My three heroes of 2019! I’m someone who really enjoys looking back on what has already happened and planning ahead for what is to come. So I think it’s fun to turn the corner into a new year not because of parties and confetti but because of lists and calendars. I like having the chance to assess and evaluate and set some goals for the future. As I look back on this past year, it’s clear to me that three people have had a significant impact in how I have grown and in who I am becoming.
As you look ahead to 2020, I want to offer these three people as trustworthy guides towards a deeper understanding of self, God, and how to live a purposeful life:
- Michael Hyatt. Michael Hyatt is a leadership and productivity guru of sorts, and since I’m usually reading spiritual books or literary fiction, he doesn’t fit into my typical sets of recommendations. But I’ve been using his Full Focus Planner for two years now, and I’ve watched his accompanying videos and even bought Your Best Year Ever to do a deeper dive into how he recommends setting goals and planning my days, weeks, quarters, and years. I should add that I’ve been using his system to set goals for two years now, and in the beginning, I didn’t achieve any of my goals. Sell 20,000 copies of White Picket Fences. Didn’t happen. Maintain summertime weight throughout holiday season. Didn’t happen. Write monthly for a nationally recognized publication. Didn’t happen. Eventually I learned that I can only work on 2-3 goals at a time, and it usually takes longer than I want for those goals to be achieved. And throughout it all, I appreciated the weekly discipline of looking back and looking ahead. Even though I “failed” more than I succeeded in 2019, the past two years have been more productive with less stress than years before.
- Suzanne Stabile. If Michael Hyatt laid an orderly table, Suzanne Stabile is a hero who cooked a nourishing feast for me in 2019. If you aren’t familiar with her, Stabile is a lifelong teacher of the Enneagram, a personality system that offers insight and guidance into how we can become who God has created us to be. I have enjoyed her podcast and her books, but I most highly recommend her MP3 teaching series that goes into even greater depth about the Enneagram. (For instance, she talks a lot about how your Enneagram number relates to how you process information, your orientation to time, and how you see the world, all super helpful in understanding yourself and others.) She’s a great writer and interviewer, but at heart Suzanne is a storyteller and a teacher, and those qualities come out in a lifegiving way through her teaching.
- Ruth Haley Barton. If Michael Hyatt laid the table and Suzanne Stabile offered a nourishing feast, Ruth Haley Barton is a hero who sat with me and provided the most rich and sustaining conversation I could imagine. I first heard about her book, Sacred Rhythms, last March. Since then in 2019 I have read that book along with Invitation to Silence and Solitude and Invitation to Retreat, and I’ve listened to every season of her podcast. Barton is so real and lively and honest that I don’t feel intimidated by the fact that she is also deeply grounded in spiritual practices that keep her connected to God. She can write about going away for a 10-day silent retreat (I can’t manage to get a 24-hour retreat on my calendar, though it shows up as a goal in my Michael Hyatt planner every quarter!), and I just feel encouraged to try again. Barton combines Biblical insight and traditional Christian spirituality and applies it to our everyday lives in a distracting and fast-paced world.
Good Resources for All
I should note that my husband, Peter, has appreciated all three of these heroes as well, so I am pretty sure they are good resources for both men and women.
I’d love to hear from you—who are the people who have shaped you over the past year? And I hope these three offerings will serve you in the year to come.