8 Books on Growing Slow, Margin, Rest & Space

Over the last few years, I’ve intentionally pursued slowing down, enjoying exactly where I am, resting, and the pursue of less. While this is still an ongoing journey, these are a few of the books that helped me along the way.

1 – Growing Slow by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Lee shares the benefits of intentional, slow growth through personal experience. She talks about how to live seasonally and grow deep roots with practical tips and application.

“The urge that led Adam and Eve to sin is the same kind of urge that infects our lives. It leads to hurry, exhaustion, and eventually frantic living… He seems like a slow God. So we look for hacks and systems to move our priorities forward.”

2 – Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

First, I love the way this book was laid out. It was a slightly awkward size compared to other books, but it also wasn’t just words on a page. There were pictures, questions, and images. It felt like you were reading more of a fun notebook and collection of thoughts than a standard book. Loechner shares her personal experiences of bankruptcy, her husband’s brain tumor, loss in the family, and criticism and the path alongside those of the chasing slow process.

“Here is the secret to subtraction. It doesn’t matter what you remove. What matters is that you stop adding it back.”

3 – Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It genuinely impacted the way I live my life for the better. I read this during March of 2020 (yes, when literally everything was slowed to a halt) and couldn’t put it down. John Mark illustrates this slower pace we should follow by talking about Jesus and specifically Matthew 11:28–30. If any part of you feels like you’ve been living at a where you’re missing time and connection with Jesus, this is the book with you.

“Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to.”

4 – A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt

While this may be seen as more of a “business” book, it’s all about this hurried and busy pace of life. My favorite story in the book was about building a fire while camping. Funt illustrates that can have everything you need to light a fire but without space that allows air in, it will never burn. She gives very specific ways to apply this “minute to think” to our lives, and especially our work.

“Like the value system of more, the thieves operate according to a psychological construct called the “hedonic treadmill,” which states, “Whatever we have, we will adapt to it, and soon we will want more.” The hedonic treadmill, sometimes referred to as hedonic adaptation, is our tendency to reset our level of contentment after each advance. As we achieve more (drive), finesse more (excellence), know more (information), and do more (activity), we get used to each new plateau and quickly feel it’s a little unexciting. Whenever we get where we think we are going, the finish line moves.”

5 – Space Devotional by Manda Carpenter

I read this devotional in January of 2023 to start of my year of “Space“. This month long devotional touches on the various aspects of space and how beneficial it is to our finances, our relationships, our homes, our work, and our hearts. Very approachable and easy to read, this devotional can help you rethink what space is and what it means.

“The root of our sinful nature tells us over and over that something other than Jesus will satisfy. It’s just not true.”

6 – When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley

Ley explores how to make space for slow, simple and good things in life. She touches on each of the below topics and gives very practical ways to move away from the less and toward the more of life.

  • Less Noise, More Calm
  • Less Fake, More Real
  • Less Rush, More Rhythm
  • Less Liking, More Loving
  • Less Distraction, More Connection
  • Less Chasing, More Cherishing
  • Less Stuff, More Treasures

“This is the paradox of everyday empty: a life filled to capacity with commitments, possessions, communications, and connections that is deceivingly full but soulfully and spiritually empty.”

7 – To Hell with the Hustle by Jefferson Bethke

I hope you’re starting to see a theme here. We are not meant to live in a “hustle culture” and move at the pace we are with more stuff, busier schedules, and a constant hurry. Jefferson shares how to set boundaries, how to embrace solitude and silence, how to handle stress, and be okay with being in the shadows instead of the limelight.

“Only when we truly know rest and celebration can we know how to work and enjoy it. We work from rest, not to get rest.”

8 – Undistracted by Bob Goff

I shared a favorite lesson about catching the butterflies from Goff’s book here but there were many other stories I enjoyed as well. Goff does an excellent job weaving stories from his life through this lesson of being undistracted.

“That’s how I know I’m living an undistracted life: when I’m joyfully, abundantly, and unreasonably available to the people around me.”

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