I have a problem. In fact, my husband and I BOTH have a problem.
The problem is this: our reading lists have grown so long that I don’t know if we will ever catch up. I have, in fact, proposed early retirement in order to devote more intentional time to reading- since there is no end to our list. The annoying thing about reading is that there’s always a new book, and there’s always a new author, so our lists are constantly growing. [When we got married, my husband actually was actually giddy when he learned about a Crutchfield Family Christmas tradition: books on Christmas Eve. The origin story of that tradition will have to be for another time!] My sweet husband has reminded me that if I wished to retire and devote my days to reading, I should have married someone in the medical, law, or financial vocations. But that’s not what I did. I married a man pursing God’s calling on his life (a 2nd masters and the mission field) and 30k deep in debt. [To be clear– I made the right choice.]
Since it seems to be me vs. the hourglass, I am a chronic over-estimator of how fast I will read. I have an annoying habit of checking out multiple Kindle books from my local library, and then I am forced to keep my Kidle on airplane mode for months as I fail to even begin a new book, because I am crippled by the fear that it won’t be as enjoyable as the last book I read. You don’t have to tell how ridiculous that is, believe me, I know.
My mother is a oxymoron to me; I am truly befuddled by a simple fact of her personality. She is both a do-er (I don’t know if she has ever sat through a movie without multitasking and working on a project), and reads more books than anyone else I know. I consider myself a do-er… but as soon as I sit down with a book, I am shocked and awed by how filthy my house is. How can I possibly engage in a relaxing activity, such as reading, when there is a tissue on the floor RIGHT NEXT TO THE GARBAGE CAN, but not actually IN the garbage can, because my husband and I have a perpetual game of basketball going on in our living room, but we are both miserable players when said “ball” is actually a loosely crumpled tissue?!?!?!
The thing is this: I have convinced myself that reading is being lazy. (Please, dad, don’t disown me.) I have allowed myself to choose less stimulating entertainment (lookin’ at you, Netflix) and convinced myself that reading can be “too much work” or isn’t “time effecient” because I can’t read AND do something else. I’ve relied on Podcasts and Netflix for too long! [I picture this to be a inspiring speech, but since it’s just all 5′ 1 3/5″ (ever bit counts) of me standing up from my desk in our study….it’s… just… not.]
In all seriousness, I decided I had a problem with reading when I realized that my habit of not reading was impacting my spiritual life. Here’s an obvious thing: God did not make a podcast. He did not make an original Hulu series (though if you’re looking for one, The Mindy Project is my choice). He gave us His Word, comprised of 66 books. Since I’m pointing out the obvious, I shall continue by saying BEING IN GOD’S WORD REQUIRES READING. As I pondered this (truth ad conviction) and the strong shift in my entertainment, I decided that I needed to make some radical shifts. I think most cleanses are utter poppycock (guys isn’t that what our kidneys and liver are for?), but I do think “boot camps” can be helpful. Thus, my Bible Bootcamp was born. My mission (sorry, Josh finally got me to watch Star Trek and now Jean-Luc Picard narrates my life): to read through the entire Bible in 6-8 weeks. Why 6-8 weeks? Because that’s how long of a break I have from work. I now have the BEST job in the world, and I am a nanny! I watch 2 boys (5 and 2 years old), and a sweet little girl is about to join the family! So while momma is on maternity leave, I some free time- and I want to be intentional with it.
I’m not following a reading plan, I am making it up as I go along. As I write this, I haven’t actually told anyone about this plan, because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’ve been spending a lot of time considering what failure would mean in this scenario, and I don’t think failing to finish the reading by the time I go back to work would be “failure.” While I was in college, we had a frequent guest speaker, and every time he spoke, he said “We don’t read the Bible to finish, we read the Bible to change.”
My mom always asks “What’s the goal?” So here it is: the goal is to put myself through a Bible Bootcamp for the purpose of change. I want to change my mentality not only about reading, but about reading God’s Word. I want to be marked as a woman that treasures God’s Word, and frankly my life is not reflecting that I AM that woman right now.
Hopefully I’ll have a follow up post with details about how it went, and ways I’ve changed… even if I don’t “finish.”