Hi guys! My name is Brittany and I blog over at Stories, Songs, & Praise.
I am so excited to be guest posting here while Jenni has what I hope is a fantastic time in China.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading Frankly My Dear is because I enjoy Jenni's discussions of faith, so I thought I would discuss something from my own Christian walk today.
I grew up within the Christian church. I attended with my grandparents as a small child, then with my parents through my teens. My senior year in high school, I was accepted to a Lutheran university. In talking to others, I realize how blessed I have been to have this foundation for my faith.
To be completely honest- even with this fairly Christian/church heavy life, I didn't make reading my Bible a priority until I was approaching my mid-20s. I may have highlighted a few key verses (John 3:16, Joshua 1:9, etc). Sometimes I looked up a specific word or parable, but it wasn't a daily concern or desire.
My early 20s were...tumultuous to say the least (you can find the highlights here & also here). After many years of feeling as though I was floundering in my faith, I made a conscious decision to make Jesus Christ the main focus of my life.
This lead to many changes within my life, including my desire to read the Bible. Instead of just being a chore I felt like I had to do in order to claim Christianity, I asked the Lord to imprint an actual desire to learn within me. I purchased a new Bible for this new start in my life, and tried a few different methods of reading it.
I'd always heard church elders talk about getting up early and spending time in the word first thing in the morning. I tried it...and just kept failing. I like sleep, okay? I tried using a reading plan to "get through" the Bible within a year...and felt discouraged as soon as I inevitably missed a day.
But I really wanted to become more familiar with this book! Why could I not get into a habit? Eventually I just started carrying my new Bible with me, in the hopes I would read it out of sheer opportunity (I normally carried a book around anyway).
Naturally, during this overall of my faith, my life in general started to look a little different. This included a new job. I now work for a large organization in an admin position. I have a set lunch schedule and large grounds laden with benches and shady trees perfect for reading. I started eating my lunch & then taking my Bible outside for some fresh air.
It took me a year to work through Genesis. In the past 2 months, I have read Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, & Numbers- just started Joshua this week. I have no set quotas for time or length, I just read what I can when I can. Sometimes we each have to be realistic about our circumstances and personalities. I did not get anything out of reading the Bible when I made it into a chore I was supposed to do a certain way. I don't want to just check this off on a Christian to-do list; I want to understand the history of my faith, and apply His word to my life in a deeply personal way. Once I viewed my Bible as a gift instead of a chore, my life (and faith) changed.
I'm not saying I have everything magically figured out now (far from it), but I have another habit that helps keep my life focus on Christ. And that is a blessing.
I would encourage you to really think about what works best for you, and what will draw you closer to Jesus. We are all different parts of one body, and we require different things. That's okay- figure out what works for you. Maybe this requires reworking your schedule...or your viewpoint. Just don't loose focus on what really matters.