I used to read self-help blogs. A lot of them. My feedly was loaded with them. “Become a better human. Do this or that to build better habits.” I found them so interesting. I was drawn to them.
Self-help offers a lot that’s attractive. But after I looked through my blog feeds and subscriptions, it had become quite apparent that I was consuming a lot of these articles every day.
On the flip-side, I wasn’t reading my Bible nearly as much. As a Jesus follower, this made me uncomfortable, and for good reason. As helpful as these articles were, I was way more focused on and thoughtful of all the self-help advice I was filling my mind with, and in doing so, drifting further and further away from Scripture.
It’s not just a book – the Bible is life-giving, containing truth for all of life’s biggest questions. While I wasn’t necessarily making a conscious choice that self-help was better than God’s truth, I’d been living my life as if I had.
I’m not trying to say that self-help is necessarily wrong, but as a follower of Christ, His Holy Spirit in me is more than sufficient for any positive transformation. Maybe you’ve never been deterred in being able to trust in and rely on His Spirit, but there’s a better question than whether something is right or wrong.
The question is, what was the wise thing to do? And for me it was plain and simple. I was so distracted, and so preoccupied with that which was not most important to me. My dominant influence had changed. And you’ll find it’s difficult to renew your mind with God’s word when it’s no longer the prime influence in your life.
That wasn’t it, either. This might sound strange to some of you, but my ability to love others had been affected too. Perhaps it was because I had become so inwardly focused. Or maybe it was my time away from meditating on God’s word. Maybe it was both. Regardless, I knew things had to change.
Now, all this is not to say that you need to stop reading any self-help blog or book out there. Or maybe it really is something you might need to do. It’s not about right or wrong. Instead, what is the wise thing for you?
If you are a Christian though, or a Jesus follower, then I have to ask, who or what is your dominant influence? If it’s not Jesus, if it’s not God’s Word, if it’s not His Spirit, then who or what is it? It’s a question worth giving yourself the time to answer. You can’t really be a follower of someone you don’t really follow.