I was hanging out with a friend when she asked a tough question. I didn’t know how to answer. The thought ran through my head, “What if I’m judged based on my answer?”
I wrestled in my mind with what to say for what felt like forever. Maybe I’m thinking through this too much? I knew I had to respond. Finally, I answered: “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala”.
Who knew it could be so hard to come up with an answer to the question “What is your favorite book, besides the Bible?”
As an avid reader, I love celebrating today as National Read A Book Day. Even though reading is one of my favorite hobbies today, that wasn’t always the case.
Growing up, I was not particularly focused on my schooling. In English, I hardly ever finished the books I had to write reviews on (sorry mom!), and I found myself only doing what I had to so I could get by. I thought I just didn’t like reading and learning.
That began to change when a fellow student recommended I read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I don’t remember having read a book on spiritual disciplines before then, and I loved the way it challenged me. While Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire is not necessarily my favorite book today, it does hold a nostalgic place in my mind. Reading that book was the beginning of my journey toward developing a love for reading.
Fast forward to college and I followed a similar pattern from High School when it came to my schooling. I was “getting by,” but my parents were less than impressed with my GPA. This continued until I entered the latter half of my degree when the courses went from being general education credits to courses related to my degree that focused on history, philosophy and religion. I was challenged, and I was intrigued.
As with reading Cymbala’s book, being challenged in an area I was passionate about unlocked something in me that grew my love of learning. As I found where my passion was, my desire to read increased. I now saw how reading provided an opportunity for me to grow spiritually. While reading grew my head knowledge about God, it also was then able to sink into heart transformation as well. Reading is a way we can use our minds to pursue God.
Do you like reading? If your answer is “no,” maybe you just haven’t found the right book yet! Something magical happens when we read. We can grow personally, learn other perspectives, enter new worlds, deepen our understanding of topics, find encouragement, and even feel inspired. What book can you pick up and try diving into? If you are competitive like me, you might even find it fun to see just how many books and pages you can read in a year. (I use www.goodreads.com to track my reading, and I LOVE seeing the report at the end of the year.)
Today, as a doctoral student, I love the rhythm of getting a new reading list every semester, but I also still get giddy wrapping up a semester so I can start diving into my own summer reading list! If you aren’t into reading yet, consider exploring new genres. If you are a book lover like me, I would love to hear your favorite reads! Please do share a favorite in the comments.
Meet the author!
Lauren McAfee is a PhD student in ethics and public policy from Southern Seminary. Lauren is author of Not What You Think, Only One Life, and Legacy Study. She also works at the Hobby Lobby corporate office as a project coordinator. She grew up in Oklahoma City and loves her church community at CRBC. Lauren and her high school sweetheart, Michael McAfee, have been married for over eight years. Connect with Lauren at www.laurenamcafee.com or on Instagram @laurenamcafee.