Same Book, Different Day
During my study time this morning I started thinking about some of the books that have really taught me valuable insights and/or live changing principles. I realized, looking over the list that these are all books that I’ve read several times.
After pondering that for a while, I realized that the reason I’ve read these books several times, is that each time I reach the last page, I have a gut-feeling that there was still more to be learned from them than what I had just read. Something I’d missed.
Looking back it seems like the first time I read a book, I get revelation…ie: I learn something new. I might not fully understand this new idea (in fact, I usually don’t) but if something new to my “world-view” isn’t revealed, I probably won’t read that book again.
The second reading I begin to get understanding, that is, because I know what I’m looking for this time, it’s easier to see the steps that led to that initial revelation, and I can start to put “handles” on it, so as to begin applying it in my own life.
Now, if I stopped there, I would still have gotten something pretty valuable for my time, and I think a lot of folks do stop there. But, if I keep reading that book (and most of these I try to read once a year) I start to see not only how to do something, but why, and how to apply that understanding on a deeper level to areas outside the main focus of the book.
Example: The Five Love Languages helps me see which “acts of love” mean the most to my wife, that’s revelation. Re-reading, I know that I’m looking for specific examples of how to love my wife in her own “language,” that’s understanding. But, by the time I get to a third (or more) reading, I’m pretty familiar with the text, and the instructions, and I can start to see through those to a deeper theme…why do I want to speak her language, why do acts of service mean so much to her (while gifts mean so much to me) and I start to understand my wife, and my relationship with her in areas and ways that the book itself doesn’t (and couldn’t) reveal.
Btw, this list isn’t limited to non-fiction or “help” books, as I’ve gotten some pretty major revelations from well-written fiction (after all, what is a parable but allegorical fiction with a moral?)
To put it another way…it goes from being a “fix me” book, to a “change me” book.
Anyway, here’s my list. There are more, but these are the top half-dozen:
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Mars & Venus – John Gray
Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes – Brennan Manning (actually still reading this one for the first time)
Hinds Feet on High Places – Hannah Hurnand
The Visitation – Frank Peretti
The Oath – Frank Peretti
As, Lord knows, this post was long enough all ready, I didn’t go into why I chose these books, or what I’ve been taught from them, but if you’re curious about a specific title, feel free to ask.
Note: Obviously, the Bible would be at the top of this list, but I didn’t mention it because I feel like, as necessary as its repeated reading is, the inclusion of the Holy Spirit’s active presence allows us to get all three (revelation, understanding, & wisdom) every time we read it. So, it’s kind of in a category all its own.
Second note: I’ve listed first, second, and third readings to simplify the concept. Some of these books took several readings to get to step two, and others I’ve read numerous times in the hope of someday reaching the wisdom stage, lol.
Btw, after jotting down a few of these thoughts, I logged on to check my email, and this was my “Quote of the Day”:
“The truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind.” – Emily Dickinson
Seemed like confirmation!
So…any thoughts on this? Any books you’d like to add to the list? If so please add them, I’m always trying to overcome my deficit of wisdom, lol!
PS – I’m going to ask a favor here, if you would like to post a reply, please share your thoughts and/or insights on the topic.
As much as I appreciate the “what a great post” comments, I’d really like these kind of topics to generate active dialog, something that we can all learn from.
Thanks! – P