What if reading is as important as cardio?

Can I tell you the truth? I grow so weary of having my senses flooded with “eat healthier” and “exercise” and “make sure your kids are eating this and this and this but not that or that.” It exhausts me. Do you know why it exhausts me? Because physical wellness is not my jam. Please don’t misunderstand. I firmly believe that there is great value in staying active and making wise food choices in moderation. Firmly. But consuming a salad feels the exact same to me as eating grass out of my backyard, and I think working out is torture akin to root canals.

That’s the truth.

Exercising my mind, though – ahh. There is no greater high or release for me. Give me a good book that sends me sailing through oceans I’ll never see with my eyes or enlightens my mind with new thoughts and ideas, that breed my own new thoughts and ideas – that sweep me up in wonder of a God who is always more, who is in it all, who is over it all. Yes, give me that and you’ll see me ride a high not unlike the one all those crazy-brained runners describe.

So, I try to respect all the “Eat good food” and “Exercise a lot” shouts and nudges that fly at me from every direction, because if it means to them what reading and learning and experiencing mean

to me, I have to consider that maybe it’s all important to our big, good Father – who allows pieces of His passions to be reflected in all of His creation!

Why, though? Why is it that important?

Reading breeds compassion. We can enter worlds, cultures, and lifestyles that we would never normally come in contact with or even begin to understand otherwise. This is invaluable for us as human beings and followers of Christ.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” – Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reading breeds self-awareness. When we fill our mind with information that better helps us define who we are and what we believe as individuals, we are better able to interact with the world around us – particularly the relationships we find ourselves in. All truth is God’s truth and, in my experience, reading is one of the most effective ways to explore truth.

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Reading breeds rest. Reading is not unlike exercise. While you are doing it, if it is a thing you do not do regularly or do not particularly love doing, you might hate its guts. Truly – I believe you about that. I do not understand you, but I believe you. However, reading – or even listening to an audio book – forces our minds to slow, to hear/read the language, and to formulate thoughts and images of our own. It forces our brains create images and ideas that were not pre-formulated for us visually, which in time increases our ability to think creatively and engage with the world arounds us. And just like a good workout, it might help you sleep better at night.

“Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes room for that.” John Green

Reading breeds reading. The most important thing you can do to help your children become life long readers is model reading as a priority in your own life – even if reading isn’t your jam like exercise isn’t mine. Facebook articles and Internet scanning are the fast foods of reading, y’all. Treat them as a now and then option but not as your main method of feeding your brain and creativity! Let your kids see you reading or hear you listening to an audio book. It matters!

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” Anonymous

That being said, I’m on a quest this summer to do some reading like it’s my glorious, make-a-million dollars job. My kids are old enough now that time is not COMPLETELY eaten up with diapers changed and sippy cups refilled and boo boos kissed. There is a little more margin, and I’m filling mine with books – in an alternating Non-Fiction/Fiction pattern. I’ll be posting reviews as I finish them – hopefully every Thursday! Stop back by to find out what’s great and what’s good and what’s probably for book-y people only – like the burpees of the workout world.

And now without further adieu, my summer reading list in chronological order. #englishmajor

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