Sunday 5 November 2017

Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You - Matthew Kelly

Perfectly Yourself: 
Discovering God's Dream For You
New and Revised Edition
Matthew Kelly
Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820126
eISBN 9781635820133
ASIN B0746S76L1

The story of two books. A few weeks ago I reviewed Ordering Your Private World Revised and Updated 2017 Edition by Gordon MacDonald my biggest complaint was the publisher was seeking reviews and yet the book had been through over 20 English language editions over the last 34 years. And overall I felt the book was very dated.  There are numerous editions of this book, by Matthew Kelly but from the first words I was hooked and already have plans to reread it again in a few months. If my research is correct this book was originally published in 2006 as Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness. And this new edition has a different subtitle of: Discovering God's Dream For You. To be honest I have had this book on my to be read pile for a few years. But when a new edition came out I grabbed it and literally could not put it down. I now own two different eBook editions of this title but it was more than worth it!

This section from the first chapter really hit me when I was reading the book. I stopped and reread it three times:
"From time to time my best friends will get this look on their faces, and I know exactly what I am about to hear: "Matthew, get honest with yourself!" I love that. They don't say it that often, so when they do it means something. 
I think we all need moments of honesty from time to time. We need them as individuals, as couples, as families, and as nations. In the area of personal development, we are in desperate need of a moment of truth. We need to get honest with ourselves. 
The truth is this: Diets don't fail. We fail at diets. Savings plans don't fail. We fail at savings plans. Exercise routines don't fail. We fail at exercise routines. Relationships don't fail. We fail at relationships.
This may seem harsh, but until we face this difficult truth, we will never seriously ask the really important questions that loom in the back of our minds: Why do I fail every time I go on a diet? Why can't I stick to my budget and savings plan? Why can't I be consistent about working out? Why am I constantly in and out of relationships? And so on."

A few other quotes from the book to give you some sampling of Kelly's wisdom:
"But over the years in my personal reflection, I have constantly asked myself: What do I respect? And at a deep level, I think there is only one thing I truly and deeply respect over and over again in time, and that is virtue. I respect virtue. Virtue inspires me. Virtue in other people challenges me. Virtue raises me up. Virtue allows me to catch a glimpse of what is possible. Virtue gives me hope for the future of humanity."
"Character is built one habit at a time. Good character is built one virtue at a time. Virtue is a good habit, a habit that leads us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves. The cornerstone of character is virtue."
"Self-control is always accompanied by self-awareness. As we become more and more aware of ourselves and of the way we react to certain types of people and situations, our ability to control our response increases. The moment between event and response is where we choose how we are going to react. People with short fuses are almost completely oblivious to the moment because their temper-filled reactions have shortened with practice."
There are only nine chapters in this book. But each chapter has between 4 and 9 sections not counting the final section on applying the chapter. The chapters in this book are:

One: Are You Making Progress?
Two: Perfectly Imperfect
Three: Looking Into The Future
Four: 86,400 Hours
Five: What Do You Believe?
Six: Beyond Instant Gratification
Seven: Unburden Yourself
Eight: What Is Your Mission?
Nine: Why Worry?

And the application sections at the end of the chapters are:

Applying the First Lesson: Celebrate Your Progress
Applying the Second Lesson: Just Do The Next Right Thing
Applying the Third Lesson: Put Character First
Applying the Fourth Lesson: Find What You Love And Do It
Applying the Fifth Lesson: Live What You Believe
Applying the Sixth Lesson: Be Disciplined
Applying the Eighth Lesson: Focus On What You Are Here To Give
Applying the Ninth Lesson: Patiently Seek The Good In Everyone And Everything

This is one of those book that I kept planning on reading but it also kept getting bumped down my reading list. Because of that I have a few regrets. I really wish I had read this book a few years ago. Particularly around lesson 4. I stayed at a former job about a year or a year and a half too long. If I had read this book it might have helped me make the move sooner, which would have been better for me, my family and likely the organization. 

Chapter 4 begins with these words:
"If you graduated from high school at the age of eighteen, went to college and graduated in four years, then went out into the real world and got a real job working forty hours a week and worked forty-eight weeks a year, took four weeks' annual vacation (two weeks more than most people), and retired at the age of sixty-five, you will have worked 86,400 hours by the time you retire."
Read that quote again and let it sink in. And then the book finishes with this advice:
"So, let me leave you with this single thought. God has an incredible dream for you, he wants you to become all he created you to be, the-very-best-version-of-yourself. Take God's dream seriously and you will quickly realize another truth:Anyone or anything that doesn't help you become the-best-version-of-yourself is too small for you."

Of the twelve books by Matthew Kelly that I have read 11 have received a 5/5 Stars rating. And this one is an amazing read. This is one of those books that after reading it I want to put it in the hands of everyone I know.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...

Beautiful ... Series:

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

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