Sunday, August 12, 2012

To Read...or Not To Read

Adventure awaits.{Written By Miss Bethany Ann}
Here I am again. In the same place I was several weeks ago. I am sitting on my bed with the excitement of a new library book in my hands. I have heard about this book from various friends and was thrilled to find the library has it for rent. I eagerly checked it out and bring it home and now open it's pages to begin reading. As excitement rushes over me, I begin to read. But I quickly come to a portion of the book I find questionable. I wonder if I should continue with the story. I hope it doesn't get worse and that I can avoid the obvious. I try to realize were my standards go and if this particular situation goes over that line. I get so into the book I feel like I have to find out what happens in the end, and that if I had to stop just because of one..or honestly speaking, several...{little} issues, that I will be haunted forever with the fact of never finishing the book. I sit there, eyes on the book cover and wonder "To read...or not to read?" A simple question it is really, but the complication overwhelms me and I struggle to make a choice. Will I finish it...or will I put it down and return it to the library unfinished. As my soul fights the spiritual battle, my mind wrestles with the path before me. I must choose which fork to go down. To finish it or not.


Ladies, I simply cannot tell you how often I've been in this position. Over and over I find myself in this predicament. I can think of several times were I was faced with the simple question "Will I continue reading or not" and though it sounds simple, only requiring a "yes" or "no", I find that at the time this question seems more complicated the more I think about it. I'm sure you can all relate, we have all had a time when we were faced with this decision. Sometimes we choose the right one, sometimes the wrong. I've had both happen to me with different outcomes in each situation. I've had times I questioned the book, but did finish it and found I liked it and it was within my standards. But I've also had times I questioned the story and continued on only to find that later on the issues were only snowballing and that far into the story I was so intent on finding out what happens that I have to rip myself from the book with a broken heart. Were if I'd have only put it down and not finished the book to begin with I'd have saved the heart ache that I really knew was coming. 

In today's age there are so many books out there. Some are just as evil and bad and some are good and helpful. The tricky part is knowing were each book falls and if it is safe to read according to your personal guidelines or standards. I fine that sometimes though the library can be a very beneficial source, the simplicity of being able to check virtually any book out for free causes me not to carefully speculate and evaluate a book before checking it out as I would do if I were paying for it. Since I can get it for free, I wonder if that one issue that pops up on the back cover description is really all that bad, and if I don't set standards ahead of time the lines get blurred and I compromise. Were as, normally if I'd have to pay for a book, I'd evaluate it closer and tell myself to put it back on the rack, the easiness of just checking it out makes me compromise. And we all know that with each compromise we lower the standards bit by bit to were eventually we have a big downhill snowball that is virtually impossible to stop and we are left with no standards at all. No one wants to be in this place, but how do we avoid it while still reading good books?

One of the things I've learned recently that saves a whole lot of trouble and complication when deciding whether a book is profitable reading material or not is to simple confront your parents. I know it sounds crazy, but when it all comes down to the wire, if you'd ask yourself  "Would I be nervous if my parents read this book's back cover?" would simplify our questions and make the difficult question much, much easier to answer. I've recently committed myself to having my mom look over all library books before I check them out. In the past, I've skipped over this step because (a) I didn't think mom would approve and tried to get away with it knowing I probably shouldn't check it out but go ahead anyway. or (b) because I didn't think it necessary because I heard from all my friends that it was a clean book. But either way most of the time mom would ask what I was reading and I'd get "caught" and have to pry myself away from the book when I could have easily avoided this with asking her in the first place. Usually, when I make the choice to read a book or not, I have to make the choice before I start it. Because I will usually get so involved with the book I can't just put it down half way through and not have a burning passion to finish the story, so I might as well confront the issue before hand to save the ripping myself from the book part later on which hurts more in the end. I'd highly encourage you to have your reading life something you actively share with your parents. Tell them what you are reading, share your thoughts on it. Ask them what their standards for you are, so that you know ahead of time if something is acceptable within their guidelines or not. Be open with them and don't hide anything. Chances are if you are hiding it from parents, you shouldn't be reading it.

Looks so cozy!Ladies, if you are finding yourself having a hard time to know whether you should read a certain book or not, to simply things just ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it something I'd be afraid of my parents finding me reading? In my heart-of-hearts, do I know that mom or dad would say a definite "no" to this? Am I beating around the bush, knowing they'd say no, but trying to get away with it anyways? If so then honestly, is this wholesome for your reading habits and your relationship with your parents?
  • Would I feel okay reading this book out loud? If not, then more than likely it's not something you want to fill your mind with because you know, you are what you read. The more you put it in your brain, the more you think about it and eventually, it will weasel it's way into your words and actions.
  • Would you want your future daughter reading it? Ouch.
  • If you are contemplating whether certain actions of a character are okay to read, {for example, harshness with siblings, feminism world-view, disrespect for parents, etc.} then ask yourself if you'd be okay with these actions being your own? If you were that character, would you freak out at the thought of your friends and family seeing you act this way? Remember, what you fill your mind with will become a part of you.
  • Would you be okay with Jesus seeing you read this book? Because, really, Christ is all-knowing and sees everything! There is no hiding with Christ. He knows our hearts motive and we will be judged one day.
So really, shed in this light, is that complicated question so complicated anymore? In the end it all boils down to whether we will obey Christ and our parents or whether we will give way to temptation. We must choose, and I pray that that choice would be the first.

Very true!
Whatever your standards, dear sisters, always stand firm and remember that in the end, if you don't finish a book it's not the end of the world. I often have to tell myself that the world WILL continue to go round even if I don't finish a book. :) And you know what, in the end, it's okay. Because will it be something I regret at the end of my life? Will I really look at my life several years from now and think "Man, I really wish I'd have finished that book! I'd totally have something to talk about with my girlfriends now!" Will I wish I'd have spent my time differently? Would I have wished I'd have spent that time with my family or with Jesus?    Remember that only what it done for Christ will last. Keep up the good fight!

Your Fellow Book Worm,

5 Words of Grace:

Rebekah and Anna said...

This is so good! You are right, we need to remember our standerds. And no matter what our friends think, we need to do what we know is right for us. Thank you for posting this!

Emily J.

Miriam said...

Thank you so much for encouraging us to read whole-some books, Miss Bethany! Oftentimes I have wondered the same thing, "should I read this or not?" Like you said, what we fill our mind with will become a part of us, so we should fill ourselves with God-honoring things!

God Bless!


Rachelle said...


Hannah said...

This is so true Bethany! Thanks for writing this. :)

Amy Ziegler said...

Thought I would let you know that I shared your post on my blog :)