“God help me start over.” That’s what I was feeling recently. I wasn’t pleased with my life; particularly, my relationship with the Lord. I wasn’t pleased with how I was spending my time, failing to meet goals, or my blog. Somehow I allowed myself to get off track and God was in the margins. Have you been there?
Praise God that our God believes in starting over. God calls us to start over. He yearns for us to start over. We see it in the story of the prodigal son. We hear it in the call to become a new creation. I don’t know what starting over means for you, but for me this time it meant going back to some basics and some beginnings.
New Life For My Daily Bible Reading
Every day I read four chapters of scripture. I haven’t missed a day of this in thirty-one years, but recently I was just going through the motions. I was legalistically hitting my quota day in and day out. Unfortunately, my heart wasn’t in it. I often times read four of my favorite Psams. Usually, I opted for short ones. It was a rather lifeless read. I felt no connection with the Lord. When I closed the cover I couldn’t tell you what I just read.
So, how did I bring new life back into my Bible time?
Step 1: Adopting a Systematic Plan for Reading
I went back to the practice I began thirty-one years ago that helped me succeed at not just reading scripture, but dynamically connecting with God through the Word. Way back then I read First John everyday for one week to get in a habit of reading daily. Once that week was over I followed a reading program that systematically brought me through the Bible. This practice broke me out of my rut of just grabbing four short easy to read Psalms. So, a couple of weeks ago, I read First John everyday for a week and started following a bible reading plan.
Step 2: Reading With A Pencil In Hand
Actually, I read with a whole cup full of colored pencils in my hand. I watched for key words as I read and marked them with symbols or colors to help me make connections. This practice got me engaged with my reading. I have discovered though that even just reading with a pencil in hand and marking or underlining can completely awaken your awareness to a whole new level.
Step 3: Journaling
When I finish reading I select and meditate upon a word, phrase or idea that captures my attention. If nothing readily presents itself, I comb back over my reading until I find something that does. My journaling isn’t complicated. I mostly record a bunch of steam of conscious thought intermingled with or appended by a written prayer.
Ramping up my reading and reflection life was the first step at starting over. Next post I will tell you about my ‘sit spot’ time. In the meantime, click this link for more great daily Bible reading tips.