I heard recently that one good question we should always be asking ourselves as followers of Christ is, “What is my next step to grow in my walk with Christ?”
For many of us, the answer is to start reading our Bibles more. And yet, we can have the BEST of intentions and still fizzle out fast. I would like to argue that intentions and feelings really can’t be trusted, even when it comes to our pursuits to know and love God more. So, if you are like me and you don’t always FEEL like reading your Bible, here are three steps to take to overcome those fickle feelings:
- Ask God for HELP!
God is not shocked one bit that you and me do not always feel like spending time in His Word. He knows that we are flesh and still struggle to fight against sin. I think we are a bit delusional to pretend as if God does not know what is going on in our hearts and minds at all times. So instead of playing games with Him, let’s just bring it to Him straight. It might look something like this:
“God, I need help! I know your Word is ALIVE and ACTIVE. I know that when I spend time reading my Bible that little by little I am learning more about you and loving you more. Help me to overcome my fickle feelings, my tendency to rely on myself or my belief that spending time with you will make you love me more. Help me to believe that you already love me more than I will ever know. Help me to read your Word with right motives, with no need to perform for your love and your acceptance. Thank you for giving me a copy of the Bible in my own language. And thank you for helping me to understand what I read a little more each time. Thank you helping me Jesus! Amen
2. Get a Plan
Without a plan we are all prone to use the Bible in ways God never intended us to. There are several pitfall ways of using the Bible, but one I am especially prone to without a plan is the Pinball Approach. Jen Wilkin says this about the Pinball Approach in Women of the Word,
“The Pinball Approach gives no thought to cultural, historical, or textual context, authorship, or original intent of the passage in question. It does nothing to help us gain understanding of the text beyond our immediate context.”
Jen Wilkin goes on to explain that when we read the Bible this way it is similar to opening up an Algebra book in the middle and randomly reading for ten minutes from wherever you open the book to. Instead, God wants us to understand how what we are reading fits into larger story of the Bible vs. pulling pieces out of the Bible and acting like it is all about us and our daily situation.
My favorite way to avoid the Pinball Approach is to simply sit and get cozy in one book of the Bible for awhile. If you are looking for a plan, we are about to start the book of Jonah here at Girl, Teach Me. Click here to see the info.
3. Automate the Decision
A plan is a great step towards automating the decision to get in the Word more often, but what do I mean by this. Anybody else have decision fatigue? What’s for dinner? What am I going to wear today? What classes should I take? Mom, can I have a snack? All of this can be a literal drain on our limited supply of mental energy, so I suggest making a pre-decision when it comes to reading your Bible.
In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about an idea called a Habit Stacking. A Habit Stack is where you take a habit you already have and then stack the new habit right on top. I believe this is why you see so many instagram pictures of people with their coffee and Bible. They have begun to associate the thing they drink everyday=coffee, with the habit of reading their Bible. For me it is Bible + Breakfast. I have a small window in the morning when the kids are mostly content playing and I just sit down and couple my breakfast with my Bible. Also, to help me not forget I leave my Bible, journal, commentary and pen all together within reaching distance of my seat at the kitchen island. What is a habit you have that already happens daily that you could stack your Bible reading on top of?
My final thoughts on Bible reading is that it is VERY similar to working out. Most of us do not naturally feel like working out, but if we have a plan, a friend meeting us, or even a trainer telling us what to do; it takes away much of the decision fatigue. And then after the workout, we usually have that feeling of, “wow, I’m so glad I worked out!” Same, same for reading the Word. We also usually do not see ourselves getting stronger or more lean, but little by little we are. I really like this quote from two-time Women’s World Cup Champion Mia Hamm about training, because part of what we are doing in the Word is training:
“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel”. -Mia Hamm
So let’s not leave our legacies up to our feelings and good intentions, especially when it comes to something as pivotal as time in the Word. Let’s ask the Giver of all good things for honest help, let’s get a plan and make a pre-decision to automate our time in the Word, as much as possible to add more fuel to our knowledge and love of the Lord.
If you need a plan to help get you in the Word more would you consider doing the Journaling Through Jonah Challenge with this community of women here at Girl, Teach Me? Jonah is great book to start with since it is only 4 chapters long. The challenge will start March 1st and will run for 7 weeks.
All you need is your Bible, a lined notebook, a pen and a bonus points for a friend to walk through this challenge with. If you don’t know anyone that would like to join you then simply join us on Instagram where you can connect to share your weekly takeaways and progress. Can’t wait to hear from you there!
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