Five Fat Files
This idea is from one of my all-time favorite books, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George.
In her book, she discusses the importance of intentional spiritual growth. Instead of reading anything that comes your way, she suggests picking five areas you’d like to grow in and limit your studying to those five areas.
You’ll collect information as you go and before long, you’ll have five fat files. I am an avid reader, and to some extent I was already doing this. Except I had several areas of interest and I was definitely interested in narrowing it down to become an expert in five areas.
She gives lots of ideas in her book and examples of how women have grown and even been approached to teach classes on the subjects they decided to study.
My five areas are:
- Family (anything to do with marriage, family, parenting, and children)
- Home keeping (Organization, cleaning, menu planning, etc.)
- Homeschool (everything on the subject for now, since I’m new)
- Writing (Craft, technique, inspiration, and more)
- Discipleship (Especially anything geared towards mentoring girls and women)
The first thing you will do is set up your 5 files. This is the easy part, just label five files with your areas of choice. Deciding on five areas might be harder. I had to cut mine down from ten! Some more ideas include: The Bible, prayer, health, finances, joy, cooking, and anything you can imagine.
Pray over your choices, and then get started! You will put copies of articles, bible verses, book notes, sermon notes, URLs, bible studies and much more as you go. I use a notebook for Bible verses on each subject that I jot down as I come across them in my daily reading.
Since I have a lot of books on each of these subjects, I also included a book list of books I own that pertain to each subject, and where to find it on my bookshelf. (Find more ideas on filling your 5 fat files)
Right before I read this book, Eric brought home four large file drawers for me. Coincidence? I think not! I have a separate portable file for my Homeschool section, which I keep in our school area.
My other four areas now each have their own file drawer. I also have a standing file on top of the file drawers for quick storage. That way, I can file something at a later time and I don’t have papers all over my house.
Okay, that might not be totally true. But at least I don’t have my five fat files papers all over my house.
This idea really excites me for several reasons. Mainly, it gives a sense of purpose to my reading. It also organizes all those articles I want to save because I know I’ll use it someday. It makes me more selective in my reading, too, I am not reading for the sake of reading.
My five areas were carefully selected to reflect my priorities in life. I laughed when I finally settled on them, because at a glance, those five areas are, well…me. And that’s probably what your list should make you feel like, too.
You should enjoy your five areas, and be excited to learn more. If you can’t come up with five, just start with one or two and see where God takes you.
I would be very interested to hear if anyone else is using this idea, or thinking of starting. Let me know what your five areas are in the comment section and we can inspire each other!