Our theme for 2019 is “The Body.” This is explored in our studies, our podcasts, and weekly in our blog. Today’s blog is titled….
Books and The Body
Ali is currently on staff as Minister to Youth at Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, TX. She is a graduate of Meredith College and Baylor’s Truett Seminary. You can find her on a walk in her neighborhood with her husband and her Australian Shephard, Papí. Ali loves cheering on the Baylor Bears and Boston Red Sox while eating Mexican food. Her best piece of life advice is “when in doubt, drink a cup of coffee.”
Raise your hand if you loved books when you were a little kid… (I’m raising my hand)
Raise your hand if you feel like you’re too busy to read a good (non-ministry related) book… (I’m also raising my hand – waving it hysterically actually)
Raise your hand if you desperately want more time to read… (you guessed it, I’m raising my hand again)
I am confessing to y’all what might be one of my biggest regrets in life. That regret is that in college and seminary, I was so consumed with reading for information and classes that I stopped reading for fun. In the grand scheme of things, college and seminary was only 6.5 years of my life. However, in those 6.5 years, I feel that I lost a part of myself in forsaking what were once some of my best and most faithful friends; books.
About 6 months before I graduated from seminary I read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I was enthralled. It was like something was ignited in me. Had books always been this exciting and consuming? How had I forgotten that childlike magic that comes from sitting down with an amazing book and not stopping till you’ve gotten to the acknowledgement section? This is when I rekindled my relationship with my old best friend. Books.
It was like I had uncovered a part of me that I’d been missing. As I uncovered my love for fiction and non-fiction books alike, I began to hear God’s voice in new ways. I saw myself in some of the characters read about, and I recognized the significant lessons mentioned in books that often match up with many of the lessons and truths taught in our scripture. In reading fiction books about the most eclectic subjects, I encountered God and felt the Holy Spirit move in my life.
Before you write me off as a heretic – read this quote:
“We are readers. Books grace our shelves and fill our homes with beauty; they dwell in our minds and occupy our thoughts. Books prompt us to spend pleasant hours alone and connect us with fellow readers. They invite us to escape into their pages for an afternoon, and they inspire us to reimagine our lives.” – Ann Bogel, I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
I believe that sometimes we meet the Holy Spirit in a moment of escape whilst reading a new novel. I believe that our bodies deeply need to read for pleasure in a world and a profession where joy and heartache simultaneously infiltrate our lives. I believe that taking time to immerse yourself in a book can be an act of self-care, an act of radical rest, and a moment where we allow our souls to be simply our souls.
If you are one of those people who reads for fun all the time then yay, you and you definitely didn’t need to read this blog post today. But if you feel like you don’t read enough, or ever, I encourage you today to pick one up and see how you feel once you start reading. You might just encounter God in a new and unexpected way.
P.S. Run don’t walk and check out Pillars of the Earth from your local library. It is 1,000 pages but well worth every second of your time!