you read what you are

I was at another meeting of homeschool moms.  Tonight, the discussion topic was a book that only half of us had read.

I hadn’t read it.  And I’ll admit, I was slightly prejudiced against the book and the authors.

But listening to one mom, I thought it sounded like a fabulous book on parenting.

Hearing another, though, I was afraid it might be filled with too many rules and not enough grace.

I laughed as I concluded that you could easily think you were hearing reviews of ten very different books when in a room full of ten homeschool moms who were talking about only one book.

But as each mom jumped into the discussion, sharing what really struck her in what she’d read, I realized something else: each of these women had read this book through her own “filter.”  Each of them had read the pages of this book in light of their heart perspective.

The woman who memorized Scripture and spoke with His Words on her tongue had seen all of the biblical principles: she couldn’t say enough good about the impact on her heart and life of the verses the authors had shared.

The mom who obviously lived her life according to some external rules read the black and white that she saw the authors set forth, and cheered for no gray areas in which to get muddled.

The wife who felt a bit like she was going it on her own in some areas read about this amazing family and wanted her husband to read the book so they could do everything this family was doing.

The woman who had been skeptical thoughtfully read the why’s and realized some of these principles could be helpful in making life easier if applied to her own parenting.

Based upon who they were, each reader came away with a very different perspective on the book and its main points.

As a reader, it’s an interesting thought to consider.  Is this why, when I read a book looking for its good points, I rarely come up lacking?

As a writer, it’s an almost scary fact.  Is this why, no matter what you write, someone can always read it and find something to pick apart?

But as a one who wants to live my life according to The Word, something else hit home for me.  They say “you are what you read”, but it seems you also read what you are.  Which comes first?  And through what and Whose lenses will I read?


  1. I once heard John Stonestreet speak, and I can’t remember whether he was quoting someone else, but he said something I’ve remembered every since: Every book we read we should measure against what we believe. But the Bible is the only book we should measure ourselves against.

  2. I totally agree with that thought! For instance, I recently read a book called Revolution in World Missions and I loved it! I found it to be challenging, encouraging and inspiring. Then I recommended it to my sister. She got so stressed out reading the book that I finally suggested she stop reading it. All she could see in it was condemnation. But she had started reading that book with a much different perspective than I did. I read it with caution because I didn’t know who the author was and I also read it from the perspective of someone who is feeling a calling to missions. My sister, however, read it at my recommendation so she took everything the author said as being authoritative. This situation made me realize that I need to be careful how (and to whom) I recommend books. I should have warned my sister that I thought the author was a bit judgemental at times, so she should not take everything to heart. Her personality is more rules oriented than I am so we read the book from very different perspectives. I think you really do read what you are!

  3. As a reader the idea of reading everything through MY lense is okay. More than okay! I like my freedom to think for myself! As a writer the idea of everyone reading MY words through THEIR lense is … terrifying?!? Maybe “just” scary! 🙂 I suppose we ALL should be striving to read (and write) through the lense of the Bible. “What does GOD think and feel about such-and-such?” Of course there are thousands, if not millions, of opinions derived from the Bible too. But I know I want, as I read AND write, to “see” more and more and more of life through HIS lense rather than my own lense.

  4. I have also observed that it’s the same way in our daily interactions. We interpret others’ actions (Or, in effect, read their intentions) according to our preset ideas, perspective and impressions about that person. They can mean to communicate one thing, but we interpret it an entirely different way because we see them through our limited ‘lenses’. This is why it’s so important to be led by the Master in ALL areas of our life, even simple day-to-day contact. He’s the only one that sees all sides of the story, in addition to the correct one. 🙂
    Thank you so much for such a thought provoking post! I’ll have to chew on it a while!
    Much Love!

  5. Interesting perspective; I have to agree.
    You are what you read and then ultimately you read what you are (or the other way around!)
    Books have an amazing power to shape us.

  6. Interesting thoughts…I suppose this is why I can re-read something from years ago and perceive it completely differently. Lots to ponder here!

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