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This mama needs to read. I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling of not feeling like they have time to read. For me, reading can sometimes feel indulgent. The act of just sitting down to read a book that is just for enjoyment can sometimes feel too much like vacation mode. Isn’t it interesting that it is totally fine to read a book for fun on vacation, but when it comes to every day life it feels harder to justify? This is definitely true for me! It is much easier for me to read a book that feels more practical, like a book on sleep training your baby or a book on church, but those fun memoirs and fiction books feel like the books I need to wait for until I am on vacation. I have a feeling this is not just me. I think especially as women, we can feel guilty for taking the time to do the things that fill us up when we know there is plenty of things that need to be done. I am writing this because my own heart needs to hear it! This is such a lie and we need to take the time to just sit and read a book that is just for fun. It does not always need to be a practical one or one that is very heavy on theology. In the past month I have been learning to fall back in love with the act of reading just to read. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I used to adore reading. I would stay up past my bed time, reading with my little reading lamp under the covers. Reading was my thing and it was something I actively thought about during my day. I looked forward to time alone with a good book. Since then, life has changed quite a bit. I am much more tired than I used to be. My mind is much more busy and anxious. My to-do list much longer and more complicated. A lot has changed, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is my desire and love for words. For a while, I have ignored it, only picking up books when I had to. I was really only reading the books we were studying in the classes I taught. Who has time to read books for pure pleasure? Not me! I am busy! I have more important things to do. This was my false logic at the time. I did not realize that by denying this desire to read that has always been there, I was really missing out on something that helps calm my spirit and gives me clarity and creativity. It was not until this new year that I finally began to really read again. Since then, I have finished three books that were purely for fun. How did I do it? I deleted Instagram. I truly believe this one act has allowed me to get so much more reading done. Now, instead of constantly checking my phone, I am opening up pages. This act is such a small difference, but it has completely shifted my mindset and perspective. Instead of mindlessly scrolling and feeling jealous and comparative as I see the pretty lives of others, I am giving my mind rejuvenation as I fill it with inspiring stories and words. I almost always walked away from Instragram feeling down, but when I put down my book, I feel calm and rested and productive. It is a small change, but it really is changing a lot for me. For some, Instagram and social media is not an issue, but for me it absolutely is. I cannot handle it well. I over-consume it. For me, it is better to just have it deleted. For some, books are not the things that fill them up and give them rest, but whatever that act is, I think it is so important to identify that for you and replace it with whatever is tearing you down.
Reading is becoming even more important with a little one in our home. I know how quickly kids learn to imitate others and I want to do my very best to model being more interested in words and stories found in books, rather than the stories my friends post on social media. I think one of the best ways to show this to him is by reading as much as we can together. Even in these early months, I have enjoyed reading books with Hudson. When was the last time you read a children’s book? Or The Jesus Storybook Bible? Even if you don’t have kids, you should really pick one up. It is amazing how much I learn in children’s books and how touched I am by them. They get at my heart in a way that adult books don’t. One of our favorite books to read is a Veggie Tales Book called, God Made You Special. I so resonate with the pages in that book. Especially the ones on feeling down and not liking a certain trait of oneself. This is me basically every day. Recently, I have been faced with really questioning God as to why he made my personality so shy and unsure at times. For as long as I can remember, I have always been one of the quieter ones in the room. I still get nervous to share in group settings. My heart races when I feel like everyone is looking at me. I over think before saying a word that by the time I do speak, my words are fragmented and shaky. I have recently been wondering why God made me this way. I often look at other people that do not struggle in this area. I admire their confidence, boldness and outgoing nature. It is so easy to wish we were made differently. I know I do. But this book, this book for children reminds me the truth that my heart so desperately needs to hear: God made you special. My point in sharing this is to point to the fact that you don’t need to be reading Shakespeare or Hemingway or Austen to be deeply moved. Sometimes all it takes is some Veggie Tales. If you are anything like me, you could use less screens and more pages and words and chapters. So, instead of thinking of it as an indulgent act that you will do if there is time, I would suggest pausing and taking the time to pick up a good book right now. The dishes can wait. Reading is more important.