Why I Stopped Reading Books....



It’s been awhile since I’ve done much reading outside of the Bible.

Every so often, I have do something like that—put aside all the books that are fresh with copyrights and whose authors are still alive and doing book tours. I have to put them aside so that I can better focus my devotions on that one Book that is as old as time but more important than any other book since.

It’s not that the books I’m apt to read are wrong or bad. They’re not. In fact they’re almost all about that one Book, anyway. But that’s the thing. While they may be about that Book, they are not that Book.

That distinction makes all the difference.

Sometimes it can be incredibly helpful and insightful and necessary to sit down with one of those books, which sheds light on what the Lord has written in his own Book. Those books help us grow closer to that Book and learn to love it like the Author always intended. Many books have done that for me.

But as helpful as those books can be, we must not forget the fact that they are not the Book. At some point, we must go to the Book itself to quench our thirsts and to inform our understandings. We can’t always take someone else’s opinion of it. We have to let the Holy Spirit be our guide, rather than another human being.

The first time I realized this was a couple years after I’d become a Christian. I was devouring these sorts of books, ordering them like candy and chewing on them each night before bed and on my lunch break. They were all Christian living titles, which helped me wrap my head around how I ought to, as a Christian, approach things like dating and politics and the environment and my tendency to stress out over the littlest of things.

They were so helpful in helping shape my understanding of how the Bible and God’s teachings fit into this crazy, chaotic world of ours.

But I realized that I was reading them to the detriment of actually reading the Book that they were all quoting from and point toward. And so, I took my first sabbatical from the books of this world and dedicated myself to reading only the Book. The only Book that can wear a capitalized “B” and you know exactly what I’m talking about. That one.

It was at a similar spot where I found myself a few months ago.

As a writer, I’m also a natural-born bibliophile. It was a love of books that was one of the first things that impressed me about the man whom I later married and who brought his own share of paged volumes into the relationship.

So, I’m easily lured to want to read more, to pick up a new book and learn from what it’s author has gleaned and experienced and written down to share with the world. I trust that there’s plenty to be found in those pages that can help me on this journey to know and love and obey this great Author who has written a story that has captured my heart.

But at some point, those books started to lose interest to me. Even as I stared at my bookshelves and saw so many spines that had yet to be read, they held no sway over me.

There were no more divided attentions. It was only the one Book that I wanted to sit down with and read, to turn to, to sit with. And so, I did.

For months, that’s how it went. And I couldn’t be happier—thrilled, really—to realize that. To know that my truest desire was to sit down with this Book rather than any other book, written by any other hand. I stand in awe, knowing truly how many times I prayed for that kind of heart and desire.

Sure there are still days when I have to make myself sit down with my Bible. There are days I’d rather be working on a craft or lounging on the couch rather than hunkered over this age-old tome. But my heart is understanding how much more I need this Book than any other, and it considers all others second to this One.

I’ve recently dipped my toes back into the reading-other-books-outside-the-Bible waters and made my way through some new books—some of which were worth the time and some of which weren’t. I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on a couple of those books later this week, but for now, it’s a reminder to me why I choose to keep my focus on that one Book, because it is the one that can never disappoint:

“But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law—the law that sets you free—and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:25)

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7 comments:

  1. So so true! I love the name of your blog by the way. God has recently put this on my heart and so I've made it a point to start my day with Bible reading before I read or do anything else. I wait for the Holy Spirit to nudge me to the book and chapter God would have me to read. My quiet time has been transformed by allowing the power of God to speak to my heart as I begin a fresh day. :)

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  2. Thank you for writing about this.. I needed it! I have been struggling to read the Book and not until recently has God slowly changed my desires and my heart to really WANT to learn and read it. I still struggle a lot, but I love those days where I just can't believe what I am reading on the page of the Book and it just seems so alive to me. I love that. I love how no other book can do that for me.

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  3. I love hearing how God is moving in your lives in much the same way as he is in mine. It's so neat to see how he connects his people like that and how we can be an encouragement to one another. So glad you both enjoyed this post!

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  4. Wow...this post definitely hits me full on. I currently have about 10 books lined up to read, some Christian, some not. And an inbox filling up with blog posts to read. I love reading my Bible but I spend less time reading it than I do other books. And even if it's good, Christian content it will never compare. How did you wean yourself off? I think I might read through my stack then give myself a break and just read the Bible for a month.

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  5. I know how you feel, Louise! I think I pretty much wrapped up the current book I was reading and then just transitioned to reading my Bible full-time. I have found that making the transition easier is to have some sort of Bible reading plan in place to direct me in my Bible reading. For example, right now I'm reading through all the Psalms. Hope that helps!

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  6. Carmen!

    LOVE this post! I believe I will be posting a link to it on my blog! YES!

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  7. Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, Clarissa. Feel free to share the link; I'd be flattered!!

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