Taking the Temperature of Your Soul {Book Club}

Today we finish The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life by Barnabas Piper and discuss Chapters 7-11. I thought of myself as a fairly curious person, but can we be honest with each other? I would be willing to bet you think you are curious too. I am not saying we are wrong. I do wonder, however, if we are tooting our own horns a bit. 

This book has reminded me that curiosity is a discipline. One that needs tending. If we don’t tend our curiosity, we could end up being like an overweight, middle-aged person talking about the athletic accomplishments of their youth. Of course we all will age and change, but unlike athletic ability, curiosity can improve as we age.

September is a good month to take the temperature of your soul when it comes to curiosity.

I see truth in this Andy Stanley quote—”Everything in life conspires against our sense of wonder: age, experience, our jobs, even our church.” Last week in my Connection Group someone said, “It feels like I’m always giving, giving giving. All my local relationships are me investing into others. And when I’m exhausted, it feels like investing into what really will by my most refreshing Relationship is too much work. But thankfully, the Lord is teaching me just how important He is.”

I responded: “Not to be too dramatic, but the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we HAVE to be so busy. That we HAVE to hustle for our value. That we HAVE to invest in others at the very peril of our own souls and wellbeing. LIES smiley face!!!!”

But these lies that keep us busy, keep us from having time to be curious, which includes being curious about God and His world.

My favorite quote from the book is in Chapter 10. “Curiosity is a virtue and a discipline and a gift. It is a trait and a habit. It is wide and it is narrow. It is deep and it is broad. No matter how it is expressed, curiosity brings richness to both our current life and the next. A curious life is a path toward a richer eternity.”

My soul sang when I read that. And then he shared about his college professor, Sam Storms on how we will each have a cup with a certain capacity for joy and worship. In heaven all of our cups will overflow with wonder and praise and joy. “Over the ages every cup will grow in its capacity and will continue to run over.”

Not every cup is the same size. What is the difference in capacity? What a person does in this life. This is why I like reading books with you. This is why I like to take an entire month to camp on a subject like curiosity. Before I read this book, as I said, I thought of myself as a curious person, but this month, leaning with you into the subject? I have grown. My capacity for joy, and wonder, and worship, is richer for our time together.

Thank you!

How about you? What stood out in this section of the book? How has talking about curiosity shown up in your life this month?

See you in the comments,

Amy

Reading plan:

Next week Kimberlee Conway Ireton will join us as we continue to experience the Church Year together.

Our October and November book is Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk by Dr Anna E Hampton. It is written specifically for people in our line of work.

7 Comments

  1. Sarah Hilkemann September 25, 2017

    Ooh, I really resonate with your discussions in your CG about busyness! My teammate and I took 3 days off last week during a national holiday. We had gotten to the point of lacking any compassion for people around us (including ourselves) and it felt like we were dragging ourselves to get through the day. We kept our doors locked those 3 days and just did anything we wanted or that sounded restful. We were desperate for rest! But then someone commented afterward, “Wow that must have been nice. It’s obvious that you don’t have kids!” And someone else commented on missed opportunities for sharing during the holiday. But sometimes rest is the most spiritual, wise thing we can do! I think we need curiosity to say, “What if there’s a different way?” What if we need to change the culture of the M world on how we think about busyness/rest (or whatever) or figure out better boundaries. But we have to realize first that there could be something different and not just stay stuck in the rut of how things have always been. Curiousity gets us out of that rut.

    1. Kiera September 26, 2017

      Sorry to hear of those disparaging comments you got, Sarah. I agree, sometimes rest is the most wise, spiritual thing we can do. It sounds like you and your teammate made the right choice in the use of your holiday time. 🙂

    2. Amy Young September 26, 2017

      Oh Sarah, I can feel the sting in their comment all these many miles from you. And my initial reaction is to smack them 🙂 . .. of course it goes without saying, “With the love of Jesus.” WINK. But when I take a breath and let both my brain and the Holy Spirit engage I hear a deeper whisper. Their comment is about them, not you. They see in you the freedom that comes with love and they want to taste it, but they haven’t. At least not yet. They are jealous and sad and maybe resentful. Instead of owning those yucky parts and bringing them to God, they brought them to you. I’m sorry. and I love that you know how to NOT answer a door. Me too. I had a teammate who in trying to be helpful would tell others (I heard all this going on outside of my bedroom). “Knock harder, I know she’s in there.” Um, yes. and I am not answering my door. 🙂

  2. Kiera September 26, 2017

    One thing that struck me while listening to this section (audio book) was similar to what you mentioned, Amy. I was listening to the last chapter, sitting outside my daughter’s school, watching a hawk-type bird of some kind glide on the warm air currents high above me. I saw planes taking off and landing from the San Francisco airport. I heard birds in the trees right above me. And I listened to Barnabas Piper exhort us to habits of a curious life. It reminded me that I need to be vigilant not to fill all of my time. In China, I would take the bus to the doctor’s office. It would take me roughly an hour and a half and the whole time, I didn’t read or listen to anything. I didn’t scroll on my phone (b/c I didn’t have data or any apps on my phone.) I would just think and watch and notice things. Near the end of my time there last spring, I noticed that these trips to the doctor (I’m pregnant, so they were roughly every four weeks) were great chances for me to process the fact that I would soon be leaving this place I had so long called home. I would notice the particular quirks of the city around me and snapped pictures like a tourist. That slow, nothingness time was a gift. It seems in today’s world, in any moments of waiting, we are always looking for something to entertain us – usually on our phones, it seems. Being back in the US I do have a few apps on my phone, and without the internet restrictions I have free access to social media. But thankfully, the habits built up over years overseas have held strong and I rarely feel the need to scroll or entertain myself with mindlessness. I have enjoyed listening to more audio books and podcasts. But hearing the words of this book, reminds me to be careful to keep some time open, to not always have entertainment at hand, to allow myself times of sitting and waiting so that I can look, notice, think and be curious.

    1. Amy Young September 26, 2017

      Kiera, I love this reminder!! Mainly because I need this reminder!!! As one who can fill up too much of my time, and have a strong sense of wasting time, I want to recognize that that voice in me about “wasting time” is not from the author and perfector of my faith :)! But from the stealer and distorter of it. I am now curious how your long bus rides and pondering will influence the human growing within you. I wonder if she/he will have a gentle and curios spirit? If nothing else, what a lovely environment you gave him/her to come into being 🙂

  3. Rachel Kahindi September 26, 2017

    I love that section on our cups overflowing!

    What haunts me from chapter 10 is the section called “The Least Curious Place,” on Revelation 21:8. “Every single one of the people listed there refused to acknowledge their position before God, their need of him, and the need to seek his truth. Every single one of them determined precisely who they thought God was or was not and held him to that standard. And every single one of those standards put them in the position of God and him in the position of subservience.” and “[Hell] is full of those who determined their own truth instead of seeking God’s.”

    It brings to mind Romans 3:10-11 “…no one seeks God…” and John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

    In humility, when we recognize that we don’t know God fully, and we are filled with wonder, curiosity, questions, it’s God drawing us to him, to know him more. To stifle our questions because we think we already know everything about God, every truth, takes us from John 6 (God drawing us to him) to Romans 3 (we don’t seek God).

    I know I won’t be in The Least Curious Place myself, but I interact with those who will be. If they approach me with questions and curiosity about God or his truth, I should recognize that God is drawing them. But, just because I can answer some of their questions doesn’t mean that I’ve graduated from seeking God.

    1. Amy Young September 26, 2017

      Rachel, this is a beautifully put engaging with that section. I love your comment because it slows me down and has me reflecting on that section.What an inviting picture of heaven! The most curious place. I feel the older I get and further down the faith path I get, the less I know for sure ;). Thankfully God keeps my heart more tender towards curiosity than cynicism and I truly am grateful for that! I’m wondering how we can teach our kids and new believing friends truths, yet also weave in curiosity and some uncertainly. Hmmmm, now need to think about this.

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