Habits to change your heart and health. A Holistic Health Coach's review of two new Christian personal development books.Habits to Change Your Heart and Health

Books have the power to change your life for less than $20 and a bit of time. Your habits shape your day, your schedule, your reactions, and your heart. A book, therefore, that impacts your habits, can change your heart and your health.

I recently read two different books. Both have the power to change your habits that can shape your heart and health. These books are both written by Christian authors and both help you grow healthier as a whole person: body, mind, and soul. The books are slightly different, though. Read through the reviews to decide which fits your life at this time.

Book #1: The Common Rule—Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley

Habits form our hearts. Book review of The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley

From the Publisher

The modern world is a machine of a thousand invisible habits, forming us into anxious, busy, and depressed people. We yearn for the freedom and peace of the gospel, but remain addicted to our technology, shackled by our screens, and exhausted by our routines. But because our habits are the water we swim in, they are almost invisible to us. What can we do about it?

The answer to our contemporary chaos is to practice a rule of life that aligns our habits to our beliefs. The Common Rule offers four daily and four weekly habits, designed to help us create new routines and transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbor. Justin Earley provides concrete, doable practices, such as a daily hour of phoneless presence or a weekly conversation with a friend.

These habits are “common” not only because they are ordinary, but also because they can be practiced in community. They have been lived out by people across all walks of life—businesspeople, professionals, parents, students, retirees—who have discovered new hope and purpose. As you embark on these life-giving practices, you will find the freedom and rest for your soul that comes from aligning belief in Jesus with the practices of Jesus.

Habits work in the background. Habits liberate us. Book review of The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley

Esther’s Review

I was a little leery of this book based on the title. After all, rules are all around us and I don’t know that I want more rules. But then I read “the word rule is used because it comes from the Latin word regula, a word associated with a bar or trellis, the woodwork on which a plant grows.” And “a rule of life is much less about obeying rules than it is about finding purpose.”

Do you feel like you could use a framework (or trellis) to help your days and life find purpose? That’s what this book is about. This book does a great job providing “keystone habits,” or habits that will help other good habits and routines fall into place.

One thing I very much appreciated about The Common Rule is the lack of guilt. In a book full of ways to create life-giving habits, there is no shame or guilt for the current way of living. Instead, the book is full of hope for a better tomorrow.

Often, I feel like a pile of vining peas—unsupported and reaching out for the next thing. The trellis of The Common Rule is a welcome support. I’m ready to cling to routines that will be keystone habits—preparing each day (and week) to be full of goodness, love, and fulfilled life.

I read a lot. I’m picky about what books I give 5-star ratings to. The Common Rule not only got a 5-star rating, but I pre-ordered the paper version after I finished my advance copy Kindle edition. (And then, when I got the text message that the book had hit my mailbox, I tromped through the snow to get it.) It’s THAT good. Click over to Amazon or ChristianBook and order your copy right away.

A Tickle Blessing


Whether or not you buy this book, head over to thecommonrule.org website and sign up for the “templates.” Within those, you will find some bedtime blessings for your kids. There are three blessings/prayers and my kids look forward to each one. Their favorite one is the “tickle blessing” where you ask God to bless the child with laughter and joy—and then tickle them until they are breathless.

Book #2: The Whole Life—Finding God’s Rhythm for Your Spirit, Soul, and Body by David Stine

Focus on body, soul and spirit for unprecedented health

From the Publisher

Pastor David Stine was the head of a growing church in the nation’s capital. He was seeing exponential church growth and reaching hearts and minds for God. But inside, he felt spiritually dry. He was burnt out. His health suffered, and his preaching became uninspired. Then, one day he read 1 Thessalonians 5:23 in a way he never had before. The verse, he now saw, clearly indicated that were three parts to the human self—the spirit, the soul, and the physical body. He had only been focusing on one part and realized his life was seriously out of balance with the way God intended. As soon as Pastor Stine began to focus on his emotional well-being and physical health in addition to his spiritual fitness, everything changed. He began to see that all three elements are interconnected and necessary for a vibrant Christian life.

Divided into three sections, The Whole Life is a practical guide to leading an empowered and balanced life. The Spiritual Formation section discusses the importance of Prayer, the need to read scripture regularly, and the necessity of having a God-sized dream to guide you. The Soul Care section covers your mind, your emotions, and your desires, while the Body Health sections discusses nutrition, exercise, and rest.

In each section, Pastor Stine helps you identify where you are thriving and where you are depriving yourself so that you can achieve a healthy whole body and, in turn, a whole life. Providing practical and inspiring ways to feed and nurture yourself, Pastor Stine guides you to discover how you, too, can have a whole, balanced life in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 David Stine's Whole Life versionEsther’s Review

If you are familiar with the life-balance wheel, then this book will make sense to you. When you fill out a wheel assessment, you give yourself a score (usually from 0-10) on how healthy you are in each category. The wheel used in this book has 9 sections: prayer, Bible reading, dreaming, mind, will, emotions, nutrition, fitness, and rest.

I love the wheel tool for a whole-health assessment. It is a quick and visual representation on what I am neglecting in my health and what I am doing well in. The author of this book spends time on each section of the wheel, giving you practical tips and tools to improve the health of that area.

Every part of The Whole You impacts every other part. In my coaching practice, I help people with five areas: body, mind, spirit, diet, and environment. I recognize that small improvements in each area can result in big transformations overall. That is a strength of this book. The author helps you connect the pieces and find whole health. If you want practical ways to improve your “whole life,” this is the book for you. Find it on Amazon or ChristianBook. (FYI, the last few times I’ve looked, both books have been cheaper on ChristianBook.)

Your Whole Health

Both of these books are good tools in your quest for better health. Both books recognize common struggles and help you connect to God and balance your life.

For some people, though, a book is not enough. A book sits on the shelf or table. It doesn’t talk to you. A book doesn’t ask you how you are doing and listen. A book cannot hold you accountable. For that matter, it cannot celebrate with you when you have wins, either.

As a Holistic Health Coach, I can do all those things for you. Schedule your free Holistic Health Strategy Session today.

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Habits to change your heart and health. A Holistic Health Coach's review of two new Christian personal development books.

The Whole Life - Finding God's Rhythm for your spirit, soul, and body. A book review.
The Common Rule - Habits of purpose for an age of distraction. A book review.