Finishing a Reading Challenge
In February I posted about my reading through the Bible in a year (aka 9 months) challenge, and as of May, I’ve completed it!
Quantifying how my faith, my knowledge of God, and my questions about following Jesus have been impacted is hard. I don’t quite have any answers to how those things have grown or changed at the moment. Maybe more will come on that later.
What I do know is that this reading challenge made a big change in my daily rhythms, and I can see the discipline I've gained seeping into other areas of my life.
I’ve done lots of devotionals and Bible reading plans before, but I’ve never been good at sticking with it or being consistent. I was often thinking “I wish I was better at reading my Bible every day” then I put away all the excuses and just did it. Some days it was hard but I pushed through and realized you get to a place where days that are hard or you don’t want to become fewer and far between. I think this might be true for a lot of things.
I’ve found that I work well in structure, so once I finished the challenge I knew it would be helpful to have a reading plan ahead of me. The longer the better to be honest, because I do not like having too often think about what I should be reading next. Here are a few avenues I took in my reading.
I read the summer study of Women and Men in the Old Testament with She Reads Truth. I love reading along with She Reads Truth, they have a ton of plans available and you can read any of them online for free. It’s reading straight out of the Bible with a community of women.
After I found a 21 day study on seeking His Presence. I didn’t really look into this one much and it was just a collection of scripture verses that I had a hard time tying together or relating to the topic. I just went off of a Pinterest image that had the readings listed and didn’t look any further. I wouldn’t recommend this and won’t be doing it again.
Currently I’m reading through James. I find it helpful to glance through the book ahead and break it up in to sections I want to read each day. I write these down in a list so when I read early in the morning I look at what I’ve already planned to read. If I want to do more or less that is fine, but this gives me the structure that I need.
Because I could see my growth in being better disciplined I added in another daily rhythm. Sometime in early summer I decided to jot down something I was thankful for everyday. I already did this fairly often, but I made it a goal to do that first thing every single morning. It's usually so simple like “thankful for Graham” or “this cool morning air is refreshing”. I like starting the day on a positive note.
I’ve been really proud of myself because I’ve stuck to my Bible reading and writing my notes of gratitude every day and it doesn’t feel like work. It has become a habit. A rhythm that is part of my life that feels awkward if it's left out. Like if you're not wearing your everyday watch or wedding band. It’s not perfect, and some days if I’m away from home or not feeling well it can’t get away from me, but it's starting to be ingrained in me as much as brushing my teeth.
What I am excited for in this is the long haul. How will my life be shaped if I continue these rhythms for the next 10, 20, 30 years? How will Graham be impacted? What will I learn about God? Who will I become in this? I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that I want my life to be shaped by the creator, and the only way I can see to do that is to spend intentional time with Him every day.