Before I was really trying to live my life for God, I found secular series of books that I enjoyed. I was careful not to read books that were too promiscuous or trashy, but they definitely were not godly books. Then as God started to nudge me, and I became more focused on Him, I switched to reading Christian romance. My now deceased grandmother provided a steady stream of these enjoyable, “light reading” books. Before I finished one, she would have another one waiting for me. Yes, they were a little sappy at times, but actually quite fun for me to read.
I continued on, enjoying my time to relax and zone out from life. But as we all know, God likes to keep working on us, and that He did. As my relationship and focus continued to turn more toward God, I noticed that these fun, “Christian” romance novels tended to focus more on the romance, than the Christian. Many times they would create a perfect world, with perfect romances, and perfect endings. Although light-hearted stories can be enjoyable, it can easily cause us to feel disillusioned with our imperfect life and self.
I, also, began to see that while I was blissful reading fiction, my time to read God’s Word had greatly diminished. When I did seem to have a few “extra” minutes to read, like when nursing a little one, I didn’t reach for the Bible, but rather for my novels. Instead of spending time learning about God and the life He calls us to lead, I was continuously dwelling in fantasy land.
Not only was this time I could be investing in my faith, it set the example to my children that “What Mom really wants to read are fiction books.” This is not in any way to say that all fiction reading is bad, but that by becoming engrossed in it, and turning daily to my pleasure reading, I was not sending the right message.
If I’m not reading the Bible, or tending to my daily tasks, I know that my children could greatly use this time, just relaxing with mom. Reading with them, playing a game, or just having fun together is way more important.
When I felt God guiding me away from so much fiction reading, I started off by gathering my books and sticking them on a high shelf. I rationalized that if for some reason I got sick, or something, I might actually need this plethora of books. Hmm. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was my way of “holding on” to something I wasn’t quite ready to fully trust God on.
Thankfully, God kept working on me, and I have now managed to purge my excessive fiction books. No longer do I feel the need to read my day away. When I have a few minutes and want to read, I can spend that time much more wisely reading the Bible, or even an informational or inspiring book to help me in my journey. Every once in a while I will pick a fiction book to read, but only one, and not back to back. I know that this has been a weakness for me, and I don’t want to fall back into my old pattern.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11