My War with Reading

The title might be a touch dramatic. 😉 However, reading fiction (or even reading for enjoyment) has been a major challenge for me in the last few years.

Most of the time when I kick back guilt-free with a book it’s non-fiction and on a topic geared towards personal growth and development.

#nerdalert! 😂

But I want to read more for enjoyment, especially fiction books in genres I used to devour.

I dug into some of my mindsets to discover the “why” behind my internal warring against reading for enjoyment.

This, of course, led to many conversations with the Lord. In unpacking those mindsets and emotions, I realized most of my pre-redemption reading tendencies had been for escapism rather than general enjoyment.

Which isn’t uncommon for many individuals. Especially those who battle with anxiety and depression.

So, since I’d been freed from such afflictions, I no longer had the burning need to escape. Thus inserts a different problem.

I’d replaced my need to escape with an overwhelming desire for increased productivity and to be an excellent steward of my time. [Emphasis on excellent.]

I’m still tearing down perfectionism mindsets. Some of which had been connected to controlling my schedule with such rigidness that I hadn’t been living.

Insert the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I’m forever grateful for all the times the Holy Spirit checked me to then redirect me.

I have so many good intentions regarding what it means to live a godly life or to dwell in righteousness.

But all my attempts pale in comparison to what could be achieved if I surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to lead.

Because the fact of the matter is …

I’m on this earth to do more than be a workhorse. Life–true, abundant life in Christ–isn’t all about striving and laboring.

It’s also about dwelling and resting.

Aka, balance.

The kind of balance that could only be obtained (and sustained) while being in a place of oneness with Jesus and in turn, the Holy Spirit.

Many people struggle with such concepts because they haven’t addressed their underlying need for control.

While overthrowing control is a topic for another day, I will share that holding on too tightly to our lives (which don’t belong to us to begin with (1 Corinthians 6:20)) will lead to misery and emotional decay.

[Trust me, I’ve been there, and it would’ve kept me bound in destruction had Christ not stepped to redeem me.]

So what does all this have to do with being at war with reading?

Because I want to redefine why I read.

Before it had been to escape reality. To put my head in the sand and either ignore the pain and heartache or claim a fictional life as my own. All unhealthy paths that are never for my good!

Now, I’m on a mission to discover the joy of reading based on the love of story. Enjoying adventures, dynamic characters, and uncharted worlds, all to genuinely adore the art of story.

My strategies for winning

First, continuing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit regarding a well-balanced life. To enjoy life, the abundant life Christ talks about, is to dwell wholly with Him.

As long as I’m walking hand-in-hand with Him, I’ll have greater chances of organizing my calendar well. Meaning: not only being productive in business but also in other areas of life.

I’ve run several trial-and-error routines–NOT to find the “perfect” schedule. I don’t believe one exists.

Our lives are in constant flux; therefore, our habits and routines should be established based on the seasons of life we’re in rather than constantly chasing the quick fixes we conceive will resolve all our dilemmas.

The more I learn about how I operate, the better I’m able to construct my days that pair well with this season of life, my energy levels, current time constraints, etc.

Thanks to these trial runs, I have had the most productive first quarter I’ve ever had!

[Seriously! I cannot thank God enough for all the wonder He has done in my life. Jesus won’t just stop at saving your soul. He will redeem every area of your life if you’ll let Him!!]

The second strategy connects to the fruit of my lessons regarding scheduling. In certain settings, I reach for my phone for absolutely no viable reason.

Those times, those settings, are the perfect opportunity to read a book instead.

Granted, I won’t always be reading in those scenarios, because those specific cases will also be used to tackle a few other categories, such as catching up on podcasts, listening to audiobooks, or learning a new language.

All things I want to do but never give myself the permission to enjoy.

Another strategy is to reread already well-loved stories. [Or tackle the unread books wasting away on my shelves that’ve been there for YEARS.]

A couple of my auto-buy authors have new books releasing this year, so that will be a fun treat to look forward to.

I might even write reviews in the future

The goal of winning this whole war with myself is to arrive at a place where life is more about living rather than merely existing.

That could arguably connect to the concept of slowing down instead of feeding into the hustle culture. But let’s not open that can of worms here.

I haven’t quite decided to write reviews, but I’m weighing the possibilities.

Here are some of the books I plan to read (or reread) this quarter:

Are any of these on your reading list too?

stack of books next to a glass cup containing a flower

February 22, 2024

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