Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Dreaded Bible Reading Resolution........


It's the time of year for resolutions. As a mom of five littles my resolution is just to survive. But even survival requires setting specific goals - especially when it comes to reading God’s Word. We can’t survive without it. The problem with resolutions is we tend to approach them with an all-or-nothing mentality. We set high standards in January and when we can't reach them we completely quit by March. Bible reading resolutions are no different. 

I love seeing moms set Bible reading goals. What hurts is seeing frustrated moms give up and throw in the towel when they can't reach their goals. I'm one of those moms. I've been there. I'm here to tell you that Bible reading isn’t all or nothing. You don't have to get up before your kids (especially when it seems like they never even went to bed). You don't have to have an uninterrupted hour of complete silence (which I haven’t experienced in seven years). 

There are times in life when reading the Bible feels like a huge feast. You sit down, tie a napkin around your neck and dig in. But more often in young motherhood reading the Bible is like clinging to a lifeline - the only shred of sanity our sleep-deprived brains can grasp. And that’s okay. My sister was just here visiting. One afternoon she sat on our window seat with a hot cup of tea and her Bible. As soon as she opened it she was piled with nephews. “Well, that didn’t last long,” she said as she put her Bible down and let them pull her toward the Legos. “Welcome to my life,” I said. 

We might not get to experience long, leisurely times of feasting on God’s Word in this stage of life, but we need to grab onto the Word any way we can. It has to be fresh in our hearts and minds so it’s there when we need it. One night I was so ready for bed, but I knew I hadn’t been in the Word recently. I grabbed my Bible, opened to where I left off and read a chapter. Little did I know I was in for an especially difficult night with the newborn. The next morning I couldn’t string two thoughts together - but precious words that I had read the night before came to mind and strengthened me. I had been reading Exodus 34:6 - “The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth…” I let those words wash over my mind all day long as I struggled through my fatigue. I was so glad I had made time for that short passage before I went to bed. I didn’t feel like I needed it then, but God knew it would very soon be a source of great comfort. 

Thanksgiving 2016 was a weird experience for the Wallace family. I had only been home from the hospital for about a week with baby #5. At the last minute all of the local relatives got the stomach flu and had to cancel the feast. We found ourselves roaming around the snowy town looking for a restaurant. They were all closed. They were open when we didn’t need them, but now they were turning us away. We wound up at a diner eating pancakes. Hardly a Thanksgiving dinner, but we were so glad that one place was open.  

When I get so busy with my daily responsibilities that I don’t make time to soak up God’s Word, it’s like driving past all those restaurants every day without going in. I could stop and grab a bite to eat, but other pressing needs take priority - until one night when I’m in desperate need of sustenance and the doors are closed. I search my heart for memorized verses, something fresh I read that morning, and my heart comes up empty. 

Don’t be afraid to make a Bible reading resolution this year. But be prepared for it to play out a little messy and disjointed. If we treat our Bible reading resolutions as all-or-nothing, we will always tend toward the “nothing.” So grab your Bible. Balance it awkwardly on the couch beside you as you feed the baby. Invite the little ones to sit beside you and read it out loud. Tape a passage to your mirror. Read a few verses before you turn out the light, even if you think your brain won’t absorb it. God is faithful to use what we put in. 


What’s your Bible reading resolution this year? Leave it in the comments and let’s encourage each other to press on!


"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
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8 comments:

  1. I was just talking to my mom about this! Now is when I need the life giving sustenance of the Word, but it's a very busy time of life!! Just need to give myself grace as I grow in the discipline of carving time to see the light so that it can shine through me to my family.

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    1. Giving ourselves grace...Such a tricky balance! Today our pastor said as we strive to remember God, as He always commanded the Israelites, we can take comfort in knowing He always remembers us - regardless of how well we're doing. :)

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  2. Exactly what I needed.
    My resolution: Grabbing my Bible once in the morning and once before going to bed. Reading just as much as possible, 1 vers or 3 chapters...

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  3. I appreciate your article. I think we can get into a check-box mindset with reading plans... and then when we can't fulfill our task (we get behind), we have this weight and it become idolatrous because we are longing for the relief of getting back on task, than we are missing our One True Love. I seems we can easily get into a mindset that we need to read a certain quantity per day/week/year/sitting/... I have found a couple of different approaches beneficial to me, in my season of life. One - I pick one book of the Bible and that is the book I live in for about a month. I read it as I can, usually multiple times in a month, switching translations for more breadth. But the one thing I have found so rewarding, is reading SOMETHING in the Bible each day. Read a couple verses... a paragraph/thought... if you have lots of time - a chapter. And I don't mean read it. Done. I mean... reeeaaaad it. A few times. Think about what is being said. Dwell upon the truths that lay in just a few verses. And then, that is what is filling my thoughts throughout the day. It builds hunger. It feeds need. I softens hearts. It only takes a few minutes - we all have that... (give up 5 mins of FB status checking to read the richness in His Word). And praise God for His sustaining grace.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Your words encouraged me and stuck with me this week. That's a really good point about our Bible reading checklists becoming idolatrous. That's so true! It's a tricky balance. But you're right - that can keep us from spending the time we need to soak in it instead of rushing through. So important!

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  4. Goal: Read through the Bible chronologically.

    BUT, I am throwing out all that stuff of " do it in a year" thing: all it does is make me want to give up when I don't read 5 chapters one day or check of all those boxes, thus ignoring the pressure to follow the timeline: just the plan. So I just read a chapter when I can, with a commentary (stolen from my husband, haha) by my side so I can make sense of it.

    Also, I followed the advice I heard from someone to plop your Bible on a cake stand on your kitchen counter. IT WORKS! Haha, all the times I sometimes spend trying to just breath leaning over my kitchen counter actually provide opportunities to read God's word. I have to ignore some of the food stains here and there... but I've been reading more than ever.

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    1. I love that idea!! Thanks for sharing!

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