When I was 21 I had this new desire to make my faith my own. Meaning, I wanted to know what Scripture says not just because someone told me what it says, but because I have read it and I know what it says. For the first time I decided to read through the whole Bible chronologically in one year and understand it for myself. Five years later I finished the task I set out on. You may be thinking, “Wow, it took her five years to read through the Bible… that’s kind of a long time.” You would be right, especially since it was supposed to be a one year plan. Let me tell you why it took longer than expected…
One year reading plans are awesome. However, I do not do well with time sensitive reading plans, as I found out about four months into this whole thing. If I missed a day it was really hard for me to catch up and keep going because I got upset with myself for missing a day, then I would end up missing a whole week, then I would get even more upset for missing more days that I just quit all together. This pattern went on for at least a year. I would read a whole bunch in one day to catch up and get back on track, only to get off track again a few weeks later. So I stopped reading. Months went by as I gave up on this goal. I was mad at myself for not being able to stick to a plan and read a few chapters a day.
Around year two I remembered my initial desire: to make my faith my own. In order to do that I needed to know what Scripture says. So one day I took that reading plan and completely ignored the dates given and the required reading per day given and I chose to read as little or as much as I wanted each day in order to finish the reading plan. Once I decided to ignore the time sensitive guidelines, I felt much freer to truly enjoy and dig into what I was reading. Some days I would read a chapter or two, some days I would only read a few verses. Some days I would listen to music or a podcast. Some days I would just be silent. And, of course, some days it just didn’t happen. There were seasons of great growth and seasons that seemed dry. Either way, my time with God changed. It helped me a lot to let go of the timeline and expectations and just be present with God.
Over the past five years my love for God and the Bible has grown tremendously. I have enjoyed having challenging conversations with friends and family about what I have been learning and I have loved hearing their opinions while forming my own. I have even begun reading commentaries on certain passages I don’t understand. My desire to make my faith my own has held true five years later. This year I am starting over and beginning a new reading plan. Since the Bible is living and active, I am excited to see what new things will be discovered this time around. It may take one year or five. I am just excited to get to read, learn, grow, and be present with God through Scripture.