Busyness is an idol the world worships. Thankfully for us, as Christian women, we can live free from this heavy burden; knowing that our love and acceptance comes not from what we do – but what Jesus did for us.
One of the beautiful gifts reading give us, is the ability to focus our minds on one thing. We can put away all other thoughts, slow our fast-paced lives, and just relish the journey of turning page after page. From books, we can make new friends, be encouraged by inspirational true stories, gain more of an insight into our amazing God and what it means to live as His beloved children in a broken world. The possibilities are almost endless!RENEE EMERSON
Unlike so many other tasks we find ourselves completing these days, reading forces us to put our phones, laptops, and distractions away to focus purely on one thing. This is a treasure in a world where multi-tasking is the normal and our brains are flooded with information overload constantly!
As a homeschooling mother to four little girls, a wife and friend, and women’s ministry leader – I understand more than most the “I’d really love to read a book – but I simply don’t have the time” dilemma. The first few years of motherhood I barely touched a book, yet when God planted the dream of starting a book club in my heart, I knew it was time to change my habits and begin to make time. In the past 3 years of running my book club, we’ve read over 30 books as a group and I’ve read many more in my own time. Reading has become a way of life for me, and here are my top 5 tips for creating healthy reading habits so you can enjoy the gift of reading too;
- Choose the RIGHT books.
We live in an R-rated world. Our gaze is easily turned towards that which is wicked, instead of that which is good, pure, and worthwhile. There has never been a time when access to books has been so easy, yet the quality and content of books has never been so sinful, misleading, and destructive as it is today. We can be fooled into thinking that it is okay to consume sinful entertainment because “everyone else does!”, but I would encourage you to pause and ask yourself “Would I read this book out loud to Jesus?”.
When it comes to choosing books, the reality is that despite the infinite poor-quality books available today – there is also so much goodness to fix our eyes on, and a great place to start are books authored by Christian writers. From spiritual growth to historical fiction (and everything in-between!), there is bound to be a worthwhile and good book for you to enjoy.
Some of the things I suggest you consider while choosing books are;
- Is the book written by a Christian author?
- What kind of themes does the book explore?
- Does the book have life-giving qualities?
- Does the book have any inappropriate/offensive language, sex scenes or violence?
- Does the book contain any heresy?
- Does the book align with your values, beliefs, and theology?
(If you do not know where to start, head over to our website and check out our recommended books. All of the books recommended by Blossoming through Books are prayerfully and carefully chosen to ensure only the best quality, Christ-centered and life-giving literature is suggested.)
2. Be intentional with your time;
It’s very hard to strike the perfect balance between busy and idle, especially as Christian women who wholeheartedly desire to serve the Lord and our communities. But we must remember we cannot do everything well, sometimes we must choose to say no to good things, to be able to say yes to the right things. But what are the “right” things? The answer is simple – a balance of kingdom work, rest, and play.
Settling in for the evening with a great fiction book, a hot cuppa and a cosy blanket is a fantastic way to rest. When we connect with a life-changing spiritual growth book, we allow ourselves to rest in the truth of who God is; we connect with Him and recharge our weary and tired souls as we invite His presence into our reading and quite time.
Being intentional with our time can be as simple as choosing books over binging TV and scrolling social media. You could allocate one evening per week to reading or read a chapter of a book per day (or every other day). You can read on the train to work, or while you wait at the bus stop. I find the more intentional I am with my time – the more time I actually have! Being a home-schooling mother to four tiny humans, serving the church and the women around me, being a wife and maintaining our family home, even plain old exhaustion – are no longer barriers to my reading life. Reading became an avenue of self-care and some much-needed alone time without resorting to unhealthy “zoning out” which TV and social media tends to offer us.
3. Read MANY types of books – at once;
I used to be that person who could only read one book at a time, the idea of starting a new book when my other book was not yet finished drove me nuts! BUT over the course of the past few years, I’ve embraced the healthy habit of consuming different book genres and have found that whatever my mood – I ALWAYS have a book to read.
What types of books?
- The book you cannot live without; the Bible
- A book to help you on your Christian journey; Spiritual Growth
- A book for Rest; A great fiction book or biography
- A book for Play; A classic book or great children/young adult literature
- A book to enrich your love of the written word; Poetry
I’ll admit, this tip won’t be for everyone! But having a few different options on the go at any one time allows us to process what we’re learning and enjoy every page of the books we’re reading without become over-burdened by too much of one genre, bored or mentally exhausted.
4. Find friends to read with;
There’s nothing as frustrating as reading a fantastic book and having no one to share the experience with! Being apart of a book club can keep you accountable and on track to finish the book within a certain timeframe, as well as the benefit of having friends to unpack what you’ve read with. Join a book club (or start your own through Blossoming through Books!) and share the book joy with others around you.
5. Prioritise reading the WORD above all else;
There is no substitute for the presence of God. It’s easy to neglect the things of the Lord by allowing the more seemingly pressing tasks of the day to take over. There is a very real spiritual warfare present as the enemy tricks us into thinking other things are more important than reading our Bibles. Often, we believe the lie that rest comes from “zoning out” (watching TV, scrolling social media etc), instead of plugging into the Lord who is our source of strength and the only real way to find true rest for our souls. Most importantly we need to put aside intentional time to sit with the Word in the presence of our God, who fills up our tanks, nourishes our souls and provides for our every need. I always remind my book club sisters, that if you can only read one book for the day – make sure it’s the one that really counts; The Bible.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Cultivating a love for reading and books is not always easy, but once the habits are forming, your love for reading will become a treasure to you and fantastic way to grow closer to the Lord, to rest and recharge, to play and learn.
If you’re interested in starting your own book club, contact us as [email protected] for a welcome pack, practical advice and book lists to get started. We can help you discover the heart of a successful book club, and you’ll be amazed as the books you read change your life and the lives of those around you.