I have a love-hate relationship with reading. I love to lose myself in a good book, and well-written words feed my soul like a good song. But I also sometimes find myself wanting more than anything to avoid reading. One of the problems with reading for me is I get sucked into writer's world. I critic every piece of writing and either pass judgement, or am pleasantly inspired to write myself. I often find myself narrating my life through out the day in my head. Sometimes this can be amusing. That is, until I realize how sadly pathetic it is.
I learned to read at age five and by age seven was attempting to read the Bible cover to cover. By age eight, while still making my way through the Bible and bored with adolescent mysteries and the Babysitters Club series, found myself reading my mother's novels. Because we lived in a small mountain town in China, books in English were in small supply. People occasionally sent us books in packages or along with visitors, but I guess because we were missionaries, they felt that the only appropriate books to send were Christians novels. Not to disregard all Christian novels, but even as an eight-year-old I felt severely cheated by the selection. I quickly moved on to John Grisham and the likes and dabbled in and out of the few classic literature books I found in local book stores when we moved to a bigger city.
Since then I have gone through kicks of Christian inspirationals, depressing classics, embarrassingly romantic fairy tales, and good educational biographies. The one consistent book in my life, however, and the one I struggle with the most, is the Bible. I have read through it more times than I can remember since I was eight and still come back to it torn, confused, and thirsty, but also hesitant. Sometimes I can read it for hours and still feel confused. Other times I pick it up for a moment and everything makes sense. I am lost in the love and mystery it holds. Repelled by the challenges it forces me to face. Confused by its simplicity.
I have been up since 5:30 this morning and though I knew I would not return to sleep, I did not want to read. Reading my Bible before all else has been ingrained in me since I was young thanks to my parent's example and dedicated reminders. I don't always read it first, or at all, but I feel a definite tug of will when I don't. Today I decided I was going to start my morning with God another way. I turned on the Jon Foreman station on pandora and prayed as I cooked my breakfast and picked up the living room. This is good, I thought. But my food and tasks were distracting, the music a little too Chris Tomlin, and I soon found myself thinking about my high school days in China and what I would cook for dinner. Eventually I found myself sitting down with my Bible to read. My eyes began to blur over, as is my usual reason not to read (I may need glasses?), but I pressed on for a few chapters more. I believe God speaks through more than just the Bible. He is not limited to words on a page (not even living words!) or poppy Christian lyrics. God speaks to me in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of places. The one thing I know for sure is, He is faithful to speak when we are faithful to seek. I am glad that He tugs at my heart to seek Him, and the time I spent in the word was meaningful and filling. So why is it that more often than not, I crave to crave God's word, instead of actually craving His word? I want to want it, but it's a fight to get myself to actually pursue it. How does this make sense?
Today I will begin to read The Heavenly Man. I know Brother Yun's story, and I have been wanting to read this book for some time, but I have been hesitant. I know truth will be spoken. Things I will not be able to unhear. My soul is desperate for a challenge, but my mind is comfortable in my ignorance. I have been asking God a loaded question for years now. He is slowly answering. I'm a little nervous as to what I am going to find, and how it may change my life. Or worse, how it may not. Does that make sense?