Every year I start with these big aspirations of what I want to do. I have all these goals and pretty pictures of who I’m going to become within the next year. But when Christmas rolls around, and I find that list of last years “resolutions”, I’m often met with a big old thud in my gut: I failed AGAIN.
I don’t know about you, but I am willing to bet that you understand this feeling. We are so bad at sticking to our guns… at making things a priority, even if it’s hard to follow through.
The thing I am absolutely worst at is reading the Bible. I struggle to make it a habit, and every time I’ve tried a reading plan, I fail before I’m even halfway through. So what’s our deal?
I think the main problem is this: We set ourselves up for failure by making goals that are unattainable. Reading 15 chapters of the Bible every single day of the year is not practical. It is possible, but the fact is that our lives are busy.
Some days it just isn’t going to happen. And if you only read half, or forget a day or two, you’re suddenly stuck with 45 chapters. This is when we give up and say “I’ll try again next year.” Does this sound like you?
Last year, I had a light bulb moment. An old friend sent out a Bible Reading Plan for the New Year. He encouraged us to just check off the passages as we went along and to not worry about sticking to a schedule.
This has been seriously life-changing for me. Right now, I am in mid-September for my readings. While I am two months behind, this is the longest I have EVER stuck to a plan! And I feel so good! I’ve read most of the Bible through, I’ve enjoyed it, and I haven’t felt pressured by my own expectations.
So this year, I encourage you to try this new reading plan. Print it out and fold it up to put in the front of your Bible. Check off the passages as you go.
If you’re in a season where the Old Testament isn’t even understandable and you’re struggling to focus, try reading the Psalms for a week. If you’re feeling really excited about studying, dig into Leviticus! You can skip around and do whatever you please. Just check off passages as you go and get immersed into God’s word!
I think that as Christians we so often let ourselves fall into legalism – we don’t even realize that we are heaping it upon ourselves! God’s plan is for us to have FREEDOM, to experience JOY, and to have a life of ABUNDANCE with him. Reading our Bible should not be any different.
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This year I have experience great freedom, joy and abundance of learning by giving myself freedom in my reading goals. If I don’t have a plan, I don’t read. But if I have too strict of a plan, I feel defeated and I give up.
Don’t let your goals be legalistic and keep you from growing. Let God use your plans to help you grow in freedom and joy. Praying for peace & abundance for you in this coming year.
Happy New Year!