Brown gotten me to think about belonging in a new way, she has helped me to understand my own experiences of belonging during my growing up years as someone who often stood alone. One quote that has stood out to me is when she writes early on: “. . . true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Her words have helped me realize how important it is to accept who God has made us to be, as a part of the journey to belonging.

The other reading I’ve been doing is that of magazines. I have two subscriptions: The United Church’s Broadview Magazine and National Geographic’s History Magazine. I’m about six months behind, and just finished reading Broadview’s Christmas edition! But, I’ve been getting more done the last little bit. On evenings when I’m tired and want to do just a small amount of reading, I’ve been grabbing one of the magazines. I’ve managed to finish two of them and I’m now on to the third! I am hopeful I might get caught up someday! So I’m going to continue with the summer reading challenge, at whatever pace that might be. With time off in the near future, maybe I’ll get more done! I’ll do another check in at the end of August, so happy reading!

Devotional was written by Rev. Tara Ann Gourson, July 2021.

“Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone” by Brené Brown

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