Book Look: Ordering Your Private World (Revised & Updated)

adult with kids reading book

When Saul became King of Israel, he enjoyed too much immediate success. It apparently made him unaware that he had any limits to his life. He spent little time pondering his need for others, engendering a relationship with God, or even facing his responsibilities toward the people over whom he ruled. The signs of a driven man began to appear.”

To the extent that we see him in ourselves, we have work to do in our private worlds. For an inner life fraught with unresolved drives will not be able to hear clearly the voice of Christ when He calls. The noise and pain of stress will be too great.”

In Ordering Your Private World, Gordon McDonald explores topics such as:

  • Stewardship vs. ownership
  • Identity
  • Knowing one’s purpose
  • When to “let go”

By contrasting the lives of John the Baptist–“he must increase and I must decrease”–and King Saul,  he shows us the difference between living called and driven.

This is not an ethereal treatment of pious practices. A successful leader, McDonald freshens up time management tips using words like budgeting and recapturing, and discusses how disappointments of the past drive the actions of the present–unless we learn to pay attention. Nor is it a dry treatise. There are plenty of biblical examples, literary allusions and personal anecdotes to hold the reader’s attention.

He advocates for an integrated, whole life approach and holds valuable work and intellectual rigor in high regard, writing about them in chapters titled “The Better Man Lost” and “The Sadness of a Book Never Read.” Having established the importance of paying attention to the inner world, the last portion of the book invites the reader into five spiritual exercises that bring order to the inner world, a private world McDonald calls “The Garden.” These are silence and solitude, singing, regularly listening to God, the experience of reflection and meditation, and prayer as worship and intercession–and in his clear, straightforward voice. It includes a study guide.

I didn’t make my way through this gem when it made its way onto my bookshelf many years ago—maybe it was the original cover… The first version released in 1984. But you can be smarter than me–read this new edition now! The author has given us wisdom as timeless as kings and queens and as current as today’s CEO’s and entrepreneurs. Illustrations have been updated but the core message remains the same: “He who orders his inner spiritual world, will make a place for God to visit and speak. And when that voice is heard, it will be unlike anything else ever spoken.”



*Disclosure: Product received from Handlebar for my honest review.