Read to Live

 

READ to

I’ve always been a reader. As a result, I am a big believer in the lasting effects of reading on a person’s life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge I’ve gained through books.

So many people claim they are not the reading kind and I just sort of chuckle and then change the subject. Because I don’t believe that being a reader is optional. If you want to grow, lead, succeed, and dream, then reading has to become a part of your life.

Take growth, for instance. I’m not the same timid, unaware, insecure girl I was even ten years ago. And I have countless books to thank for that. The Bible tops the list, though, as being the most influential in my maturity as a confident woman. I now know who I am because of what the Word of God says about me. He calls me His beloved one, His chosen daughter, and His beautiful masterpiece.

What about leadership skills? Surely the proof is seen in the fact that so many great leaders of our time are self-proclaimed hearty learners. John Maxwell is one of my favorite authors on leadership and this is what he has to say about being a lifelong student:

“Live to learn and you will really learn to live.”

Without reading, we limit ourselves to what other people have to say. If you really want to learn, discover it for yourself by picking up a book.

Success is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in accordance with the much sought after American Dream. Whether we are looking for external success through dollar bills or internal success through peace in our souls, we have to take into account the important words of those who have gone before us. Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States and human rights activist, said,

“One thing I believe profoundly: We make our own history. The course of history is directed by the choices we make and our choices grow out of the ideas, the beliefs, the values, the dreams of the people.”

We cannot succeed without gaining wisdom from the voices of influential men and women of yesterday. Our future depends on our remembrance of those that have paved the way. Read a biography about someone you admire. You just might learn that you share some of their passions and therefore be inspired to go after a greater purpose than you could have ever imagined on your own.

Dreaming is a lost art these days. Many times we get used to going and doing that we forget to stop and dream for a minute. But if we aren’t dreaming then we are living a pretty dull existence. So many books have brought the dreamer out in me. From fairy tales to poetry, reading has a way of opening our hearts and minds to a world beyond what our eyes can see. I loved getting lost in the Nancy Drew books as a young girl. I would pretend I was brave like she was and imagine going on mysterious adventures to rescue the wounded neighborhood cat or spy on the mischievous shop owner. Don’t knock the value that comes from lying down in the grass and letting your imagination take you beyond the printed page. I am now finishing up my degree in criminal justice all these years later. It looks like those Nancy Drew books paid off after all…

One of my highest goals in life is to add something of value to this world. I want to make a deposit of outlandish proportions into the futures of generations to come. This may seem like a daunting task to some, but to me, it’s why I’m alive. Where does reading fit into this picture? Well, let’s just put it this way: If I don’t stay presently aware of the needs in my society by picking up a newspaper or clicking on that online article, then I sure as heck won’t know what to do to make the world a better place for the children of tomorrow.

Reading is not only about personal growth and development but also about staying educated so that we can raise up future leaders that wisely take responsibility for their own growth, success, and dreams.

Read to live. One day you will look back at how far you’ve come and be so glad you picked up that book.

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The Carefree Life

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What are you carrying around today? What burden is weighing you down? This morning as I was praying, God reminded me of this familiar verse:

1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

He.Cares.For.You.

You can trust Him with your stuff. So comforting, isn’t it? God’s not up in heaven with His arms crossed thinking, “Hmph…I guess I’ll take that load off of your shoulders…if I REALLY have to.” 

No! His arms are wide open and He is saying, “Give that worry to me. I want to help you. Won’t you let me? ” 

I love how the Message Translation words 1 Peter 5:7-

“Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”

 This is not an “if you do this first, then God will do this next” kinda situation. It’s exactly the opposite. We GET to live carefree because God LOVES taking care of us.

Webster’s dictionary defines “carefree” as having no worries or problems : free from care. We literally have the opportunity to turn our problems into prayers and our worries into worship. We are free from stress. We are free from anxiety. We are free from pressure.

God’s hands are big enough to hold the whole wide world as well as your small little piece of it. So go ahead. He’s on the edge of His seat just waiting for you to ask for His help.

Let Him show you just how much He cares for you. You see, it’s not just that He can handle it for you, it’s that He wants to!

photo credit: Benjamin Franklin Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight via photopin (license)