Hey Christian girl – I see you. You’ve tried a half dozen times to read through the Bible in a year, and you have always come up short. One year you didn’t even start. Another year you got to Valentines Day, missed two weeks straight, then raised the white flag of surrender about the same time as your friends with their fitness goals gave in to the Pizza Hutt (oh wait, thats me). You really wanted to but life happened and the goal became a dusty Bible and the thoughts welled up within you: you cant, you never will, you’re not enough, only ‘super-Christians’ can do that.
All lies straight from the pit of Hades.
You are enough, you can DO this, you have all it takes with God and a friend on your side, this can be your YEAR!
2015 was my year, y’all: the first time I really made it all. the. whole. way. through the Bible. And I don’t claim to have all the answers – not by a long shot. But looking back, I know what I did different that year from all the other years, and that’s what I’m going to share with you here. But first, I know what you’re thinking: this coming year isn’t going to work for me – I’m taking 18 hours, I’m having a baby, I’m moving across the country or across the world, blah blah blah. Bologna. You can either find a thousand reasons not to do something or you can find ONE good reason to do it – it’s honestly up to you. 2015 was a hard year, friend. I worked a full time job that I didn’t like, I went to school at night full time, we lost a baby, we moved… it was a doozy. But I did it, and here’s how you can too:
1. Make your Bible somewhere you want to be.
Don’t like the version you have? Use that amazon gift card you got for Christmas and buy a new one! And while you’re at it, get some post it notes you like and some pens that don’t bleed through. I just got some cool tabs from Illustrated Faith and they’re just little happies sticking out of the corners of my fav copy – the She Reads Truth Study Bible (Thanks Dani for getting me this beaut – I love her, and you). Make your Bible yours, make it beautiful, tape things in it that bring you joy and remind you of God’s faithfulness, mark it up if that makes you happy, keep it tidy if that floats your boat. Just make it your favorite place, your old friend, your tried and true.
2. Get your hands on a good reading plan.
Raise ya hand if you’ve resolved to read through the Bible in a year, started January first in Genesis 1, and by the time you got to The Fall you took it literally and fell off the wagon yourself? (Britt raises her hand sheepishly). Yeah, I thought so. Didn’t work for me either. Too much openendedness– you need a plan. There’s literally tons out there to choose from, but the one I did the year I succeeded was the She Reads Truth plan (promise I’m not sponsored, just love their stuff). I printed it offline for free, put it in the front of my Bible, and chose a highlighter color for that year. When I read, I marked off that day and marked up my bible with the same color. It was fun and it’s so cool to look back and see that pink highlighter all over my Bible, representing the real start of true intimacy between me and God.
3. Utilize technology.
Turn your Apple from a thing of sin into a thing of righteous reminder. Pick up that iPhone, talk to your girl Siri, and ask her to set a reminder every single day to read your Bible. Make it a time you really will do – mornings are awesome, but not for everyone. Maybe you need to wait till the baby goes to bed, maybe you like the stillness of the night… I don’t know your life, but you do. Be realistic.
4. Have an accountability parter.
THIS. This is crucial, y’all. You need to be checked in on, encouraged to keep going, sympathized with, told hard truths, lifted up. You need that if you’re going to make it through this life, let alone a year-long Bible reading goal. Your person can be a coworker, classmate, spouse, bff, momma, mentor, stranger on the internet – take your pick. But you need her and she needs you. I recently posted about Bible reading and accountability on my insta stories, and I had a bunch of people reply wanting to be paired up. I would be HAPPY to play Bible-reading-matchmaker for you too, just message me!
5. Ask God for help.
DUH. By why don’t we? 1 John 5:14-15 says, “if we ask ANYTHING according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we will have what we have asked of him” (CSB, emphasis mine). What CONFIDENCE we have before him! And what exactly is God’s will? That you trust him, don’t become self-reliant, know him, walk the straight path he’s forged for you (Proverbs 3:5-6, CSB), don’t become conformed to this worlds ways, but instead be transformed by renewing your mind (Romans 12:2). How do you think you renew your mind? Cry out to God and ask him to help you, and he surely will.
6. Redefine success.
Lean in, my friend, and let me tell you a little something that has given me much freedom: it’s not all or nothing, it’s all or something. Relationship isn’t a checklist – you wouldn’t give up on your marriage because you forgot a birthday or missed a date, would you? Don’t give up on your relationship with God because you missed a few mornings. Thats tomfoolery and you KNOW it.
7. Keep going, even if December comes and you’re still a long way off.
Now, I’m going to tell on myself, and I am happy to do so: I didn’t finish my year long Bible plan until March of 2016. Yep, March! A full 3 months late, which could chill an INTJ, perfectionist, calendar-lover to the very core. But. I finished strong and it changed my heart. You, in your pride, aspire to finish in 365 days exactly, but God (my two fav words) in his goodness literally just wants to be with you and show you more of himself.
A year is a good goal, but don’t make your goal your god – no, let the goal be the goal and let God be God.
Grab your Bible, print a plan, recruit a pal, set a reminder, and do it. You’ve got this. This is YOUR YEAR.