Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Into the Word

I can't be the only Christian mom out there who struggles to find time for reading the Bible. Honestly this is not just an effect of motherhood...I have always struggled with the "discipline" of daily Bible reading. It's not that I don't understand the importance or agree with the concept:
Every relationship needs two way communication...our experience with autism does nothing but highlight this fact. One of the most devastating aspects of autism is how communication is impacted, particularly for individuals who remain non-verbal, but even among the verbal the subtleties of conversation like sarcasm and figures of speech can be sadly inaccessible...but I digress.
Prayer is a whole different post, but that's how we tell God what is on our mind. My prayer life has also become a lot more pragmatic these most frequent prayer is, "What do I do now, God?" followed quickly by, "HELP!" with "Wow, thanks!" a close third. Hearing from God can come in several ways, but reading the Bible is one obvious way He can lead us and answer our questions and needs.
Mostly I'm just busy. I always have been and always will be. I'm busier now that I ever have been in my life. There have been seasons when I've been able to consistently wedge Bible reading into my routine for weeks and months at a time. Usually some "crisis" will occur that gets me off track. The longer I go without the easier it is to justify. Just trying to be brutally honest here.

There are all sorts of Bible reading programs out there. Read through the Bible in a year, two years, three years. I tried the last of these starting last year and hung in there until February, then fell hopelessly behind and gave up. This year I ran across "the Bible reading program for slackers and shirkers" which sounded good, but also (oddly) seemed like a lot of work - which day is it, what am I reading again?, where did I leave off? So here's what I'm doing now. I'm leaving my Bible OPEN. When I first read this I thought it was kind of impractical. Around here paper (and we have a lot) is considered fair game for scribbling by two members of our household. Any writing implement will do - sharpie on onion skin anyone??? However, I did find a shelf that is out of reach of the imps, uh preschoolers, yet is still in my eyesight every day. There's a small shelf in my closet right above my dresser. Every day when I'm getting dressed (even if it's just jeans and a t-shirt) I see my Bible sitting there OPEN. Just inviting me to take a gander. Most days I manage to pick it up and read a few verses. Even if I re-read a bit, it's easy to read a little further until I know I've hit something new. Right now I'm making my way through Proverbs 31. Just a few verses, but God has been meeting me there.

Psalm 37:4

Hebrews 11:6

Another idea that I'm working on also relies on daily visual contact. I'm finally getting around to framing some inspirational thoughts from a ladies retreat I attended last May (told you I'm busy) of the activities at the retreat was making our own recycled paper. I'm putting one quote and one Bible verse reference on each paper and framing them. Now I just need to find a good spot to hang them and each day I'll be reminded of these key verses.

Some other ideas that can keep you reading often, if not every day:
  • Attend church regularly - sermons are God's way of making a certain verse, story, or book jump out at you.
  • Find a good Bible study - we have a weekly Bible study with a few other people from our church. We're studying a harmony of the gospels. I don't generally get to my homework, but we read some verses while we're at the study, and it is another opportunity for God to highlight His word for me. There are some groups like Community Bible Study that include childrens' programs.
  • Listen instead - I haven't tried this one, but I have friends that listen to the Bible on CD or mp3s each day.
  • E-mailed readings/devotionals - You can also sign up on-line and have devotionals e-mailed to you or added to your reader of choice.

What do you do to keep reading?

1 comment:

Lindy and Jeanne said...

These are great ideas, maybe you and I could hold each other accountable :) I am always feeling like I need to fit the Bible into my crazy busy life. Everyone I know who is disciplined and reads the Bible daily are very wise, I think it's the gift God give when people who drop other balls for Him.


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