I've noticed that I tend to have ebbs and flows in my determination to keep my Bible reading a priority. I could blame it on any number of things, but when it comes down to it, I just need to stop making excuses for those times when I'm not in the Word, and find a way to get back in it.
Something that's helped me with this has been to acknowledge that my perfectionism gets in the way. For instance, I would often think to myself, "Well, if I don't have the time to sit for 30 minutes and quietly read through several chapters, then I guess I won't bother at all." Or, "I'm not sure where to start reading since I'm not part of a formal Bible study right now; choosing at random would be too overwhelming." (Silly, I know. But ask my poor hubby--I'm having to work on conquering this mindset in many areas of my life. As he likes to gently remind me, doing ANYTHING would be better than the approach I'm taking.) Thankfully, recognizing the problem is half the battle.
So to remedy the situation, I've returned to a tried-and-true tactic: beginning by reading the Proverb that corresponds to the day of the month. This is wonderful for many reasons:
* There's no need to think about where to start. If it's the 6th of the month, you read Proverbs 6.
* Each Proverb can be easily read independent of those before it, so if you get "behind" and skip a day, you can jump back in on the current day and not feel as though you've missed anything.
* When you DO miss some of them, you know that you'll have another chance to read that Proverb next month.
* The entire book of Proverbs is so rich, easy to read, and filled with wisdom and practical application, you will be edified and refreshed every single day.
* Even if you only have 5 minutes to devote to Scripture reading, you can finish the entire Proverb and still have time for reflection.
* And the last reason deserves an entire paragraph: being in the Word, even a little, whets your appetite to be in the Word even more! Have you ever noticed that the longer you go without reading your Bible, the easier it is to convince yourself that it's not necessary to get back in the habit? But the opposite holds true as well: the more you read, the more you WANT to read. James 4:8 reads "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." Even a little effort on our part gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to work in our hearts and minds, and draw us nearer to the Father and Son.
So there you have it: the honest confession of a preacher's wife. There are days when all I make time for is a Proverb. There are days when I don't even do that. But usually, with even a little effort, I find myself refreshed by the wisdom and communion that is found from being in the Word, and I'm encouraged to carve out more time for it.
"For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death." Proverbs 8:35
And with that said, I'll leave you with this very convicting quote I once heard that has never left me: "We find a way to make the time in our day for what we really consider important." Ouch.