Jesus told us, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” RB and I have some dreams for the rest of our lives — dreams that will never be met when we are taking care of a big house and forty-plus years of “stuff.” I’ve heard the Lord whispering, “Life consists of far more than food and clothing.” I’ll add to His list — Books.
A reader has books, and a writer has more books. Since I’m a rather eclectic reader, my library contains a wide range of genres. Here’s what I’ve found: I rarely read novels a second time, so it’s not hard to get rid of them. But the others…I may NEED them. Those titles cowered in the corner of the bookshelf, hoping to escape my scrutiny, pushing their neighbor to the edge so I’d pick them instead. All the while my Kindle was happy dancing because I wasn’t deleting him.
I couldn’t part with my Alexandra Stoddard set. I’m not sure I’ll ever read them again, but they hold such special memories of my mother, sister, and me collecting each one, and implementing the author’s ideas of “Living Beautifully.” Randy Alcorn’s “Safely Home” couldn’t go. It touches my soul and challenges me to give my all to God. I need Max Lucado books. I think he’s one of the best wordsmiths ever. The books on grief, kindness, Bible studies… See my problem?
My Joy books all stay. Their yellow spines make me smile. And the truths about joy are shaping my joy journey. In “Surprised by Joy,” C. S. Lewis says, “This idea of Joy is not a satisfied desire but an unsatisfied desire ─ a deep longing for God, a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends and is more satisfying than any earthly happiness.”This idea of Joy is...a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends. C. S. Lewis Click To Tweet
But there were many books on my shelves that didn’t hold my heart. So I grabbed a couple stacks I could sell. Some craft books, books for a project already completed, biographies, etc. I went to Book Scouter and plugged in the ISBN numbers. They list 18 places that will buy your book for various amounts. In one evening I made $234.00. Letting go of the books was suddenly easier.
I made one rule: For every five books I read (I read 100+ a year), I will read one off my shelf. Then I will decide if it’s one I need to keep.
Jesus doesn’t want us to worry about “things.” I lost most of my books in a house fire 30 years ago, and didn’t care at all — they didn’t hold a candle to losing our Sarah. But books do bring me joy. So, I’m keeping some, selling some, and giving away some. And we’re a few pages closer to our dreams.
I’d love to hear how you keep your books under control. Do you have a system to decide which ones to let go?