A few years ago I read the quote: “If you want to be a better writer – just read.”
I wasn’t an avid reader at the time, but I diligently promised to keep up with reading for that very reason (to strengthen my writing). After a while, it soon became one of my favorite ways to turn the world off, rest, and just be.
What I read and why this discussion is important:
I like to think about content [images, media, words, instagrams, youtubes, yada] – as food. How do I eat? Am I unhealthy / healthy? Did I have too little? Is it good for me does it make me better? Or do I eat what everyone else is eating?
It may look good on the outside, but on the inside – I do not feel well.
Many of our unhealthy thoughts are the by-product when we fill our minds with wrong food. This happens unconsciously – about all the content, words and images that you want to include in your head. We are the administrators of our actions; We decide how we want to spend our free time.
So here we are, it’s the season “indoors”, away from the rest of the world. Sure, Tik Tok is fun, Netflix is great and IG Story has a lot of fun memes (guilty as accused, sorry not sorry). But these things will always be there and it is our decision to set a limit at some point and to spend this time wisely. Do we gain knowledge and wisdom or do we just spend time? Are we learning how to become better versions of ourselves this season (one in which we actually have the luxury of free time), or are we just doing what everyone else tells us? It’s up to you, it’s up to me. And it is our decision to choose wisely.
In the past few years, I’ve filtered through tons of Christian self-help books and devotions and ended up with the Word of God. I also went through a lot of novels and crime novels (I like trying to solve the puzzle before the end – it’s the Enneagram 3 in me, Yanno), for fun. Add some Bible studies and some book clubs that are fun too. I’ve linked many of these books to Walmart (free shipping and return) and Amazon (Prime). Let’s examine the following:
- Jesus calls – The upper floor. Simplified and easy to read, I recommend this prayer to beginners as I started here myself. Read the scriptures at the end of each prayer and try to look them up in your Bible. It’s a really good way to get an idea of where the different books are in the Bible.
- New Morning Mercies – Paul David Tripp is a keen writer who is excellent and challenging. One of the most popular devotions and one of my personal favorites
- Write a diary – No devotion – just a type for a card of your devotional time. Invest in a diary – and try to record with devotional or scripture readings. This is my favorite time of the day and I can’t live without it (before I was a believer, my mornings were always scared and rushed – now I set my alarm clock an hour earlier to start the day looking for peace). Use this season to prepare to start the day with quiet time and meditation – journaling whether it is prayer journaling or just journaling emotions and feelings and thanking you daily. You can find two in my shop, Here and Here.
- The Jesus Bible – My best recommendation for beginners of the word. This Bible is huge – but with good reason. Each chapter of Scripture contains summaries and explanations that make the word more understandable to those who intimidate it. It also connects every story and passage with Jesus – hence the name, the Jesus Bible.
- NIV or ESV Journaling Bible – When you have completed a study bible, a journaling bible is my favorite way. If you’re creative like me – funny bible markers that don’t bleed through pages, help make the process more colorful and exciting. Journaling Bibles have empty columns on the side that allow you to write notes or rewrite verses – a great way to remember the scriptures. Tip: NIV and ESV are my two recommended translations for studying the Word of God (NIV = I think it is easiest to use ESV = most churches; you will be well equipped with both translations). Translation is the way in which the script is translated from its original language (Hebrew) into English today.
* (The Bible I instagram is often my grandmother’s Bible in the NLT version; it is about 50 years old and has been to Israel twice and back and cannot be linked: :).
My current Bible study:
- Trustworthy Bible study – – Written by my sweet friend Lysa Terkerst, this is by far the best Bible study I have ever had. Believe it or not – it’s about 1 and 2 kings – but we can learn a lot about the future by reading history – and the Old Testament is full of nutrients that teach us to rely more on and towards God trust – especially at this time. There is so much to learn about the pattern of human history, how we make our own decisions, and how God gives us free will to do so. Lysa does a remarkable job of highlighting this – and teaches us to trust God through the ups and downs of life. Everything Lysa writes is excellent, so I’m looking forward to reading some of her other Bible studies when I’m done.
- The circle maker – will change the way you pray forever. This book has deeply shaped my prayer path and inspired me to pray with purpose and persistence – it is full of miraculous stories in which God answers epic and bold prayers. If you want to be encouraged and inspired, do yourself a favor and order it.
- Get out of your head – – Megaphone is an important message for this time and an important message for this generation. My sweet friend Jennie Allen’s bestseller focuses on the spiritual struggle of poisonous thoughts and frees you from lies that hold you in negative thought patterns. Can we take a moment and realize how deeply we all need to open this conversation and raise awareness of what is going on in our heads? Jennie also discusses how we perceive God and how we think about ourselves. This. is. a must. Read. In particular. Right. Now.
- The turning point – I have to put this on my list to read it again! If you haven’t read it in high school, do it with me now!
- Your measurement matters – by Luke Lezon. Luke is a friend, speaker, and author of this encouraging and attributable reading – packed with personal and vulnerable stories and Luke’s encouraging voice. Luke strongly reminds us that God is redeemed, sovereign and loving in our disorder. This season is also a good time to delve deeper into the assembly of our chaotic puzzle pieces by God.
- It shouldn’t be that way /. Without an invitation – two of my favorite books by Lysa Terkerst. Lysa is the best writer I know to deal with trauma and grief – while remaining steadfast in the Lord but finding healthy ways to heal.
Fiction / Nonfiction Clubs and Resources I love:
Fiction – Murder Secrets (Here are some of the novels I’ve read in the past few months – I loved them all! If you get scared very easily, it’s probably not your thing, but they’re not that scary. 🙂)
Hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful! 🙂 Xo Jessi
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