Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Read One Page Per Day

After a discussion last night with some friends, the topic came around to reading books. With a variety of different folks there, some who struggled to read, others who couldn't put books down, there was a consensus that there is tremendous value in reading. But how do we get beyond the hurdles of time, tiredness and TV which prevent us from picking up a good book, even The Good Book?

I came across some excellent resources recently on Don Whitney's website, Spiritual Disciplines. There are some articles and excerpts from some of his books that are well worth a look. One such excerpt addresses practically this difficulty with reading. Don writes:
"When life gets too complex, one of the first parts of a healthy spiritual life to decline is reading. I talk to well-intentioned Christians almost every week who confess to growing piles of books by their “reading” chair, desk, nightstand, and other places, but who never have time to read. Reading for sheer enjoyment was long ago forsaken. Reading for Christian growth rarely happens. Most days, a few minutes in the Bible is all that’s left of their reading. Those who love to learn and those who want to grow grieve the loss of reading like the loss of a close friend. “But what can I do,” they sigh, “there are only so many hours in a day.”

To these overwhelmed believers I usually ask, “Do you think you could find the time to read one page of a book each day?” No one has ever told me they couldn’t, no matter how busy they are or how many children they have. It might mean sneaking a page during a visit to the bathroom, sitting in the car an extra two minutes at the end of the morning or evening commute, or standing by the bed to read a moment before crashing into the pillow at night.

By reading one page per day you can read 365 pages in a year, or the equivalent of two full-length books. That may not sound like much, but it’s far better than not reading at all. Moreover, by some accounts this would place you above half the U.S. population in the number of books read each year.

Furthermore, if you read just two books a year for the rest of your life, think of how many books you’d read if you lived to be seventy or seventy-five. Add to these all the books you might read in your retirement years if you develop the habit reading just a little each day now.

By this means of just a page per day, I’ve seen mothers of multiple preschoolers, homeschooling moms, and overwhelmed executives alike plow through a book every month or two. It wasn’t because they had any less to do. Rather, the secret lay in the simple discipline of making the commitment to read just one page. Invariably, of course, when they read one page they decided to read more. The main problem was just getting to that first page. Once that was done, the rest was not only easy, but enjoyable as well.

Get back to the simple pleasure of good reading, one page at a time."

Excerpted from Donald S. Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life. To read more sample chapters from this book click here.


Kim from Hiraeth said...

I think that there is much wisdom in this approach, even though it is not the most satisfying way to read.

I am a reader. I read a lot. I like to hold books in my hand and plow through them but sometimes life does get very busy and so I do two things to keep myself reading every day, even on the days when the only plowing I am doing is through my to do list.

First, I have one chapter of the Bible delivered to me via email each day. Admittedly, this is not the best way to read the Bible and it is not the method I rely upon for study, however, it does get God's Word into my brain first thing in the morning. This morning's reading was James 1. I have already thought of a way that the application of the wisdom of that chapter can help me help myself and another person in a trial. Does that mean I won't go back to my study in Ephesians? No, but if the day gets away from me, I have at least spent some time in the word.

I have also recently begun to have a novel sent to me via email every morning. Again, not the most satisfying way to read, but it is a way to see whether a book is really for you or not. I stick to the classics I have always wanted to read.


Catriona said...

Thanks for these helpful suggestions, Kim - where do you get your Bible chapter and novels sent to you from?