Written By: Clarissa Mangaran

I’ve heard so many women say they wish they could read for fun, but they just don’t have the time or mental energy. And I have definitely been guilty of saying the same thing. Who has time for reading when there are kids to feed, bills to pay, errands to run, a house to clean, and laundry to wash, and fold, and eventually put away? The responsibilities of caring for the family, managing the household, and pursuing personal goals can leave little room for indulging in the simple pleasure of reading for fun.

The Struggle of Balancing Life’s Demands:

Life often feels like a never-ending juggling act. Raising children, taking care of my home, and pursuing my passions all compete for my attention. It’s so easy to become consumed by the tasks at hand. Martha vibes, anyone? She missed out on the presence of Jesus while trying to do it all.

Finding Spiritual Nourishment in Rest:

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” (Jeremiah 31:25)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalm 23:1-2) 

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

In the midst of a busy season, I find solace in the words of Scripture that remind me of God’s invitation to rest. Verses like these offer a comforting reminder that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that we would require moments of respite and renewal. Yet, it’s often our pride and fear that keep us from embracing these moments. Pride makes us believe that we can carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, while fear convinces us that everything will unravel if we dare to pause.

Choosing Intentional Living:

Amidst the noise of life, I’ve come to realize the value of intentional living. As a Christian woman, I believe that every aspect of my life should honor God. So, when I found myself on the brink of burnout, I decided to take a step back and reevaluate my schedule. Coming off an over-loaded schedule and gearing up to transition to another, I recognized the need for a mental break.

Rediscovering the Joy of Reading:

One way I chose to recharge was by reconnecting with my love for reading. For years, my reading had been limited to Bible studies, Christian references, and health-related books. I realized how much I missed the joy of indulging in works of fiction, so I set out to explore different genres that would provide a mental escape while being intentional about choosing books that aligned with my values.

Reaping the Fruits of Rest:

I have had a wonderful time! 

Since the beginning of June, I have read 28 novels, and that doesn’t include the other eight I DNF’d (Did Not Finish) because they failed to meet the criteria I had set for myself. I have laughed and I have cried. I have been on the edge of my seat, and I have been taken to faraway lands. I have spent a few nights staying up WAY too late just to see what happens. I discovered that my favorite genre is food-themed, cozy mysteries! The novels were not only entertaining but also opened doors for meaningful conversations with my family and friends.

Now that a few months have passed and our new school year is in full swing, I feel refreshed and excited to move forward! It was a much-needed mental break for me, and I am so glad I took the opportunity to get back into reading for leisure! I definitely can’t continue to read as voraciously as I did the last two months, but I will continue making it a priority to fit in reading for the fun of it!

Practical Steps for Embracing Rest:

I highly encourage you, friend, to pick up a novel and get started today! Borrow an audiobook if you only have time to listen to books while doing chores or running errands. Read before bed instead of scrolling through social media or watching television. Stop telling yourself you “should be doing something productive instead of reading.” 

If you’re ready to read more, check out the Libby App, for ebooks and audiobooks. You sign in through your library, so the availability of books is based on what your library has on hand. The Hoopla app tends to have more books available immediately, but you are limited to 5 free books a month. You also sign in through your local library. Then there’s obviously Audible through Amazon, but you pay for those books.

As women, we must recognize the importance of rest and renewal in our lives. I hope my journey of intentional living and embracing the rediscovered joy of reading encourages you to do the same. Together, let’s embark on a journey of rest, rejuvenation, and the joy of reading, one page at a time.