Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Others' Words--Reading Habits

"Those who read fast reap no more advantage than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of the flower, instead of waiting to penetrate into it, and extract its sweets."
~ Madame Jeanne Guyon ~

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI am a quick reader. I always have been. I have been blessed with an ability to comprehend and remember what I read, even when I am reading it at a pace that most people call skimming. One of my earliest memories about reading was in 4th grade. I came home and told my Mom I had a "free hour" so I read Eight Cousins by Louisa Mae Alcott. All 300+ pages. In an hour. My Mom didn't believe me, but upon quizzing me on the book decided I had indeed read it, not skimmed it.

This ability has served me well. It made university reading a breeze. It got me through my graduate school reading with little effort (my social work program required 500 pages of reading per hour of credit--not an easy feat when carrying a 15-18 hour load). And it allows me the luxury of reading for pleasure as an adult when most of my daily reading consists of the "Good Night Moon" level.

But there is some reading that I must slow down as I read. I must take my time reading God's Word, daily. I don't slow down because it is difficult to read (although sometimes that may be true). I slow down because I don't want to miss a detail. I want to relish it, to savor it, to let it totally digest into my being. I want it to change me, and that takes time.

I love the image in this week's quote. Last summer I watched the honey bees in my front garden. They flitted from plant to plant, testing and tasting the surface but not dwelling. Until they got to the lavender plant. The lavender would be covered at any one time by dozens of bees, drinking in the nectar. Taking the sweetness back to their hive to infuse the honey they would make. And lavender honey is some of the loveliest honey I've ever discovered for putting in my tea, so their efforts were worth it. It is the perfect picture of my reading habits. I flit from book to book tasting the surface. But at the Bible I need to dwell and drink it in. The more of the sweetness I drink in, the more of God's building blocks I will have for building my life. And just as the lavender infuses what the bees produce, so the Word of God will infuse my life--but only if I drink it in quantities to change me. I could read the Bible quickly and be able to retell the stories, but it won't change me. Steeping in the stories changes me. Knowing the word of God (Bible) helps me reflect the Word of God (Jesus). And that is the change I pray is made in my life.

I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
Psalm 119:102-105

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2

Follow this link to Laurel Wreath to read more.

photo credit: from www.morguefile.com author="ladyheart"


Denise said...

Great thoughts, bless you.

Becky said...

"steeping in the stories changes me" I love your analogy to the bees when they get to the lavender. Thanks for creating such a mental picture with your post. Great writing.

eph2810 said...

"The more of the sweetness I drink in, the more of God's building blocks I will have for building my life." That is so true - God's Word are building blocks to our life this side of heaven :)...

Wow - you read a 300 page book in 1 hour - in 4th grade and retained it. Incredible. I wish I had your reading ability. Than it would not take me months to read a book...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this week's IOW quote.

Blessings on your day and always.

Laurel Wreath said...

Ah I wish I had your gift of reading quickly...

"I need to dwell and drink it in" Oh amen!!

Sara Laughs said...

I'm a fast reader too and I struggle with dwelling on the Word and not just reading it to get it read. This post was a good reminder to slow down.

Cindy said...

Your post has a lot in common with mine, mipa! :)

This is my first visit to your blog. Lovely!

Bonnie W said...

I love the smell of lavender - those bees have a real taste for the best. Lavender honey sounds so delicate -a real treat.
Thanks for your visit to my blog and your encouraging words!

Jennifer said...

I loved your post. I have been blessed with a very similair gift and I do find I get more out of the Bible when I slow down. Sometimes I have to read with a pen in hand to force myself to go slow enough to take notes on pertinent passage.


Camy Tang said...

That is so cool that you can read fast! I'm completely jealous!

I loved the picture you painted of the honey bees (an dht lavender honey sounds pretty good, too!). So beautiful!


Tami Boesiger said...

LOVED your tea image. It helped me do my own post.

Taya said...

I would love to "steep" in the stories of the bible! Great post! Blessings!

Wendell said...

"I want to relish it, to savor it, to let it totally digest into my being. I want it to change me, and that takes time." Amen

Amydeanne said...

I'm a skimmer! A horrible one for the most part! Thanks for the great words to chew on!

Darlene said...

You are so fortunate to be able to read quickly. I'm just the opposite. Sometimes I'll find that I read three pages, and my mind was on something else, so I often have to go back and reread. Argh! I don't know how I can read and be off someplace else at the same time.

Thanks for the inspiration today.

JennaG said...

I have a social work degree as well. I never used it though--I was pregnant right after graduation and have been home ever since!