Editors’ note: 

Also in the On My Shelf series: Russell Moore, Jared Wilson, Kathy Keller, J. D. Greear, Kevin DeYoung, Kathleen Nielson, Thabiti Anyabwile, Collin Hansen, Fred Sanders, Rosaria Butterfield, Nancy Guthrie, and Matt Chandler.

On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers. I talked with Lauren Chandler about what’s on her nightstand, what she’s learning in her walk with Jesus, and the books that have shaped her.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

by Matt Chandler [interview]. You may now pick your jaw up from the floor. When Matt and Jared Wilson finished the manuscript, I never got a chance to slow down and read it! I will say, I’ve lived most of it, and there have been few surprises. I am so proud of Matt for writing this book and grateful the Lord has let us grow in grace together. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.

Also, Decision Points by George W. Bush. This has been a delight to read as well. Former President Bush’s west Texas roots show through his winsomeness and humility. I appreciate this peek behind the curtain of pivotal moments during his administration.

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

Obedience brings joy. When Matt and I were newlyweds, a sweet young couple treated us to lunch at a restaurant in our college town. Their preschool-aged daughter was precious and so full of life. At one point during the meal, she deliberately disobeyed her parents. Matt and I sat awkwardly, feeling for the daughter but also understanding the love those parents had for her to not let her get away with it. The wife gently took her daughter to the restroom. When they returned, the mother looked into her daughter’s eyes and said, “Obedience brings . . .” The daughter finished her sentence: “joy.” That small interaction has been forever seared on my heart.

I’ve been in Genesis 2 this week and marveled at God’s great care in creating and ordering the world. Jen Wilkin points out in her study of Genesis that, from the beginning, God has been a God who separates. He separated light from darkness, the waters above from the waters below, day from night, and so on. He calls his people out from the other cultures and customs to be holy as he is holy. I am so grateful that Christ’s holiness makes me holy. I know all my righteous acts are but filthy rags in God’s presence (Isa. 64:6). Still, he calls us, as followers of Christ, to be holy. To stand in stark contrast to the surrounding culture not by wearing different clothes or shutting ourselves into communes, but by trusting he knows what’s best for us—by freely obeying him. Our culture screams, “Figure out what’s best for you and do it.” And so many in our culture are miserable. But joy? It comes from obedience. Not a white-knuckled self-righteousness, but a life surrendered to Christ. A life that says, “I trust you, God, because you made everything, you made me, and you know how to squeeze the greatest amount of joy out of life!”

What books have most profoundly shaped how you serve and lead others for the sake of the gospel?

I know I’m leaving so many out, but these have marked me, each in its own (very) different way!