Last week, I shared with you my struggle against an area of sin in my life, and then the freedom that came from giving it up and turning to the Lord. But that wonderful revelation and work the Lord did in me does not mean the temptation has disappeared. Now I’m walking in the day by day nitty gritty of everyday life and it could be pretty easy to slip back into the same place again, especially if I listen to the lies the enemy wants me to believe. Here’s where practical application comes in. How am I going to apply what the Lord has revealed to me about myself and my struggle? How am I going to put into action what God has taught me to safeguard against falling back into the same pattern again?
Let me share with you some of the things I’ve implemented to help protect myself under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- The first thing that I made sure was back in place is that, before all else, I spend time each day with the Lord, reading His Word, praying, and listening. I’m trying to be purposeful about checking in with Him through out the day-not letting myself get so caught up in the day to day that I’m not listening to Him.
- Next, I went on a fiction book fast for a week. I needed a break from the fiction world so I could fully come out of the “book coma” I had been living in, re-enter the real world, and start truly dwelling in it again. I am now easing back in with one book this week and I am only reading during my youngest daughter’s nap time.
- Have you ever heard “so many books, so little time”? Well, it’s definitely true! There are so many books out there and not nearly enough time to read them all. The third safeguard I’ve put in place is weeding out books from my “want to read” list. Over the last couple of years, any time I saw a book that caught my eye for even a fraction of a second or any book that looked or sounded even the tiniest bit interesting, I added it to my list . . . which means I have a ridiculously long list of authors and books on my “want to read” list. In reading so many books (and sometimes without much judgement or discretion), I have discovered that, lo and behold, shocker of all shockers, not all books are created equal and not all books are worth my time! With a much more limited time to read, I am going to have to be much more judicious about my choices than I have in the past. Now I am trying to figure out what is worth my time so I have a manageable “want to read” list. I’m starting by getting rid of ones with questionable content, poor reviews, lack of grammatical prowess, a poorly worded book synopsis, etc.
- Fourth, as I’m easing back into reading, I’m designating only certain times of day that I’m allowed to read. I’m also considering reading for only a certain amount of time in a week and/or limiting the number of books I am allowed to read in a week. I will probably use a combination of all three of these ideas because I know if I don’t tell myself when I’m allowed to read, I’ll stay up too late reading and not get enough sleep; if I don’t give myself a time constraint, I’ll have a tendency to read constantly; and if I don’t limit myself to a certain number of books, I will struggle with having my thoughts constantly consumed with all the things I have been reading and it won’t be peaceful, relaxed reading, but more compulsive reading.
- And last, but not least, I’m working on taking thoughts captive. The second I recognize a thought as going against God’s Word or being a distraction that takes my focus off Him and His desires for me, I need to cut it off and move my mind on to something else that is glorifying to Him. I want to be careful to not JUST take thoughts captive, but replace them with thoughts that point me back to Christ. I think part of taking thoughts captive is making myself aware of what “gets” to me, what causes me to fall so that when those thoughts or feelings come, I recognize them for what they are and can push them out while turning my thoughts to the truths I know from God’s Word.
What do you do to safeguard yourself in the areas where you struggle? When do the safeguards you’ve applied work best? Do those safeguards help more when they’re specific or general?
Got any more ideas on how I can weed out books that are not worth my time? What’s your criteria for picking a good book or deciding if it’s worth the read or not?
Comment below with your answer(s) to any of the questions above before midnight on Thursday, April 28th, and you will be entered for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. Winner will be announced in next Friday’s blog post.