A Summer Slow Down Reading List

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Resources

Summer is a great time to relax some of your normal rhythms and look for space to rest and recuperate from the rush of spring and fall. In my mind that makes summer a great time to learn more about how to weave rest and restoration practices into your daily life, so that the next fall and spring aren’t as crazy as the last one (or, at least, I’m not as crazy). Below are a couple recommendations in that vein that might make for edifying alternatives to your typical beach read.

And I’ll put this here for liability reasons: a book recommendation is not an endorsement of everything these authors have ever said or done. 

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

Though not his first book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry was John Mark Comer’s breakout work, likely because it struck such a nerve among Western Christians living at what often feels like breakneck speed. Consider this book a solid primer on the whole topic of slowing down, living more intentionally, and purposefully connecting with God and others. Also, just to set expectations, Comer writes in a distinctly pop-culture sort of voice, but it’s equal parts silly and endearing. I listened to this book for free through the Libby app.

Try Softer by Aundi Kolber

I asked Annika, my wife, for some recommendations to add to this list and she mentioned both Try Softer and Strong Like Water by therapist Aundi Kolber. Try Softer is on this list because Kolber does such a good job of walking readers through how they can engage with some of the origins of hurry, anxiety, and overextension. She’ll give you tools to actually make good on your desires to slow down while also helping you integrate your mental and emotional health in that effort.

You’re Only Human by Kelly Kapic.

To be transparent, I’m part-way through You’re Only Human as of this writing, but thus far it’s been great. The book is all about how our limits are a good gift from God that we mostly want nothing to do with. We all wish we could do more, accomplish more, enjoy more, experience more, angling to somehow transcend these dull, time-stuck and responsibility-laden human lives we live. Kapic goes hard after the ways we miss the mark on things like humility, time-oriented-ness, identity, church life, etc. One caveat: he’s a college professor so sometimes he gets a little heady, but for the most part it serves the topic rather than obscuring it.

Habits of the Household by Justin Earley.

This might not sound like a book geared towards slowing down but it for sure is. Earley builds on his earlier (Earleyer?) book, The Common Rule, and applies some of the same principles to family life, addressing how to clear out the clutter of life and backfill (at slightly decreased volume) with intentional practices that increase devotion to God and connection with one another. The book is chock-full of practical tips without making you feel like you now have a new set of 1000 things to add to your to-do list. Annika and I both read this, which was helpful; here’s what she had to say about it: “Really loved this, it’s practical and authentic to the chaos that is family without feeling like it was trying too hard. Also really appreciated the mindset of how our everyday life is what shapes us.”