Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daily Discipline

Ever since I was a teenager I loved to make goals.  I remember one time asking to use the neighbors typewriter so I could type up my goals.  I was very proud of them until someone pointed out that instead of typing "eat healthy snacks" I had actually typed "eat healthy snakes".  (Thank goodness for spell check or you might still be catching stuff like that.)

As long as I can remember I've always had a similar goal pattern.  I would want to eat healthier, exercise more and have a daily quiet time.  Then I would focus on the exercise or healthy eating for a while but get board and quit and I would try to have daily time God but fail.  It was a constant pattern of up and down with health and exercise and lackluster attempts to spend time with God for years.  But I am the eternal optimist and always created a new goal certain this would be the year it would happen.

I did eventually find my way to a healthier eating pattern after feeling sick for a number of years and I did get into a routine of running regularly and I found my way to spending time with God on a somewhat regular basis but I didn't really develop the concept of discipline in my life until I read through the bible one year.

I had never read through the whole bible before, I  had started many times, even got to Job one year, but I had never completed the task.  It was a big task, consistency for an entire year, read something every day.  If you don't keep up it quickly would become a monumental task to catch up.  But in 2008 I decided to make it happen. 

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the task but I just focused on one day at a time.  And I decided I didn't have to do anything else that year, just read my daily portion.  I wasn't in a bible study that year, didn't try to read a devotional, didn't tell myself I had to even have a deep thought on what I was reading or pray afterward.  Just had to read every day.  Some days I would have a deep thought worth journaling about but most days I just read and moved on.  I remember the day I finished Job and knew I had read further than I had in the past.  It was a mini victory that kept me motivated to continue.  Occasionally I would have to find time for a little catch up work but for the most part I read my daily portion quickly each morning and moved on.  And getting an overview of the whole bible that way, not studying each verse but just enjoying the story, was wonderful.  You get to see God's presence and his hand in the wholeness of the story.

Finishing the reading on December 31st felt great and was the perfect way to end the year.  I was very ready to move on to other ways of reading the bible that next year and have done different things in the years since but spending that year developing the habit of daily time with God has been something that has stuck.  They say you develop a habit in 28 days but maintaining it for 365 days really creates a pattern, something so comfortable you always want to fall back to it.  I definitely look back at that experience as something that has shaped my view of discipline and my understanding of what I can accomplish if I put my mind to it and keep walking forward one step at a time.


  1. That's great you feel you have finally developed the 'habit' of reading daily. I do pretty well but still fail at times and discipline is a constant struggle for me.

  2. You made it farther than me in your past attempts! Leviticus was the one I couldn't get past :) But, like you, I've made it farther this year than I have before with a chronological reading plan (I started in the summer) and seeing the Bible as God's story to us instead of trying to pick it apart each time I read has made a huge difference in how I see God's Word!
    Visiting from Jumping Tandem today...

  3. This year my first reading goal is Reese's Chronological Bible. I've read it a number of times in the past and every once in a while it pops in as my devotional "job". I thoroughly enjoy reading it in terms of what was done in order... especially the history portion of scripture. Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Sam. are mixed in together because they involved different things at different times. Reading the Word has become a major part of my life over the years. Mostly... as I age and go to heaven, I want to have more and more word planted in my heart so I'll know more and more.

    Your sharing is very clear and very accurate in how we need to be focusing.