I’m one of those readers that will read the shampoo bottle in the shower. Anyone out there get this? Reading is such a second nature to me that I have to be careful when I’m at someone’s house, because if there’s a document out on the table, my eyes may just start to scan it without even thinking about it.
When I say I love reading, I mean I love reading. And while reading does come naturally to me (yes, even in the shower), not all reading is equal. There’s reading for education or information, reading to grade papers for my homeschool students, reading to get to know someone, reading to be inspired. Then, there’s my favorite kind of reading… Reading to escape.
There is nothing like digging deep into a story and forgetting everything else around you. My kids used to mock me, saying that they could tell me that we were being robbed, and if my nose was in a book, I’d answer, “Hold on, let me finish this chapter,” and keep reading. They may have jokingly tested this theory once or twice, and let’s just say that their point was made.
I began reading avidly as a child, and even though I didn’t realize it, oftentimes I would use reading as a way to get away whatever was going on in my life. I would read for hours at a time, falling in love with stories about girls who had superficial problems, and nice, tidy endings.
As I got older, I longed for deeper stories, with characters that were flawed and endings that were complicated, yet satisfying.
The realization that I was using books to put off coping with life hit me when I was an adult. One day, when it had been quite awhile since I had read a book, I said to my husband, “I’m craving a book. I need to read something!” He thought I was a weirdo, but for some reason, saying those words made it all make sense to me. It was a stressful time in our life, I was overtired, and I just wanted to snuggle up with a good book and forget everything for a while. I wanted to escape.
So, I did. But then I started to question myself. This was when I was a young mother and mom guilt had seeped into every fiber of my being. I couldn’t even exist without feeling guilty about it. The analyzing began as soon as I shut my book. Was I wrong to want to escape life? Was reading fiction a waste of time? Shouldn’t I be reading something educational? Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?
Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to completely banish mom guilt from my life and now live happily in a grace-filled existence. But even back then, in my guilt-ridden days, I came to the conclusion that I needed fiction in my life.
But it came with a caveat: It can’t simply be a great story.
If I’m reading to escape life for a bit, and get drawn into a wonderfully paced story that keeps me hooked, but is otherwise meaningless, I still feel empty when I come up for air.
However, if I’m reading a fantastic story that is also sneakily speaking truths to my heart, I come up refreshed and filled with hope.
That is the kind of reading that soothes me on weary days. That’s the kind of reading I need in my life.
That is why I love inspirational fiction, and why I write it.
What is your favorite kind of reading?
Angela Mills blogs at http://www.angela-mills.com, where she has become known for her transparency and encouragement for women. Married to her best friend for seventeen years, and a homeschool mom to two daughters, Angela does not shy away from discussing the difficult aspects of family life.
In addition to her blog, she runs a https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlessingYourHusbandDailyChallenges/ Facebook group for over 775 Christian wives and has written over 60 articles online for various websites. Her eBook, Blessing Your Husband 30 Day Challenge, has been downloaded over 6,000 times.
Angela is passionate about following Jesus, helping marriages thrive, and encouraging women to intentionally love their husbands and children. When she’s not reading the shampoo bottle, she is currently writing a historical family saga.