As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT
READING FOR A CHANGE
“Leaders are readers”, it is a simple statement but it is true. Leading others takes a tremendous amount of input and output, but maybe not for the reason you may think. When I talk to others about reading and personal growth, I often can begin to see their eyes glazing over. It is as if they thought that after college, there was no more need for reading.
What is the purpose of reading? The purpose of reading the Bible is so that we can begin to understand the language God speaks, and therefore when He speaks to us- WE WILL HEAR HIM, “The sheep know the Shepherd’s voice.” It is just as important to read books that expand our thinking from others that have spent perhaps their entire lives thinking, growing, and reprogramming their minds for the overcoming of the trials and tribulations in life.
Personally, I know that without the countless marriage books and leadership driven books that I have read- I wouldn’t be HALF the person I am today. Even the reading of the Bible can be turned inward (only reading it for personal gain), whereas when you couple reading the Bible with reading books written by other men and women of God who have written books to encourage… it really causes you to take your eyes off of yourself! Hallelujah! After all, the Bible says, “The testimony of Jesus IS the Spirit of Prophecy” Rev. 19:10. Reading testimonies and experiences written by others to encourage you, is both beneficial and required for your sustained success in life!
The sad truth is that not many people have “iron sharpening friends”. Most people were born at one sanction in life, and then stay there never moving ahead in their abilities or responsibilities. What happens when we read books by “winners”, is that we begin to see ourselves in their inner circle, with their friends, having their experiences. As you do this, and expose yourself to a myriad of different authors who have been put on this earth to develop others, your circle of influence will change.
WATCH WHAT YOU READ
Just because a book says it is “Christian”, doesn’t mean necessarily that it is. Do your research, make your OWN book list. Some “successful” people are successful with NO explanation, their biographies are more or less blank. We try and stay away from these types of authors. If it appears to be a “fad” it probably is. If a person has a book out for the first time, read up on their life before hand, what can you find out about them? What is on their website? If you have found them out to be open and forth right in their statement of beliefs… than go for it! If not, then steer clear, books are not just about WHAT you read… they are WHO you hang out with!
A NEW COMMITMENT
In addition to writing, I have started a new reading commitment, and in this commitment, I am committed to setting a goal of reading 50 pages a day. Here are the nine books that I am starting out with and their page numbers:
- Just As I Am, Billy Graham, 865
- Thinking For a Change, John C. Maxwell, 257
- Christ the Healer, F.F. Bosworth, 247
- Decision Points, George W. Bush, 481
- The Circle of Innovation, Tom Peters, 499
- Developing the Leaders Around You, John C. Maxwell, 213
- Created for Excellence, Kevin Baerg, 187
- The Quick & Easy Way to Effective speaking, Dale Carnegie, 218
- Rediscovering the Kingdom, Myles Monroe, 227
I must admit that it was 11:30pm when I finished reading last night, and Billy Graham was getting more and more distant as I was starting to nod off, but I did it and I am excited to do it again! These authors are becoming my friends! How good is it to know Jesus? AWESOME! Just as reading the Gospel gives you THE MOST powerful association, having friends like John Maxwell and Dale Carnegie… what a blessing, let me tell you!! Who are you “associating” with? Have they done anything truly GREAT?
THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO PITCH TO
While reading yesterday, this statement stood out:
“When you expose an idea to the right people, incredible things can happen. The original thought often grows, along with its vision, power, and impact. Who are the RIGHT people to stretch a vision? They are the ones who LOVE you and embrace your vision, who know you and strengthen your vision, and who complement you and enlarge your vision. They are the few who stretch a thought before you and land it with many.
The people in your life impact your thinking, for better or for worse, so why not work strategically to find people who will stretch your potential? Make it a goal to find people who will add value to you in areas that are important to you. (And make yourself available to do the same for others.) This will take your thinking to a whole NEW level.” page 41, Thinking For a Change- John C. Maxwell
Contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT need to find the most intelligent, richest, connected people in this world to share your ideas with. All you need is to find those who love you and support you, and let them help you come up with something extremely special. It might be your Pastor, a friend, a sibling, a parent. Begin sharing your vision with the right people today, and quit looking JUST for the “gifted”, you might be over looking the right team… right where you are at!
If you are having trouble getting yourself to read try these tips:
Tony Robbins once taught that we must associate the feeling of pleasure whenever we face a task that we may not want to do. If your usual feeling response toward reading is a negative one, you will be less likely to do it. However, if you can begin instilling and triggering in yourself a positive reaction in the area of reading, you will be more apt to do so, here are some of my tips:
- DESSERT = READING: Have a cup of coffee or tea and indulge in a cookie or two when you sit to read. Reserve your dessert until reading time only.
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE TV IS OFF?: Turn off the TV at least 2 nights a week, eventually you will want to fill that time up with SOMETHING (try reading!).
- BOOKSTORE BLISS: Go to the Bookstore and read there.
- PAGES READ = CHUCK E CHEESE?: Kids read when they see their parents read, start a FAMILY reading chart and see who can read the most books first. Have a reward set at a certain page number for the WHOLE crew.
- A SPOT SET ASIDE: Set the morning alarm early, and find a place. Find a place in your home where you can snuggle up but remain alert.
- SUNNY DAYS ARE HERE AT LAST: Put a chair under a window, and sit in the sun when you read.
- CAR UNIVERSITY: Read out loud to the family in the car, I have had the opportunity to read hundreds of books as my husband drives along, it does us BOTH good!
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More articles by Jessica: In the last two years, Jessica has written nearly 300 articles on all types of subjects you can read them here: http://wholeheartedministries.com/articles