- Reading them, soaking in everything and believing it, living and preaching it….. until the next self-help book you read, when you start over.
- Reading them, measuring their words against your own insight and experience, and using them as a tool to learn more without necessarily gulping down every word.
- Skipping them entirely.
When I was a little girl, attending catechism classes, I asked my Dad a question of great profundity. In catechism, I was told that God was a part of each of us. I was only 6 or 7 years old and this was beyond me.
Here’s what my very wise Daddy told me: God IS within each of us. He is that small voice that tells me when I should do or not do something; He is in that part of me who cries for the pain of someone I have never met; He is that place in my heart that wants to take home every orphan, and feed everyone I think is too skinny, and embrace every lonely old soul. When I feel my patience is at its very end, and a warm feeling of compassion comes over me and lets me be patient for a while longer, that is Him. And IF I learn to listen, God is working in me when my limited wisdom comes to me in flashes of clarity.
Flashes of clarity. You know those times when, for some reason, another person’s true intention is clear to you even though they try to conceal it? Maybe the clarity comes when you are faced with a problem, or a friend needs guidance, and you discover that somewhere from your own brain comes an answer of beautiful simplicity. When someone is hurting or in need and you can see what they need to heal them or help them? That is your flash of clarity. Is there a greater evidence of God within us than this?
What can a book really tell you, then, except maybe remind you of what you already know?