If you were to ask me to name my weakness I would have to answer, without hesitation, “reading.” (Well, there is my penchant for all things sugary, but that’s fodder for another post.) Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the act of reading in and of itself, but without discipline I’d be willing to curl up with a book on a regular basis and forget everything else.
Seriously, everything else.
Forget sleep. Sleep can wait until the last page is turned. Bathroom breaks? Who needs ‘em? I can pee and read at the same time. I’ve even cooked more than a few meals with my nose in a good book.
During the summer months, with the freedom of no homeschool obligations, I’ve been known to finish a novel in 24 hours while somehow managing to cook three meals, clean up after said meals, keep the house in order (for the most part), and take care of my family. Of course, sleep has no place in the picture and regret always comes into play the next day when I can barely keep my eyes open, but at the time it always seems worth it.
When it comes to reading, I’ve always struggled to find balance. So, what’s a girl to do? Give up her all-time favorite pastime in the whole world? I’d rather not, thank you very much.
Instead, I’ve chosen to incorporate some boundaries. By practicing self-control as the scriptures admonish over and over again I’m able to embrace the bookworm in me.
Here are my self-imposed guidelines:
- God first. My relationship with God has to be first. If I haven’t taken some time to read God’s word or spend time in conversation with Him on any given day, then I don’t pick up any other book. Period. I will not allow myself the “dessert” of a recreational book if I don’t take the time to ingest the “meat and potatoes” of God’s truth.
- Family/home obligations second. Of course, the kids will be supervised, fed, and taught before I pick up a book. But, things can get a little hairy when it comes to choosing between folding the clothes in the laundry basket and reading a deliciously delightful book. Without my boundaries, I’d choose the book every time. Setting a goal of finishing specific chores before reading makes a huge difference in how much I get done.
- Content. If I’m going to invest my time in a book I only choose books that promote Christian values. This is a personal conviction; I’m not implying that the Bible says, “Thou shalt read Christian-fiction and Christian-fiction only shalt thou read.” But the Bible does give a pretty good check list of where our thoughts should be:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
It’s much easier for me to think pure and praiseworthy thoughts if I’m not reading the gritty details of someone’s affair or the gruesome description of a murder, etc. Thankfully, there are tons of excellent Christian-fiction books out there.
Bottom line? A few simple restrictions equals a whole lotta balance!
Are there areas in your life where you’ve had to set boundaries? Feel free to share your thoughts. As always, we’d love to hear from you!
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