66 Books to Escape to from the Pressures of Life

God has blessed me time and time again through the small community of blog commenters who engage with me. Two weeks ago, we discussed the things about fiction that hinder us (born-again believers) as runners of the race marked out for us.

I’m grateful for friends who take the liberty to explore meaningful rabbit trails. One such friend said:

But then again, can reading even clean books become a waste of time?

Another wrote:

There was a time where every book I read hindered my relationship with God. Not because of the book in itself or the content, but because I relied on the books to calm my anxiety, instead of relying on God. Sometimes, I still have to ask myself, “why am I reading?”. Is it to have a good time reading a book or to run away from my anxiety or responsibilities again?

I think that second comment captured one of the pitfalls that avid readers fall into.

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We have commitments and responsibilities that wear down on us. We crave release from the pressures of everyday life. We turn to books because they so engage and grip us that we forget where we are. We escape to a world of fiction.

I’m not sure if it’s always bad to read in order to relax or unwind or escape. Maybe you have thoughts on that. But when we depend on books, I think there’s a problem. Books then take the place of the One on Whom we were designed to depend. That’s idolatry.

Some books are good in that they point us back to Christ. But there are 66 books that are holy – literally set apart from all other literature – because they’re inspired by the Holy Spirit in a way that no other book is. That’s right, I’m talking about the 66 books that you’ll find in the table of contents at the front of your Bible.

You say, “Really? All 66 books? What about Leviticus with all its outdated customs? What about Ezekiel and Daniel with all their confusing visions?”

Really.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

-2 Timothy 3:16

See, the 66 books of the Bible don’t provide oblivion during the fleeting minutes and hours that we’re reading them and then see us on our way. Rather we “escape” to them and are thoroughly equipped to go back into the world and do every good work which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Shall we talk?

  • What is your go-to haven of rest when you feel the need to escape life?
  • Is it okay to just read fiction to relax, wind down or escape? When?
  • How have you been equipped by unlikely books and passages in the Bible?
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17 thoughts on “66 Books to Escape to from the Pressures of Life

  1. When I looked at the title of this post, I was like “Wow, that must have taken a lot of time and effort to come up with so many books!” *face palm* C’mon, Leona! 🙂
    Q1: What is your go-to haven of rest when you feel the need to escape life?
    I don’t think I really have one, to tell the truth. 😉
    Q2: Is it okay to just read fiction to relax, wind down or escape? When?
    I think so. But I do really like your suggestion; to read the Bible would help a lot more than to read fiction. I’ll have to try that the next time I’m stressed.
    Q3: How have you been equipped by unlikely books and passages in the Bible?
    Well, I wouldn’t say that this is really “unlikely”, but when I was younger, I used to think that the Psalms were very boring and pointless (I know, I was horrible). But lately they have been a huge comfort to me. 🙂

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    1. Your comment was fantastic, Leona! 😀 Yeah, I agree it would have taken a lot of time to come up with another 66 books! I got the idea for this post from something I once heard a preacher say (David Platt, if you know of him). It was something to the effect of that the book of Leviticus has more power to conform us to the image of Christ than does any self-help book in a Christian bookstore because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit for that purpose. If I could remember the exact quote, I would have included in the post.

      I admit, my journal is more of my go-to haven than the Word of God, but those two places meet in the middle when I prayer-journal and I’ve found that to be a very enriching way to spend time. Do you ever journal (consistently or not)?

      Well, I used to feel just the same way about the psalms. I thought they were all the same – read one and you’ve read them all. But now I understand why others would say they’re such raw, honest expressions of human emotions. ❤ Do you have a favorite?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, the psalms all are really good! Some of them are surprising… like I wouldn’t expect someone to say something so openly, much less for God to choose it to be part of His Word. I guess that shows where He has work to do in me yet!

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  2. I read this and I was like, “Why would she suddenly do a post on 66 books she wants us to read? Weird. Jordy may have lost it …” And then I was like, “Ohhh! Makes so much more sense now ….”

    -What is your go-to haven of rest when you feel the need to escape life?

    Honestly? When stressed, I automatically think about one of my characters and start trying to pass of my emotions to them. It’s … really ridiculous. For instance, if I’m sad, I’ll think, “Well, how would Alice react to grief?” or “Hmm, I should give Ivy these emotions …” and then I can just … get away. It’s what I do. And I know it’s not right, but I do that!

    -Is it okay to just read fiction to relax, wind down or escape? When?:

    I do think it’s all right, although it’s definitely not going to help as much as reading the Bible. To me, reading is not really an escape. Writing is. Talking to people online can be, too. I think reading is more of an entertainment or an accomplishment for me. Writing, though? Could definitely become a major idol. I have to watch for it!

    -How have you been equipped by unlikely books and passages in the Bible?:

    I can’t think of any ways at the moment. I use Psalms to calm me down or refocus and the epistles to get me to focus and Genesis to inspire me. If I want to feel indignant, I’ll read about Jesus’ life. I don’t know why, but reading it just makes me feel so angry. “How dare you treat my God that way?!” *would probably have done the same because we’re all human*

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    1. Heheh. Apparently my post title was a bit of a head-turner. Hopefully it didn’t set anyone up for disappointment!

      Sometimes I don’t know how to respond to your comments. lol You admit doing things you “know aren’t right” in you own words and I’m like, “how do I respond to that?” Well anyway. I have a very vivid memory of one particular time when I was angry. I tried turning the situation I was mad at into a story to vent my feelings. Instead of it being a haven of sorts, it was really just a place where the feelings kept boiling and simmering. A similar thing happens when I journal, and that’s how I learned that there’s a big difference between journaling and *prayer*-journaling. The latter, I’ve found, gives me rest and peace and closure.

      I agree; Genesis is pretty inspiring given all the interesting stories within. Although, I’ve been reading Acts, recently, and it gives Genesis a run for its money! I mean, two men in prison. An earthquack and the chains fall off and the doors open to ALL the prison cells. The guard on duty is about to commit suicide when he sees it, thinking that all the prisoners have escaped. But one of the prisoners stops him and shows him that no one has run away. The prison guard asks how he can receive eternal life, then invites the prisoner to his home right in the middle of the night while he’s meant to be on duty and him and his family all believe in the name of Jesus and are baptized. Then, before the night is over, everyone returns to the prison and things go one. Ha! I was blown away by that story when I read it recently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah, I wasn’t disappointed. I was kinda like, “Well, I’ll read it anyway, but I have like a zillion books to read already ….” 😉 Those 66 books? Well, I can definitely make room for them! 😛

        I’m sorry if I make you uncomfortable! I didn’t mean to do that. I guess I just was born painfully honest. XD I’ll quit. Anyways, yeah, I’m the same about keeping a diary. I always end up either not writing anything, scribbling nonsense, or being angry. Or just recounting the day’s events in a monotone. I just wasn’t meant for it …

        Well, I mostly find Genesis inspiring because I look at it and I go, “Oh. This is how the world was made,” and it just confirms everything I believe? I don’t know if that’s strange or not, but just reading Genesis makes me think, “It’s the only way!” and it just confirms my beliefs in God in a big way. Besides, I see so many parallels in the account with history and science. 🙂

        Yes, that is an incredible story! You wouldn’t believe it could happen, but it did! 😀

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      2. Oh, I don’t think it’s necessary for you to quit. Being honest isn’t something I want to discourage, you know? I guess I was just taking my turn being honest when I said I sometimes don’t know how to respond. 😉 Sometimes honesty (…being vulnerable?) is hard – for you or for them. I still think it’s usually a good thing. 🙂

        Yes, it’s good to remember where we come from – as well as where the rest of the world comes from. And that we’re accountable to Someone. And that we’re capable of creating because He is and because He created us to reflect Him in that way. I guess Genesis is inspiring on multiple counts!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just didn’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything. 🙂 Yes, that’s true. But ‘the truth shall set you free,’ right? 😉

        It is! It’s definitely one of my favorite books. Partially because I get Chronicles and Corinthians mixed up so I can’t remember which is my actual favorite. 😉 Which is weird because they’re not similar!

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      4. The letter to the church. However, I think it’s actually 1 and 2 Thessalonians that I actually love.

        Let me explain.

        So, I was telling mom how I love Corinthians best, and my mom was like, “Wait … I think you loved Thessalonians.”

        After which I looked it up and read it and that was what I was talking about. *facepalm*

        I’m bad with names …

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  3. Yes, course it is OK. We do need to keep God at the centre of things. I remember a mature missionary whom I admired suggesting to me that it was a good idea to use even non christian fiction to relax

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    1. Huh, really? Do you remember who said that? I’m interested in knowing the reasoning behind that idea. I… don’t think I agree with it, but I’m willing to learn about it. I mean, depending on the book in question, I wouldn’t say that it’s bad to read non-Christian fiction, but neither would I recommend it, or say that it’s a good idea. What do you think?

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  4. I was thinking similar things about the title as others:) I was thinking “Hmmm…that doesn’t sound too much like Jordy…” XD

    Anyway though, this is a great thing to think on! I definitely have thought of similar things as this post mentions. I struggle with more than just books though…anything that I do “just for fun” I often feel guilty for. I’m going to be digging deeper into this topic and hopefully reading some books on it because I think there should be a balance, but I’m not sure how to get it. I definitely agree with your thoughts though that fiction books even if they’re Christian can so easily take the place of the Bible and God in our life!

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    1. I’d be interested in reading up on the topic, too, especially since I don’t think I have the balance that you mentioned and that I agree I think there should be. Because the opposite extreme – the one that you mentioned and that I’m so prone to fall into – is to always feel guilt-ridden. Let me know what books you find on this topic. 🙂 Thanks for your comment. You’re always welcome here.

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