Book Thoughts: Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission: 5 Steps to Winning the War Within was a 2012 Catholic book by John R. Wood. This was one of the many books I received from my parish for free. Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission was one of the better ones. I liked a lot of what it had to say. John R. Wood used the terminology of fighting a battle to help explain the concepts. In the first two chapters, he explained the situation. What is going on? Why is it happening? Where do I fit in? The third chapter was a call for the reader to conquer their bad habits and addictions. The fourth chapter was about using all the tools we have to defend ourselves from the Enemy. In the fifth chapter, he explained how to fight back against Satan both internally and in the world.

The overall goal of Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission was to teach the reader how to be a saint. The first five chapters ended with one step of the mission to become a saint. The last chapter wrapped up the first five chapters in a nice summary, coaching and motivating the reader to get started on their journey to sainthood. I appreciated the length of this book. The other books I have received for free have been pretty short, but this one had some depth to it. I really enjoyed all the examples John Wood gave from his own life to back up his points. My favorite chapter was the 4th chapter about how to defend against Satan. I loved how he used the concept of a highway to describe all the tools we have at our disposal for our protection.

There were many good ideas and words of wisdom in Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission. I will probably compile that stuff on this site one day, but the one thing I really learned while reading this book was that I have a lot of jealousy towards others. It used to be that I was jealous of others’ wealth. Now my big source of jealousy is the good health of other people. I was really jealous reading about John R. Wood’s life and seeing all the big accomplishments he’s made. Despite being a similar age I don’t have any accomplishments in my life. It’s all because of my health.

The longer I live the more little health problems I seem to develop. Individually, each of them is just an annoyance, but all combined they really prevent me from doing everything I would like. I usually have one or two good days a week when I feel great and ready to go out into the world. Then reality comes crashing down, and I am feeling bad again. I always feel held back by my health problems, so they really make me jealous of healthy people.

It is not right to be jealous of the good things in others though. Instead, I am doing my best to transform any jealous thoughts I get into positive thoughts. In this case, I turned to gratitude for all the good things John R. Wood has done. I’m sure he is an inspiration to a lot of people. I want him to continue all the good he is doing and reach even more people with his work. I also spent some time looking at some good things I can do no matter how I am feeling. I may not be able to go out into the world and impact so many people like John R. Wood has, but there are a few things I can do.

I have thought about what I can do for a while. I call it my holy work. The simplest thing is praying for others. Since I’m home a lot of time, I have that much more time to pray for others. There is always someone in need of prayer. Since my health problems cause me a lot of suffering, I also can offer up a lot more than the average person. I don’t know how it helps others, but it does somehow. I am constantly asking God to make use of my suffering to help others. I have this website where I can write my thoughts about the faith that might help someone someday. I also have a few other ideas I haven’t started yet.

I feel happy doing what I can, but I hope I can become holy enough to lose this envy. In terms of this book, I am working on the mission of chapter 3, trying to conquer my habit of jealousy and envy towards the good health of others. I won’t be able to go to heaven until I love everyone perfectly as God does. I have made some progress, but there is still a long ways to go.


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