Every year I read the bible in its entirety. I am among those who believe that that every word is somehow useful, even when it seems hard to imagine. In order to read the bible every year I follow a list of readings, the one I choose actually condenses matters so that it has just 5 days a week, this gives me time to catch up if I miss a day or two; or to get ahead if I read daily. It takes a bit longer each day but it feels like a gracious and kind way to approach the project and helps me to succeed. Besides, if it takes a bit more time each day isn’t the whole point that I want to spend time with the Lord and his word anyways?
This past year I combined this reading with a psalm reading plan that took me through the full psalter every 60 days, again, this meant a bit more time but that is what I wanted. It is the last day of November and I have finished the bible (still a few psalms to read though:). It feels great!
1) I can’t tell you how many ways I have been able to share an insight or a story with someone because it was fresh on my mind, how many times someone asked for advice and I had some fresh word for them, nor how often I myself needed to hear something to refresh my soul or to guide my path and I read what would otherwise be a random bit of scripture that I would never have looked to in the circumstance and yet God in his mercy showed me exactly what I needed for the day.
2) I know you probably don’t have time, I have three kids, a busy job, and a workout schedule that keep me busy. The weird thing is that my time in the morning makes the rest of the day feel expansive, there is time enough to complete what I need to complete if by 8:30 am I have done whatever my workout of the day is and spent time with Jesus. Every. Single. Day. There is a sense of accomplishment when I get to my office having already completed much of what I consider the critical work in life, time with my God, my body, and my family.
The time involved is multiplied as if by magic. Like how people say that when they get better at giving more money away they find themselves with more and more funds (certainly I have seen this first hand and know many others who have too). In the same way the time invested in bible reading creates more time despite their still only being 24 hours in a day.
3) The sense of accomplishment is high when the year comes to an end and I can see all those little marks that tell me of my discipline this year. I always find it funny how many different pens get used as I work though the year. Lots may not have gone “my way” in a given year but if I end it having read that book, well then something good and important has taken place despite whatever challenges have come my way. I guess we all want a bit of control and this is one way I can exert some in my life. I suspect you can too.
I want to encourage you to decide upon a practice (journalling, gratitude, hospitality, fasting, prayer-walking, praying with beads, etc) and then find a way to make it approachable for you. The practices are not ends in themselves they are a means to an end; a life with a vibrant faith, and that means that they can all be adapted to fit your personality, your day, your stage of life. No one can do that work for you but the Holy Spirit might guide you if you ask him.