I love to buy books and I’m not even that picky about them being a physical copy or a digital copy. I love buying all of them. And, of course, I love to read.
Like many others, I make a list of books that I would like to read each year. I see what others are reading, what new books are coming out, and I add those to my list as well. Then I begin to calculate how long it will take me read those books if I read 10 pages a day, or 15, or 20. Can I read 2 books a month or can I squeeze in 3? And then I set to work.
This year was no different. I selected my books, I set my schedule and the race began. All of a sudden, and out of the blue, I woke up one morning with no desire to read. No only did I not want to read, I didn’t want to look at my books, I didn’t even want to talk about them.
What in the world happened? I’m not sure, but I think I burnt myself out. I believe this happened because I was going about reading the wrong way.
It no longer became about learning and being changed by the message these authors had for me. Instead it simply became about getting through one book so I can move on to the next. I enjoyed most of them and I did learn from from many, but much of the message did not stick.
So, if you find yourself racing to keep up with all the books on your reading list here is some advice to keep yourself from burning out.
1. Don’t Stop Reading
Reading is really important. God has gifted some people throughout the ages with the ability to simply and eloquently explain different parts of the Christian life. Some are great at helping us understand our roles as mothers or wives, others help us understand the importance of being in the word, and some are able to explain the person and work of Christ in such a way that help us love Him more.
In order to benefit from these authors we must read. Never think that we don’t need the help of others in our walk as Christians. Don’t give up on reading.
“He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves
that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.” – Spurgeon
2. Walk Don’t Run
I found myself flying through my books. I had made deadlines for myself that I had to keep. But when you read too fast or too much at one time you miss out on the beauty of words and the encouragement the author wants to give you. You will remember very little, if anything, and in the end you will have wasted precious time. Instead, slow down. Forget about reading 30 books in one year. Pick a good book and walk with the author through their thoughts and ideas. Underline, highlight, take notes, in short, study what you are reading so when you are done you know that book very well.
“Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you.
Read and reread them…digest them. – Spurgeon
3. Live in the Bible
It is very easy to replace reading the Bible with reading other books. Either we feel that we have become very familiar with what the Bible says and so we get bored. Other times we don’t want to put in the effort it takes to work through a difficult or confusing passage. And so we turn to books. But books written by men are not living and active like the word of God. They cannot pearce heart and soul (Heb. 4:12). They can encourage and teach us, but only the Bible can change us in the deepest way.
If your time is limited then always chose the Bible first, the reward is greater than any book ever written by man.
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” – Spurgeon