Read the entire Bible in a year… Sure, I thought, I’ll try that. Chronologically? Intriguing! I’ve always wondered what order all those old testament books actually go in. I would love to get some context on the prophets. But stick to it? 365 days straight? You’re kidding, right?
You see, I have always known that I should be doing quiet times every day. I should be spending time in God’s word daily. I should have the follow through to make it a priority, even when life is crazy, or the kids are crazy, or my work is crazy, or when… you get the idea. There are a lot of things that can seem “more important” in the here and now. I have to make my lunch. Ashlynn has to go to the bathroom. Sharilee needs to be fed.
I tend to be the kind of person that jumps into things, and does really well at first. I have done Bible reading programs before that were supposed to take a year, and somewhere around Leviticus I have fallen off the wagon. My most recent one year Bible plan took about 18 months. I made it, but only because it was a forgiving plan that had a “Catch Me Up” button that meant it would look like I had always been on pace to finish on February 12. I mean March 16. I mean April 30. Yeah – that was when I was supposed to finish.
This “Chronological Bible” plan is less forgiving. There are readings assigned to each day. If you miss on February 14, what do you do on February 15? When Pastor Nick introduced “Grace Mondays” I balked. Would that make me feel like this was possible? Would I be able to give myself grace on Mondays to skip back to where I was supposed to be? Would I feel like I was cheating?
But then, an interesting thing happened. I stayed on track. The realization that it didn’t matter where I was, on Monday I would be “caught up” made me stress less. And what I noticed each day has kept me more on track that anything else. Simply put: on days I do my Bible reading in the morning, no matter how late I am running, how many things are on my to do list, how many times Sharilee woke up hungry in the middle of the night – things just seemed less stressful. I made the mistake a few mornings early on deciding I was “running too late,” or “I’ll sleep a few extra minutes and catch up at night.” The results were obvious. I was a walking train-wreck of anxiety, frustration, and feeling like I needed to save the world all by myself. You see, God’s plan – get up early and meet with Him – has changed my priorities and focus back to one on God.
So – wherever you are, whatever your plan was, however far behind you are: offer yourself some grace. Jump back in with both feet. Set a time and a place – and see what it does for your priorities and anxiety. You might just find out what I did. Even when reading about Israelites toiling in the desert God has a message of peace to speak into your life each and every day, and it will affect your attitude and disposition in ways that you would never want to go back to the “old way” again.