In 2018, my New Year's resolution was to read one Christian book per month for the year. I read fourteen books in about nine months. People often think I love to read or reading is my hobby, but that is not the case. Honestly, I hate reading, I am the type of person who watches the movie instead of reading the book (e.g. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). However, I have learned that you do not need to love reading to enjoy reading, you just need the appropriate tools to implement. My goal and accomplishment in 2018 is not to brag or boast, but to prove that you can read more than one book a year and enjoy it! The lessons you learn through books and the valuable insight the author shares can transform you. Here are 5 tips on how to enjoy reading.
1. Set your mind on reading.
The mind is very powerful. I told myself at the end of 2017 that I was going to read one book per month in 2018 to become wiser and grow my relationship with God. Then, I took each month one book at a time instead of dwelling on the idea of having to read twelve books in twelve months. I told myself "Today, I will start this book and read as much I can". Now I did not read a certain number of pages or set a strict goal, I let my mind and heart determine how much I read. Meaning one day I would read a full chapter or even more than a chapter, another day I would read just a couple of pages, another day I would read a few paragraphs, and some days I would not read. It did not matter how much I read, it matters how much I enjoyed reading and more importantly, that my mind was focused and learning. Don't beat yourself up or feel upset if you miss a day or even a week of reading, you can pick it back up when you are ready. However, do not let yourself or your mind talk you out of reading, be strong and have a determined mindset to grow your relationship with God.
2. Find an author or topic that connects with you.
This is very important. The author and/or topic make the book! I already knew some of the authors I wanted to buy from as they speak the truth, I know I can trust what they say, and that they are saying things accurately and wisely. My first book was Dr. David Jeremiah's "31 Days to Happiness". Immediately after starting that book, I noticed that I enjoyed Dr. David Jeremiah's style, as it did not "feel" like reading or work to me. His style made reading seem like I was watching a movie. He writes very personable as if he is talking only to you, it is very clear, easy to follow, understandable, and he gives real-life stories in each chapter to make a point. I greatly enjoyed the real stories he would discuss in each chapter, they would paint a picture for me and set up the point or stage for the lesson I needed to learn. After reading another author I found my style. I enjoy personal, factual story-telling, down-to-earth, clear, precise, easy to understand, and wise biblical teaching. Now, I am always eager to read any book written by Dr. David Jeremiah. Of course, there are other authors I enjoy: Priscilla Shirer, Billy Graham, Tony Evans, the Kendrick brothers, and Max Lucado, just to name a few.
3. Three weeks make it a habit.
Have you ever heard the saying "if you do anything for three weeks it will become a habit"? Well, the point of this is, if you get into a routine, it becomes easier over time. One note on this though, the devil does not want you to grow or strengthen your relationship with God, so reading Christian books will be difficult sometimes, and excuses can creep into your mind, but don't let them! Put your relationship with God first. Take it one day at a time, focusing only on today and leave tomorrow to God. Make time during the day to read, even if it is just one paragraph, and continue that each day taking it step by step till you get into a routine. It is worth it!
As we know, prayer should never be our last resort, and prayer is very powerful. Therefore, if you are having difficulties, or dreading reading, then pray for God to help you, for God to place a desire in your heart, and a disciplined nature in your mind to read. Pray for a passion to grow your relationship with God. He wants that more than anything, so He will help you if you just ask and seek Him!
5. Start Reading
You have told your mind it's time to read, you have found a book you're interested in, you have determined and planned out the time you will read, and you have prayed to God to help you, now what? Grab your book, make sure there are no distractions so your mind and heart can be open and concentrate on what you are reading, make some tea or coffee, draw a warm bath, read out loud if that helps you understand and focus better, underline, highlight, journal, take notes, and share what you are learning with others.
Enjoy reading! Enjoy your time with God! Enjoy your growing relationship! And if you want, share with me how your reading is going, or what you are learning. I would love to hear from you!