If you were to peek into my window at 6:30 a.m., you would likely find me on the couch, with a blanket and coffee, and my Bible open on my lap, preparing for the day ahead (Please don’t actually peek in my window. That would be freaky).
Why would I tell you that?
Because I want you to know that having a daily, predictable time with Jesus every day is so important to me. It orders my day, grounds me, and makes a difference in the way I respond to others. When I start off my day with Jesus, my anxiousness melts into peace and I can shift my focus away from my self-centeredness to compassion for others. He gently takes my sorrow and replaces it with joy and hope in a way no one else can.
Staying connected does not come easy to me, but it’s a discipline I continually have to work on. Once a week, my phone buzzes and I pull up Jesus Calling (it’s comes in book form or as an app). Side note: One time one of Kate’s friends was playing a game on my phone when my reminder flashed on the screen. With the widest eyes you’ve ever seen she came to me and said, “Miss Sarah, Jesus is calling your phone!” Ha!
Last week I read this:
“Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you. Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain. The journey is arduous at time, and you are weak. Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks; but for now, your walk is often plodding and heavy. All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.“
I was taught early on the importance of dedicating the first minutes of my day to Jesus. I have scores of memories of retreats and youth group outings where we would begin our days spread out in corners and bunks, our Bibles open, our eyes closed, dedicating our days and lives to whatever Jesus had for us. Those seeds were planted deep and I am so grateful. But I mistakenly thought that each day would bring the light-footed moment if I did… an insurance policy to have a great life. I didn’t understand the days that seemed plodding and heavy, so I would think that something was wrong with me. Eventually, I decided that opening my Bible and talking to Jesus every day was overrated. Didn’t He understand how busy the days were with diapers and feeding and disciplining and cleaning up messes? I would be okay to put my daily practice on a shelf, I thought.
Boy was I wrong. Jesus doesn’t want us to spend time with Him just because it’s the “right choice”. He desires time with us to focus and build a relationship with Him. I need Him so desperately in my life. I need wisdom and direction, a way to know that my feet are walking in the right direction. On the good days, the bad days, the in-between days, when I take the time to develop my relationship with Him, I can see how He is working and teaching and changing me.
As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in the library parking lot, waiting on my kids. The library is across from a daycare and I watch the little toddlers toddle back and forth to the playground, putting one chubby foot deliberately in front of the other. Didn’t we all learn to walk the same way? Slowly at first, but determined to get a little better each day? Shouldn’t it be the same for us as we grow in our relationship with Christ?
David writes in Psalm 16:7, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” When the truths of Jesus are on our hearts and in our minds, we begin to see the next right steps as He guides us. Eventually we realize that our chubby little legs are much stronger than we thought… we can indeed walk, even run, for longer distances.
If you’re new on this journey, it’s hard to know where to start. The Bible seems intimidatingly long and ancient. Lots of years into this thing and I still sometimes feel the same way. In fact, writing this post seems so overwhelming to me because I feel I am so far from where I desire in this area. The last thing I want to communicate is I have this figured out. But I also know if I waited to be perfect, well, it would never come.
If you were to peek at me on the couch (but not really, because remember? Freaky), here are my favorite ways to read my Bible:
- One little chunk at a time– maybe a Psalm, or a chapter in the New Testament. Every morning when I get up and every night before I go to bed, I read the same thing. Over and over, maybe for a week or two. Slowly, I see new things– patterns or truths start to pop out as the words become familiar. I read it out loud, I underline, I think about it throughout the day. And it nestles into my heart and comes alive to me.
- Read through the whole thing. Yes, the entire Bible… but it takes me a whole year. Right now, Shereadstruth.com has a plan that helps to keep me on track (And oh, there are so many great resources on this website!). The game changer for me was to read it in my own hardcopy of the Bible. I like to read the Bible on my phone (youversion is a great app) for sermons or for looking up a quick verse, but I’ve found I don’t retain as much when I’m just scrolling. When I switched to holding my actual Bible, highlighting verses with a real pen, it changed everything.
- The first half of Jen Wilkin’s podcast is so helpful if you have deeper questions about how to read the Bible and why it matters. Her whole study of Joshua is free, and would be a great… But I really resonated with her “nuts and bolts” explanation of how to read the Bible.
Keep walking. It’s not always easy to know what the next right step is, but connecting with Christ daily means that you will have a foundation to stand on, no matter what the day holds.
P.S. There’s more to a relationship with Christ than just reading the Bible. In the next few weeks, let’s tackle some other things together, okay?
P.S.#2 I’m dying at these pictures of when Eliza learned to walk. I have the sweetest kids!