Habit of a lifetime…

I wonder how you’re doing with the habits you want to develop and keep.  I wonder if you’re sailing through life with daily gym visits, or prayer times, or reading, or letter writing, or playing Candy Crush, or whatever it is you want to do…

Because I’m not sailing anywhere.

For me, Bible reading is the habit I want to develop/keep/rediscover.  I’m pretty sure I was pretty good at it when I was a kid, though perhaps Mum and Dad remember differently.  And most of my adult life has seen daily Bible reading as a pretty regular feature.  But right now, it’s a struggle.  (In fact, it occurs to me as I write this, as 6.30pm, that I haven’t yet read my Bible today).

Here’s some of the evidence.  I have a daily Bible reading notes thing, called Explore.  You might think that’s a pretty impressive start, but I’ve got it on direct debit (or standing order, or whatever it is) and it just keeps arriving on my doorstep every three months.  For the October-December one, I started October 7 days early.  This wasn’t keenness on my part, or a result of finishing the July-Sept ahead of schedule.  No, it was simply because I was so far behind with the July-Sept one that I figured I’d go ahead and get cracking on the next one, so that I wasn’t so far behind.

I was behind again by the 7th.

Here’s some more evidence.  A few days ago, I was reading my Bible (*faint cheer*) and was reading Ephesians 2:1-3.  It was only when I got to verse 7 that I realised three things: a) I had read four verses too far, b) I hadn’t taken in anything beyond the first couple of words, c) I was thinking about something else completely (something so utterly mundane that I can’t for the life of me even remember what it was!).

And I was conscious that sometimes I blog about great stuff, and things going well, and godly thoughts, and all that stuff.  And that’s all well and good, and it seems people appreciate stuff that I write.  But I wanted to just level with you and say it’s not all plain sailing here.  Life is not as wonderful or straightforward as I would sometimes like.

I should probably go and read my Bible.  But I won’t, because Little Boy is out of his bath (I’m sat in the doorway as I type) and I’ve got to get him ready for bed now.  But hopefully I’ll remember later, and actually do it.

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6 Responses to Habit of a lifetime…

  1. Excuse the pun, but have you explored other less-demanding Bible reading notes? Daily Bread from Scripture Union has a scheme for reading the whole Bible and a less demanding daily reading. New Daylight from BRF has a short text printed out and is good for travelling. The Upper Room has Bible readings and suggestions for prayer. And there are other options as well. It can be difficult when there are lots of demands on your time, but if it is possible pick a particular time each day and stick to it. Hope this helps. Sue

    • nickparish says:

      Hi Sue. Thanks for all that. I probably should have a look at alternatives, but I don’t think that’s the main sticking point (but something fresh may be useful). I used to use Daily Bread.
      I’ve also got David Suchet’s audio Bible, which I’ve listened to, all the way up to Genesis 2.
      As for time of day. It’s tricky finding one that works every day, as my days are a bit weird. Probably 6.30am is most likely, but I like sleeping, too…

  2. Pure Glory says:

    God is wanting a fresh new encounter with you, not the old routine. Your interactions change with your little boy due to his age, attention span and maturity. Sometimes we need to come to God as a young child. No religious routine but buffalo honesty. He so longs to speak with us individually and personally. Samuel was a young boy who heard the voice of God call his name when God’s voice was rarely heard. He speaks but we think it is someone else. Going through routines, without it making sense, is God calling to you to listen to what he saying to you, personally, right now. Be like Samuel, saying, “Speak Lord, for I’M listening. Pause and listen. You will be surprised what thoughts go through your mind👆 it will freshen your relationship with the Lord in your busy day. Listening will refresh your devotional
    Life.

    • nickparish says:

      As I said in response to Sue’s comment, I’ve recently bought a copy of an audio Bible, which I hope will feature more regularly in my life.
      I think there’s value in both old routines and fresh new things. But neither seems to be featuring particularly highly at the moment!
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. Dorothy says:

    So you’re human! 🙂 that’s encouraging for all of us who are also human.
    I can only speak from my own experience, which may or may not chime with yours at any point. There are seasons in my life (often prescribed by circumstances beyond my control, such as the need to commute at 6am!) which require different approaches to maintaining my relationship with Jesus (which is, let’s face it, the only possible justification for reading the bible! It’s the relationship which matters, not the reading). There are also many, varied approaches to reading the bible – some more thought-oriented, some more contemplative.
    I don’t know the course to which you refer.
    I suspect, from your blog posts, that you are already well-versed in scripture and have a mature intellectual grasp of the background and context.
    I therefore just wonder whether maybe God is calling you to engage with Him in a more contemplative way – heart rather than head, intuiting rather than intellectually understanding.
    Just a suggestion – and if it doesn’t feel comfortable, smooth, to you, please ignore it. Try simply starting to read a passage (gospels are a good place to start) and simply read until a phrase, or even a word, strikes you. Then sit in silence before God with that phrase, that word – and listen.
    Another suggestion – if time and pressure are overwhelming, take a few minutes simply to still yourself in the Father’s presence, cup your hands, raise them up, and imagine placing into the Father’s hands all the messiness of life. Then go about your day, knowing that the Father is carrying the burden for you.
    I repeat – it’s all about relationship, not reading.

    • nickparish says:

      Hi Dorothy. Thanks for the comment, and sorry a response has been so long in coming. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been poring over my Bible …. but that wouldn’t be completely accurate.
      What you’ve said is certainly food for thought. And as I was ‘doing my Bible reading’ this morning (honestly!) I decided not to crack on with the new bit on Exodus, but simply to re-read a little bit of Ephesians, because I thought that might be more what was needed – particularly that phrase, ‘immeasurably more’.
      And sometimes, I’ll make my morning cuppa, let the dog into the garden and just sit on the patio to gather myself for a few minutes, which is sometimes more ‘filling’ prayer than that which is done (or shirked!) in my little prayer room.
      And of course you’re right about the important thing being the relationship, not the reading, but I do think that not only is the reading a feeding of the hunger, but it is also a barometer of the hunger, and so I know that if I’m not reading my Bible, (as a general rule, not as the odd one-off) that probably is a bit of a warning sign about my general hunger to grow in my faith, and to deepen my relationship with Christ. If I’m not hungry to read, it may well be that I’m not hungry to grow. I guess that’s not how it works for everyone though…
      Does that make sense?

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