Have any of you gotten any taller lately? I'm willing to bet most of us quit growing physically long ago. And yes, I'm talking height, not width :) We may be well past our growth spurt years when it comes to inches, but continuing with the growth theme from my last post, isn't it exciting to know that personal growth is always within our grasp through something as simple as reading?
Reading allows us to expand our vocabularies, continually gain new information, change our thoughts and beliefs, and envision places we've never been before and may never get to see in person. Just a few minutes ago, in fact, I was surveying the landscape around Mount St. Helens. No, I wasn't watching tv or looking at photos -- I was reading.
In the past couple of years, I've learned how important it is for writers to read widely. Through reading, we can learn much about the craft of writing. Much of my reading had been magazine or Bible and devotional reading, but now I'm trying to read as many books as I can in addition to my other reading. I find I can't read much of anything anymore without thinking about how it was written. I'm sure other writers know exactly what I mean.
Even more amazing than how reading can affect our minds is how it can bring change to our hearts. Yes, the written word helps bring us to faith and helps us grow spiritually. Whether it's through books, magazines, web content, or even blogs, reading can help us grow closer to the Lord and be encouraged in living out our faith.
Of course, the most powerful and life-changing book for spiritual growth is the Bible. At one point, after Moses spoke many words (which eventually went on to become part of the Bible), he told the people of Israel, "They are not just idle words for you -- they are your life..." (Deuteronomy 32:47a). In the New Testament we are told that "the word of God is living and active...it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) It follows that reading the Word will change our hearts, will change our very lives.
Let's make 2009 a year of growth, a year of change, through reading. Last week I finished reading True Light, the third in a fiction series by Terri Blackstock. This week I'm reading Donald Miller's non-fiction book of essays, Searching For God Knows What. In my Bible, I'm just about to finish the book of Jeremiah and am anxious to get started on the gospels. For some reason, recently God has pointed me time and again to read about the life of Jesus. I've read the gospels many times before but am confident that God will remind me of things I've forgotten or show me things I've never noticed before. After all, we know the word of God is living and active!
What about you? I'd love to hear what you've been reading --in the Word or just books in general. Give me your wish list, too. What would you like to read this year? Ready, set, go! Or should I say "grow"?!
*Flickr photo by >>Zitona<<