Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. – Ecclesiastes 12:12b
How long would I have to spend reading to read everything there was to read? Would it make me a better writer?
I understand the advice to writers that tells us if we want to write well, we need to read. A lot. But when is enough, enough? When do we go from the reading to the writing?
I’ll be the first to admit that my bookshelf is probably nothing close to yours. I love to read, yes, I do. I read everything from cereal boxes to shampoo containers, magazines to novels, encyclopedias to Bible commentaries. I read it all. I’ve never been to college, never had a creative writing course, and have never read The Elements of Style. I don’t have a BA, a PhD, an MFA or anything more than the title of MOM.
Sometimes when it’s dark and gloomy outside and I’m playing my pretend violin, whining to myself about how pathetic I am, I let the lion in. You know him, the one who roams around seeking whom he may devour. I get all balled up in the fetal position and I let out the sounds of wounded prey. He must smell the stink of self loathing because he’s there with his jaws clamped on my throat.
It is at that moment that God reminds me with His words: But it was to you that I revealed these things by My Spirit. For My Spirit searches out everything and shows you My deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know My thoughts except My own Spirit. And you have received My Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so you can know the wonderful things I have freely given you. (1Cor2:10-12)
What book in the world can compare to the knowledge given to me freely by God? Not even the Bible. As Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” But the Spirit that lives in this earthly body does not cause the weight that pushes me into that fetal position, no, my Spirit lifts me onto the wings of eagles and carries me when I am weak. He whispers in my ear delicious words of praise and love. “Love yourself as I love you,” He says.