10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
Proverbs 4: 10-13
Coming into the New Year, I received lots of emails and smart phone notifications that alerted me as to what to look forward to in 2021 as well as reviews on how 2020 went. The one I took the most pride was my Goodreads’ alert of how many books I had completed in 2020 – 63! This app, for me is an easy and fun way to track books I would like to read, books my friends and the larger world are interested in as well as books I’ve completed reading. And last year, even in the midst of a pandemic, I got to go on lots of adventures and expanded my mind in new ways. I went back in time to fly with the first women pilots in the 1920s or the beginnings of Hollywood with silent films. I also solved murder mysteries with police in Ireland, Canada, and England as well as a fascinating fictional story of an immortal woman and answering the question what are the reasons for living?
Some stories, I just enjoyed the fun and adventures of what could happen next. And there were some I was just glad to end. Yet there were a few I felt challenged my faith in unexpected ways, ones that I needed to think a little longer about or mark to read again as I saw more than entertainment within those pages. These are some guiding questions I would reflect on, sometimes within a book or after as I was choosing the rating. What was the overall theme of this book? Where the characters complex and multi-dimensional? Which character did I see parts of myself, good or bad? Why? When faced with the major challenges or obstacles, were these moments to celebrate or did it make me uncomfortable? How was faith and religion part of the story? Were there other themes of theology that appeared? How does knowing this story challenge me, teach me or give me pause about the world? Did I see Christ within these pages?
Are there other questions that guide your reading? What’s been the books you are looking forward to cracking open this year? My resolution is to enjoy 64 books this year and maybe read a genre I’ve never tried before, you?
O Lord, as You continue to guide and lead our lives, we pray You will continue to surprise and strengthen our souls. Through Your holy Word and the words in books that delight, challenge or deepen our relationship with You. Amen.