When I was a kid, books were my favorite things in the world. As a pre-teen, they became my obsession. One of the worst punishments of my life was when my mom took away my books for a day. I was an avid, voracious reader, my Kindle attached at the hip.
But then I entered high school. Then college. Then I graduated. And I still adored books. But suddenly I found I had less time than ever to read. My schedule was getting swallowed up by a number of overwhelming and serious responsibilities—school, work, family time, church, friendships.
And I realized that I was reading less books than ever before. (Can anybody relate?)
But this was also when I realized . . . that needed to change.
Here’s the thing: Reading is not always easy and not always especially fun. When you’re tired, busy, or bored, Netflix seems like the better option.
Reading is vital to the thinking, growing, maturing Christian young woman.
But reading is vital to the thinking, growing, maturing Christian young woman. The Bible should always be our firm foundation (our favorite, most-read and loved book). Yet reading other books is necessary, too. They help us apply God’s Word and see His truth in stories. They are a terrific tool and gift God has given us to engage in His world and grow in wisdom.
So for all the other girls out there who need some motivation to read more books in 2018, here are ten reasons to turn off Netflix, stop making excuses, and start reading (something) today.
Why You Should Start Reading More
- Reading introduces you to new ideas. Fiction and non-fiction both transmit worldviews and champion ideas. Every book in existence is about ideas. Some are lovely, some mind-blowing, some bitterly false, some evil, some life-giving. But you will never know and grow if you do not read.
- Reading introduces you to new friends. Whether it’s the author or characters, there is a unique parasocial bond created through books. You feel like you know these people, like the imaginary ones exist and like the real ones are now your friends. There is tremendous joy to be found in reading about people you care for.
- Books make you smarter than Netflix. Books are not easier than Netflix. You need to think to read, need to stretch your mind and invigorate those brain cells. Netflix only requires a couple of clicks. You can just “turn off your brain.” But is that what we really want? Is that making us more intelligent, thoughtful beings? Sure, Netflix in moderation is okay (I’m actually a big fan!), but are you sacrificing significant reading time for it?
- Books just make you smarter in general. On a wide scale, books increase your intelligence. They expand your vocabulary, invite you to understand new concepts, shift your paradigms, and help you to become a generally more well-educated individual.
- Reading makes you a more critical thinker. If you read, you will inevitably encounter ideas and worldviews you disagree with. Engage with that conflict. Think more deeply about what you believe and why you believe it. Analyze reasoning. Be discerning (1 John 4:1).
- Reading makes you feel things. Emotions are not inherently bad. Feeling grief, joy, humor, or delight through books is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a beautiful side effect of being invested in literature.
- Reading makes you more empathetic. Books act like a bridge between you and people who are different from you. They help you embrace empathy instead of fear or hostility. It’s because of God’s work through books that I’ve grown more empathetic to people who face different struggles and circumstances than me.
- Reading increases your wonder. God has made a spectacular world. It is creeping and crawling with a trillion wonders, both big and small. And books open our eyes to these mercies and magic. God is a wonderful Creator and a good Gift-Giver. As our wonder increases, so should our gratitude (1 Thess. 5:18).
- Reading makes you rest. In such a frenetically-paced world, we are always moving, going, doing. We live at hyper-speed. Books remind us of our finite limitations and force us to slow down and stop. You can’t read a book and write an essay or practice the piano at the same time. You must devote your full attention to reading. You must pause and rest.
- Reading makes you a better Christian. Even if you’re not reading the Bible, you are applying your Christian worldview—your beliefs in sin and redemption and restoration—to what you read. You are developing spiritual muscles. You are reading books that make you a more thoughtful individual, a more mindful person of the world God has created. Anything we do for the glory of God makes us better Christians (1 Cor. 10:31), including reading.
So what’s on your reading list this year?