I have a secret addiction.
And I’m finally going to come clean and admit it to the world.
I am completely addicted to books. (And chocolate, too, but we’ll discuss that another day).
Books, you say? What’s so bad about having an addiction to books?
Well, being addicted to books is a great thing in my life, but it is also a huge stumbling block to me. I’m not reading romance novels, digging into occult material, or perusing porn. Nope, I’m reading parenting books, marriage books, homemaking books, and Christian living books. Sometimes four or five at a time. Each book passes on all kinds of information in new and interesting ways, I’m well aware of my personality type, the various parenting styles, do’s and don’ts in marriage according to everyone with a master’s degree in psychology, every possible routine for house cleaning and organization….
And how is this bad, other than obviously becoming a niche geek? It’s bad because books have become my drug, my source of answers for life’s issues rather than a deep desire to hear personally from Jesus.
This problem has developed over time, but is now serious. Whenever I struggle with a parenting situation, instead of falling on my knees and asking God for help, I run to my parenting books to look for wisdom. (After all, they can probably hear better from God than me, right?) When my husband and I get into a fight that seems hopeless, I hightail it to Barnes and Noble to get a coffee and see if any Christian author I respect has put out a new marriage book. When I can’t figure out how to get myself organized and make everything in my life look polished and in control, I bust out my personality books again and try to determine what weakness in being an INFJ melancholy-sanguine dominant intuitive enneagram #2 and 4 person is causing me to screw up this time.
Each time, I find a book that seems to have an answer. And, for a short while, I get a confident high…if I can just implement this new thing, I will get it all together. But then, in a matter of time, I crash again. Something isn’t working the way it should. And off I am to the bookstore or Amazon.com again, desperate to find that volume that will calm my nerves again and boost my confidence in being a wife, mother, and person who is contributing to society and the kingdom of God.
I need an intervention. I want to break free of this compulsion I have to run to humans for wisdom instead of the Almighty who knows intimately every detail about me.
I’m not saying in any way that books are bad…the ability to read and write are gifts from God. But when they replace in me a desire to go first to my Creator for wisdom and help, then they are an idol, and so are the humans behind them that I have mounted up on pedestals.
Somewhere deep within me I am afraid that God won’t or can’t help me. Maybe on a higher level, but really, will he provide the practical answers I need for daily life? Like, with a crazy personality like I have, what is the best way to maintain my home? Or, will he show me exactly how to discipline my child in this specific instance? Or, will he really help me get my daily priorities straight in such a way that I don’t leave anything important out?
Then again, have I really given God the chance to help me? Looks like I’ve basically written him off before I ever gave him the opportunity to show me what he could do. I’m so afraid that if I put away my “wise” books for a time and rely solely on his instruction that all my balls will drop, my house will become even more chaotic, and people will scoff at me.
People. So, this is what it all comes down to. People pleasing again.
I’m so acquainted with this phenomenon. Maybe I should write a book about it.