Jan 9, 2018

Dear Reader | See Words Differently

I'm a reader.  I read novels and blogs.  I read emails and essays.  I read textbooks and letters.  And I read my Bible.

If you're here, you must be a reader too.

I've discovered that when my eyes scan over written words, I fall into similar patterns.  I read books quickly without going in depth.  I click on an email, my eyes scan over it, and I click away.  When I get into a routine, it's dangerous.  I'm threatened to miss out on so much.

I want to change that.  I want to read things differently and reach their full potential.  As a reader and writer and Christian, I don't want to live in routine.

Over the course of the next three weeks, my goal is to encourage you to see things differently, namely reading.  I'm going to cover three different labels we give ourselves and see if we can discover something more.

At the end, perhaps we can have a discussion to tie it all together.  But let's jump in and find out how to read differently.

Dear Reader,

It's easy to take words for granted.  I do it all the time.  We live in an age where knowledge is readily available.  At the touch of our fingers, we have access to the endless world of the internet, which can open us up to great opportunities and great danger.

One of the dangers is this: we start to take people for granted.  We read blogs, reply to emails, and scan over articles flippantly.  We scroll through the many avenues of social media to fill our time.  Maybe we do this to fill an emptiness deep inside that would otherwise tear us apart.

But we can't do this anymore.  Haven't we hidden long enough?  There's a real world out there, and we can't run to the temporary world of novels and media to hide what's inside us.

Words are powerful, but we can't let them take us away from what's most important.

True Believers in love with Jesus are told to love the Lord their God with all (Deuteronomy 6:5).  Are we filling our heart and soul and using our strength to read what is building us up?  Are we joyfully filling our minds as Christ wants us to with,

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.

Is reading merely an excuse to run away from life and embrace the exciting world of fictional characters or social media?

Reading in and of itself is not bad.  I have been encouraged many times by written words.  That's also why I seek to write words that bring hope to others.

The question is why do we read?

But there's another problem readers often run into.

We're surrounded by words.  Information runs around us begging for our attention.  Authors struggle to find willing publishers because many of them are overwhelmed by the amounts of stories turned in.

The internet is overflowing with articles and blogs and other forms of media.  Twenty-six little letters can form millions of words that are twined together to create messages and stories and meanings beyond numbers.

However, we can't let the overflow of words drown out the truth that someone wrote them.  An author out there poured their heart into the words.  Every sentence you read has meaning and purpose.

A name isn't a number.  It's a person.  Every message you read and every person you come in contact with has dreams.  They're looking for something.  So share a little bit of Jesus with them.

A book has an author.  An email has a sender.  We can't read every story or encourage every person in the world, but we can make a difference in that one person.  That doesn't mean you can't leave a negative review when you read a poorly-written book, but in everything we do we must do it to bring a smile to Jesus' face and spread His story of Love.

My friend, don't read because you're "a reader".  If you read, do it to grow in Christ or draw others towards His heart.

Each day is made up of minutes, and our lives consist of days.  We must live each minute in a way that counts. If we don't, how will our lives ever make a difference?

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.



  1. I think it’s easy - especially for me sometimes - to fall in a routine where my eyes just scan the words. You’re right, there’s a person behind those words. And even though we can love reading we can’t use it to escape life.... I have to admit that for a while I did that. I just memorized Philippians 4:8, it has an important message. I was just reflecting the other night about how powerful words can be, and as writers we can use them for the glory of God. And in our day to day lives we can bring people up or tear them down.
    Anyways, thanks for this post Hosanna. And for this reminder and the challenge it brings. Especially thank you for writing from your heart :).

    1. I've been in the same place, Sarah, that's why I felt so passionate writing this post. Words have power. James 3:7-8 says that every beast and bird has been tamed, "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." It's an amazing honor and warning to realize that our words can build others up or tear them down. As Christ followers, are we speaking, writing, and reading in His love?

      Let's live out that radical love. =) Thank you for sharing here. Your words are an example of ones that point me to Jesus.

  2. Thanks for this, Hosanna! I especially need to hear (er, read) this, as I am an incredibly fast reader. It's nice...but I usually don't remember anything after reading it. So a reminder to slow down and remember /why/ I'm reading...it's much needed. Especially as I start a new year and attempt to read more, write more, and take more time into caring for those I'm in contact with.
    Thanks. :)

    1. And thank you for sharing such encouraging words, Julian! I just visited your blog, and it's so nice to find another writer with a passion for Jesus. =) Let me know if you ever need help or encouragement in your writing journey or if you need to fan girl a little; I'm right here. =)

      It's certainly not wrong to be a fast reader. In fact, it's often very helpful (I'm thinking of certain college textbooks I've had to go through, haha). But when it comes down to relationships, slowing down and loving is so important. We can't forget Who we are reading, writing, and living for. =)

      As a fellow writer, let's make a difference by writing for Him and loving those we come in contact with!

  3. WOW. This is very thought-provoking and convicting, Hosanna! Especially for me, as I'm usually a speed-reader, and realizing the worth behind each word is so vital. (Especially with the Word! It's much easier for me, though, in that area to slow down and read carefully.)
    Thank you for this- for writing so honestly and for His glory. xx

    1. Isn't it interesting how we get into routines for everything we do, Emily? When I read a textbook, I read as fast as I can (while still trying to understanding what it means). When I read the Bible or my own writings, I read slowly and pick out individual aspects. I think there's a place for both.

      For instance, when we read our own writing, it's good to slow down and put on our picky, grammar role. But if we don't sometimes speed up and read as other readers would, we won't know the value of it as a whole. Both are needed and necessary.

      When it comes to relationships and people, slowing down is so vital, as you said. We can't Love if we're rushing through life. Who are we living for?

      Thank you for sharing your words and bringing a smile to my face. It's good to talk with friends and especially sisters in the faith. =)

  4. Hi Hosanna,
    This was a really good, encouraging post. I felt challenged because I'm more of a speed reader, but lately I have been learning to take my time, especially when I'm reading the Bible. :) I agree, there's a place for both speed and slow reading.

    Thank you for your posts. I enjoy reading them. :)


    1. Hello Ashley! I'm glad this post encouraged you to evaluate how you read. It's so important that we do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). One thing I often forget is the reason behind reading. We read the Bible to strengthen our relationship with Jesus. We read books to learn and emails/letters to love the person at the other end. It needs to always have a purpose. =)

      I appreciate you sharing! Keep living for His glory, my friend. =)


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