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Reading As A Tool To Shape Your Life
Reading has been a crucial factor in making me the person that I am today. I believe that a great majority of my charm, my wit, and my confidence has come from reading the right things.
Yes I've read my share of the books that have proven to be a complete waste of my time and brain cells; however, I've also had my share of books that altered my life significantly.
Thanks to these books, I believe I am the person I am now, and the person I'll become.
Why Read Books?
Reading is essential to getting through the first 20 years of one's life. Thanks to the educational system that is in place, there is no escaping reading. However, reading has now become indispensable thanks to the Internet. Much of the Internet is navigated in virtual print, so there is no escaping reading.
However, reading website content is definitely different from reading actual books. I personally feel like I've accomplished something when I've gotten through reading the book selections I set aside for current consumption. It's not that there's anything different from the content of a book as opposed to volumes of a website. It seems like a whole book leaves a more indelible imprint as opposed to content absorbed from websites and webpages. Maybe it's the multi-media stimuli that we have gotten accustomed to and even desensitized; maybe it's because when we read websites, too much is going on in a single webpage; either way, I could attest to the feeling of relief and accomplishment that one gets when he or she gets through reading a whole book.
The main book I would never be able to live without is the Bible. While a lot of people scoff that religion is outdated, it's actually the one book that is like living water or living fire, at least, for me. It's something that truly changes perspective when you reread it. And it's something that has transformed countless people.
We may debate on the veracity of the Bible the whole day long, but I prefer to keep things simple for myself: I am no longer the same person I was before I started reading it. That is the only thing I know, and the only thing I hold onto.
Aside from the Bible, I have these other books that have made a profound impact on my life:
- The Vision by Rick Joyner
- Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
- The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson
- Open His Gift by Dana Taggart
- Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
There are possibly hundreds more that I've read, but these are the ones that really stood out in my memory.
The Vision was an eye-opener for me. It amazed me because this is the truth of what has happened in the Spirit. This is "current events" in the spiritual realm. It helped me realize that life is not the way it seems. The worth of life isn't measured by the "metrics" we've set for ourselves. We don't get more respect when we die with the most toys. And one thing that stood out the most was that, the most insignificant people here on earth, could actually be the most respected in Heaven.
The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren was rather simplistic and very down-to-earth, but it hit home. It made me understand what are my true priorities, and how I should be living my life.
The Prayer of Jabez helped kick-start my faith with a simple prayer. The Secrets of the Vine helped me understand why I go through pain and hurt in this life: in order to either correct me for my unhealthy, counterproductive behavior, or to remove those useless areas in my life that only hinder my fruitfulness/productivity for God. It also nailed home the truth that being Christian is all about being connected to Jesus.
I hadn't finished Open His Gift by Dana Taggart, but one truth from it really helped me overcome my doubts about the fact that Christ is not an option: when I read that Yahweh actually turned His face from Jesus when all our sins were laid on Him, simply because Jesus became pinned and filled with sin that was not His, and some of those were actually mine, it was then that understood that I am redeemed, I am completely forgiven, and how wonderful it is for the Father and the Son to arrange the Son's death for me, just so I could be with them in Heaven. :) So sweet!
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend helped me leverage the word "NO." It empowered me to understand that "NO" could be healthy for ME, and that NO is actually freeing. It is a word that could keep me away from people or situations that would run me ragged, even abuse me. It liberated me to understand that I could only have a certain amount of priorities in my hands. If I can't handle it, say "NO."
Reading is not just a pastime. It's something that would impact your life. While most of my friends prefer to read fiction in order to escape, I, for one, cannot stand reading fiction any longer. I did read my share of fiction back in high school, but I've quit reading fiction because I feel like if there's nothing to learn from it anyway, I would rather play PC games.
Tips to get the most out of reading:
- Read to address some questions in your life. If you're going through something, try to find a book that would help you get through that issue in your life. Then don't just read the book, apply the lessons you've learned therein.
- Read not only to be informed by random trivia you could use to impress your beer buddies. Read in order to become a better person.
- See reading as a way to invest in yourself, and not just to escape. Escaping wastes time. Investing in yourself leverages it.
I'm currently reading these books:
- The Principles and Power of Vision, Myles Munroe
An excellent book on how to discover God's vision for your life and follow that vision. Currently on the first chapters, but it's been amazing, so far.
- Till Debt Do Us Part, Chinkee Tan
More about the principles and an encouraging, faith-hyping read, more than anything. It has sound Biblical principles in place. This is all about the heart of financial management and debt recovery. If you need more practical steps, try Dave Ramsey.
- One Month to Live, Kerry and Chris Shook
Helped me come face to face with my heart issues and realize that Christianity really is all about forgiveness: We are forgiven, and we have to forgive on a daily, or offense-for-offense basis.