"the list"

I've just gone through my bookshelves and compiled my "I've Read in 2010" list. I smiled as I wrote certain titles down, remembering their influence/impact on my thoughts. As sad as this is for an English teacher, I'm not much of a discriminating reader. I can edit and comment on students' papers like it's nobody's business and I always find and fix typos in books, but once I get into a story, I am sucked into the world of the characters. It doesn't really matter to me if it's poorly written or not, I just love a good story. I see the value and the beauty in good literature, but for the most part, cheesy Christian fiction gets me every time.

I don't watch TV. It's partially because we don't have cable, but I think it's mostly because I find my relaxation in fiction. Don't get me wrong, we love hulu and the one show we watch (Glee...April 13th can't come soon enough), but while Eric enjoys watching movies, I enjoy sitting next to him on our comfy free craigslist couch and reading a book.

Teaching can be overwhelming. There are always stressors; it's usually kids but often the politics and drama too. However, the last three weeks have been (and the next six months will be) really stressful at work. The last two years I've mostly let the budget crisis and pink slipping process roll off my back, but for some reason the last week all of the drama and fighting and stress really just got to me. I worried about whether or not I would have a job next year and I let my fears, worries, and doubts rule over me.

Because of this, I read ten books during the last week and a half. Most of them were enjoyed in the bathtub. Instead of numbing my mind with trash TV, I devoured fictional characters and their worries and fears. I guess it's times like these when I think I'm brainless for reading cheesy Christian fiction, I realize one important truth. The cheesy Christian fiction is not just fluff, it is instrumental in my life and my faith journey.

I read this evening about Caroline Fletcher, a woman caught between her love for a man, her fears, and her knowledge of the God's truth for her. The Civil War is raging right outside their door, but Eli reminds her to lean on Jesus and not fear.

As I sit in my safe, comfortable, and warm home fretting about not having a job next year, I am letting my fears win. Hearing the truth from Caroline and Eli reminds me to give up my burden and trust in the truth. It doesn't mean I'll have a job next year, but it does mean that God is replacing the fears, lies, and worries with truth. It doesn't mean the book was Pulitzer Prize material, but it does mean that God does, has, and will continue to speak to me through fiction that reveals his heart.

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