My husband is a great reader and writer. I look at how much he reads and feel a bit of intimidated. Mostly because reading informational books, even books about Jesus and/or spiritual topics are hard for me to read. I plow through them, always with the feeling that I am reading the words, yet not really getting the depth of what the author is saying. It feels so labor-some, and even overwhelming to get started sometimes.
Lately though. I have been making some lofty goals. One of them is to read 2 non-fiction books this year. That may not sound like much, but to me, it is like pledging to run a marathon, at least in my mind. I love stories, so biographies are big with me, and those are non-fiction, but that is not what I felt like I was suppose to read.
Now, so far I've already read one non-fiction book called Spiritual Warfare by Derek Prince. It was really, really thin, which was part of its appeal.
Yet seriously people! It took me over three weeks to read a 139 page book, which I might add was broken up into bite size chapters. In January I read a Christian fiction book that was 417 pages, and read it in 2.5 days. Make the comparison. I am not a fast reader when it comes to non-fiction.
It is because I stress so much about 'getting it all'. If I am going to labor through a book, it is because I want to get something out of it. I want to grasp fully the overall message of the book. I want to be able to take in the deep messages or instructions, but I'm not sure I'm actually wired like that. Sometimes I can read a whole chapter and not really know what I just read.
Yet, the Lord has been showing me something.
When I read that book about Spiritual warfare, I read it slow and tried to 'savor' it. I took the time, and tried to really 'get' it. In the end, however, I only walked away with a few little nuggets of truth that stuck out to me and really stuck with me. They were really great little truths that have revolutionized the way I relate to the Lord in a few areas of prayer.
Still, when I put the book away I felt as if I had failed somehow. I couldn't tell you all about each chapter, and I didn't know if I really understood everything I had read. Then the Lord whispered to my heart, "you got just what I wanted to show you."
I felt silly.
"Lord, you mean those two little nuggets?" I asked Him.
"Yes, that is all I wanted you to get, so don't worry about the rest."
I thought, "seriously, I just spent three weeks stressing to read through this book, when the whole point was really just those two little sections that nearly jumped off the page at me. I couldn't have missed them if I had wanted to. They (the nuggets of truth) related so exactly to questions I had already been talking to You about. Could reading non-fiction, spiritual books really be so simple Lord?"
"Oh, so I guess I don't have to stress so much about reading them, huh?"
"Nope," says the Lord to my heart, "enjoy."
Ah, yes. Joy. Well, the joy of the Lord is now my strength when reading non-fiction books. I no longer am feeling stressed about trying to 'get' or 'grasp' everything I am reading. What the Lord wants to show me in these books (books I have prayerfully listed to read this year) He is big enough to show me what I need to know out of them.
How freeing, how refreshing!
I wonder, has anyone else ever felt this way when trying to read 'heavy' books? I feel as if what I am writing about will sound like a 'duh' moment to everyone else. Then again, I have been around the church long enough to know I am nothing unique. If I am having a struggle, I am pretty sure I am not the first to have it.
I should have realized sooner that the stress I felt when reading these types of books was not from the Lord. It was a lie of the enemy, along the lines of me not being 'spiritual' enough to grasp what I was reading, or not 'focused' enough to really gain anything of value from these sources.
What a lie!
I am smart enough, I know how to focus, and I have Holy Spirit on my side, therefore I am unstoppable (when it comes to reading).
Another thing I feel like the Lord pointed out. It is all about measuring the end result for me. When I read a story I can tell you the whole story, and that is how I measure how well I did in reading the book. Yet information books are not set up that way. You measure by how much it helped you in the end. How much you learned from it, and that determines whether you successfully read it.
Those two little nuggets I got from the Prince book were worth reading the whole book for, therefore I successfully read that book, and got what I was suppose to get. How simple.
Thank you Lord for the revelation. Amen.