Still Growing — Through Reading!

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< <


  1. I have always been a reader. I will read just about anything I can get my hands on. In November, I decided to read the Bible in one year. I’ve done fairly well, until the last few weeks, as I have had many “things” come up, but I am not giving up. The devil WILL NOT win this war!!!!

  2. I have just finished reading Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala for the second time. It was several years ago I read it for the first time and found it just as convicting this time.

  3. (Heavy sigh.) I was just lamenting the other day that I don’t have enough time to read for pleasure any more. That needs to change.

    I did buy a couple of books the other day. That’s a step, right? ;-)

  4. Lisa, good for you and your commitment to read through the Bible this year! Hang in there — you can do it!!

    Debbie, I’ll have to add Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire to my reading list. It must be good if you’re reading it through a second time.

    Renae, if you’re like me, you may have to start trying to read in snatches here and there. I actually get a lot done like that. Good luck!

    Welcome Fernando! I don’t read your language, but it looks like you’re reading in Corinthians. God bless as you read His Word!

  5. My favorite Christian fiction authors are Tracie Peterson and Janette Oke. I read all their books, several times! :)

  6. I am reading The Genesis Seed by Jack Sheffield and next on the list is a book by Spurgeon, cannot recall the title. I am taking The Negotiator by Dee Henderson to read at the hospital. I read it a few years ago and don’t need to concentrate but want something to distract me.


  7. I am currently reading UnChristian, Essential Church, and Blue like Jazz. I did not get a chance to read much this past year so I have a pretty long book list this year.

  8. My next book choice is The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. I’ll let you know if it lives up to its hype!

  9. Thanks for stopping by at the Cafe. I read the book you mentioned “Traveling Mercies” a couple of years ago. Awesome book. My next read is “Same Kind of Different as Me.” Lots of recommendations for this book, so I’m going to see what the buzz is about.
    Happy New Year.

  10. I, too, love to read. Spending a Saturday curled up with a good book is one of the best ways to spend a cold winter afternoon.

    I read Donald Miller’s, Searching for God Knows What a few months ago. Let me know what you think about it. I read Blue Like Jazz as well. (If you can’t tell, I really like Donald Miller)…and Anne Lamott too.

    I am between books right now. I ordererd Self Talk, Soul Talk and hope to get it in the next day or two.

  11. Hey all, so many good books mentioned today. Kristin, I may have to borrow some of your Tracie Peterson and give her a try. Annette, sorry to hear that you are having to do part of your reading while at the hosptial!

    Scott & Monica, thanks for sharing comments. Always fun to have new commenters on the blog :) Scott, I really liked Blue Like Jazz. If you like it, I bet you would like Searching for God Knows What, too. Let me know if you’d like to borrow it sometime. Monica, the book you’ll be reading sounds interesting — yes, let me know what you end up thinking about it.

    Carla, Same Kind of Different As Me is on my list, too :) Kelli, sounds like we like some of the same authors :)

  12. Wonderful truth about the reading of words and our growth accordingly. I just finished LL Barkat’s “Stone Crossings.” A powerful read from an extraordinary author! I have a hard time finding the drive to read anything beyond the Bible, blogs, and the Bible study I’m currently working on, but I’m trying to be better along those lines.

    Reading others’ words makes us better thinkers and better writers, and we just might find some needed nourishment for our souls along the way.

    You’re a great writer, Cheryl. I love coming here when I can.


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