Well, I did it. I read the entire Bible in 2019.
I’ve tried to do this in the past and I never quite made it. The Bible reading plans, the check marked boxes- they all seemed to start strong and then fade away into the busyness of life. I figured that reading the entire Bible was for other people who had more faith, or more time, or more….something that I obviously did not have.
So, on this first day of 2020, as we set new goals and plans, I thought I would reflect on what actually worked and why 2019 was different. The answer may surprise you.
I took the pressure off of myself.
I planned on reading the Bible in 2019 using The One Year Bible. This seemed an easier way to do it. Instead of lists and checkmarks, I just opened the Bible to January 1st and read that section. In doing this, each day I read a portion of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. In the past I would be so hard on myself for not staying on track and for getting behind. I was so hard on myself for not “doing it right”, that I just gave up. The guilt of not “keeping up” paralyzed me.
2019 was different because I gave myself permission to just be human, not perfect in any way, and to just keep trying even when I fell behind. That might sound so simple, and yet I think we give up on goals when it doesn’t go perfectly well from beginning to end. Did I complete each day’s reading, on time, every day? Not at all.
Many days I found myself a week behind, or more. This time though, I just picked up where I left off. I set a goal to try to be caught up by the end of each month so that I didn’t fall too far behind. That seemed to work for me.
I wasn’t sure it would work, but there I was at the end of 2019 finishing the last of Revelations. And I wondered about how to apply the ideas to other goals? Reading the Bible in a year was all about setting a realistic goal, and making slow steady progress
even when I fell behind, even when things weren’t going well, even when it looked different than I thought it would.
Planning on things not going like the perfect idea in my head gave me the permission I needed to just roll with the ups and downs and to still stay on track. This year I think I’ll apply that same idea to my other goals. I can make the plans, list the goals and just know that Life will interfere, but the key to reaching goals is to just keep at it, in slow, small and imperfect steps.
Happy New Year friends!
(for 2020 I won’t be reading through the Bible again. Instead of wide, I’m going deep. Starting with the Gospel of John. I’m going to read, re-read, and study until I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me that it’s time to move onto another book. I’m going to be using the ESV Scripture Bible by Crossway, which is a single book of the Bible. The verses are on the left hand page, and the right hand page is blank lines for notes and study)