I love to read. I read, a lot. I could literally figure out a good hundred ways to reiterate this little fact.
At times, this has caused me some pretty serious problems. Namely, it has presented itself as an idol in my life, and I’ve had to address that more times than I would prefer to admit.
Today, there is nothing particularly new about the thoughts swimming inside of my head, but…sigh…I’ve realized the truth in a new way.
It’s like a brighter light got turned on over the issue, and, abruptly, I see what I failed to see before.
I’ve been lured into the fluff. STRAIGHT INTO THE FLUFF.
And I’ve been lying to myself…letting one of those niggling little, “it won’t hurt” lies burrow its way into my head.
Into my heart.
So, the fluff.
Let me just be really real for a second. Some of the things I’ve read over the last, say, ten years, has been complete and utter trash. GARBAGE. Stuff I wish I didn’t even know could be written. And, I am SO NOT a better or more well-rounded or more edified or fruitful person because of it.
Some of what I’ve read has been good…challenging…disquieting…some of it has made me look up to Jesus and recognize anew my need for a Savior…all of our need for a Savior…the reality that there is a Lord…that there is an answer and that not everyone has accepted that answer.
Then, there is the downright RICH…full of truth…pushing me outside of my comfort zone and into a space where I have to lean everything in me on Jesus or otherwise, I’d disintegrate.
Yeah, words have that kind of power with me sometimes.
Not sometimes…always. Words have power with me always.
And I’ve been a fool to let so many unfiltered…unplanned…useless words fill me up for so long. Letting them take up all the space and keep out that DEEP quiet that pushes me to really look to God. Letting them warp me and wrap me and shield me and hold me.
Letting them lure…in their own simple, fluffy way from what is REAL.
Part of me (the rather literal and occasionally TOO open part) is tempted to lay it all out there in a big way. Like make you a list.
But I won’t. Because not every book is FLUFF. Not every book ensnares.
But no other book is God’s Word, except, God’s Word.
I know that God has used books as a tool to teach me just as my flesh and the Enemy used them as a trap. The growth in my spirit because of the Spirit is slowly revealing to me where my boundaries need to lie. Where my heart has no need to tread.
James reminds us REPEATEDLY that the tongue and its release are deadly things. Words are to be used and approached and absorbed with caution. To be filtered, ultimately through the eternal Word.
Imagination and words can be powerful ways to communicate truth and reveal need. To give hope and to encourage character. I do not believe that doing away entirely with creative fiction is the way to answer this disquiet in my heart.
Instead, I desire to do away with literary complacency. To pursue more than just a casual fling with any old story. (Not to say that I desire to embrace literary snobbery, because I’m positive that won’t do me any good.)
I want to be pushed and pruned not stuffed and fluffed.
I want to be discerning in my approach to what I read because when God shreds me and peels back the layers and looks deep into the recesses of my heart…I have a strong inclination that He will find words….upon words…upon words residing there…and I shudder to think about what I am really full of….His word…or just fluff.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12