What you fill your mind with will control you.
I popped a sermon tape into a portable cassette player and took it with me on the road. It was a recording of my grandfather’s radio show, and he was telling a story about how an old lady accurately prophesied his wife’s death six months before she passed.
But that’s not the focus of today’s rumination.
I’ll expound upon that another day. Today I want to focus on something else Grandpa Lennard said that rocked my world. He confessed to reading the entire Bible SIX TIMES per year ON TOP OF his regular daily Bible study. SIX TIMES!
If you, like me, have read the entire Bible once in a year, you know how much perseverance that takes. Wading through the legalese of Leviticus and Numbers can be excruciating.
But six times??? I can’t even imagine how many hours that took each day. I mean, is that even humanly possible? If he had used my exact Bible, he would have read 6,288 pages. And naturally he did other Bible study. Naturally.
Imagine how that would change your thinking.
I’m imagining it. If I read that much Scripture, I would eat, sleep, drink, and breathe Scripture. There’d be no room for anything else in life. And yet… Grandpa Lennard traveled the world preaching the gospel and healing the sick for decades.
I can’t let it go. It feels like a gauntlet has been passed.
We’ve all binged on a show here and there. The age of Netflix and DVD sets is upon us, and it’s way more compelling to follow the storyline in a short period of time than to wait a week or two or twelve between episodes (LOST anyone?). And I must confess, when I’ve binge-watched a show, it seeps into me. It alters my dreams. My precious sleep time forms storylines that relate somehow to the story I’ve watched hour after hour after hour.
Which reminds me of a quote I can’t escape:
You become what you behold.
Whatever you gaze upon most often has the greatest power to shape your thinking, expectations, beliefs, and behaviors. It’s so subtle we sometimes don’t recognize it happening, but it’s happening. Music, movies, songs, videos, gossip, and social media all worm their way into our psychological DNA. They influence who we are.
We typically don’t WANT this to be true, because it calls us to a higher level of personal accountability. But knowing that what we behold shapes who we are empowers us to decide whether we actually want to keep choosing to be the same person. If you don’t like who you are, look first at what you behold. What do you most often watch, read, listen to, eat, touch, and daydream about?
You are forming reactions to those stimuli. You are compensating for their messages. You are adapting to make room for their truths.
And if that’s true about less than ideal inputs, it’s true about ideal inputs. Which brings me back to Grandpa Lennard.
The Call to Action
I’m not pretending to try to read the Bible six times this year. C’mon, man! I got three kids, two businesses, a homestead, goats, chickens, cats, dog, and a garden. I shut down and crawl into a fetal position sometimes. But reading once a year again might be worth it.
There are mindsets I’ve never attained, levels of faith I’ve never acquired. And I can’t help but attribute this to the quality of my inputs. I’ve dreamed of a version of me that sees the world differently. That Daniel sees into the spiritual landscape of a geographic area and calls that which isn’t into being, somewhat like lassoing a unicorn.
But you don’t lasso the unicorn by sitting on a couch eating Cheetos (or non-GMO potato chips made from avocado oil).
I want to elevate my thinking.
So I’m stepping up my game to read the Bible in one year. And that’s on top of other reading I do to better myself, including poetry, audiobooks, and podcasts.
What are YOU going to do to be a better YOU?