tutorial {the journey}


after reading the Bible in a year and sharing my thoughts, i thought it might be worthwhile to share some tips on completing such a journey...just in case anyone else might be interested. a few tips. things that worked. didn't work. what helped me.

:: commitment ::
the Bible is a long book. and it's not always an "easy read". we're not talking nicholas sparks here. in order to make it cover to cover...you are going to need to be committed. basically, you have to want to do it. it was never a struggle for me to get up early because i looked forward to that time. there were many times in my life that i know i wouldn't have been able to make that same level of commitment.

:: scheduled quiet time ::
for me, the biggest key to sticking with my reading plan was having a set quiet time each day. each weekday morning, i spend about 30 minutes (5:30 to 6:00 a.m.) reading my Bible, journaling, etc. something like this may not work for everyone, but this was ideal for me. keep in mind your 'quiet time' could be anytime - before bed, during naptime, your lunch hour, etc.

:: peace & quiet ::
though you can read anywhere that makes sense in your life, i personally would recommend trying to spend your time in place that is peaceful and quiet (thus, my getting up before everyone else in my house each morning). you will be able to focus and get more out of your readings. if you choose to incorporate devotionals or journaling (mentioned below), this quiet will be of even more value.

:: have a plan ::
develop a plan that will help you make your way through the entire Bible. it doesn't have to be formal, structured or even organized. just something basic. the easiest plan is to just decide how many chapters a day you are going to read. if you have a set amount of time for reading, you can base it more on time, rather than length. for instance, i could've said i was going to spend 20 minutes of my quiet time each day reading. whether that was one chapter or twenty. chapters vary greatly in length so if your plan is based on the number of chapters, your time spent reading daily will also vary.

:: be flexible ::
even though a plan is helpful, allow yourself some flexibility. if your plan isn't working for you, change it. adjust it. mine changed a few times during the fifteen months i was reading.

:: prioritize ::
committing to a reading of this magnitude requires some prioritizing. it will be necessary to put aside some other things (most likely) to make room in your schedule for this. there is so much information on the internet, that it was always tempting to start a new devotional plan or project, but i had to make myself stay committed to the reading and not get distracted by shiny things. on several occasions, i went ahead and printed out things that i found and stored them away so i could do them after my journey through the Bible was complete. you will also have to fight distractions such as housework, the internet, and other ways that you could spend that time.

:: be realistic & forgiving ::
life happens. you know that. God knows that. when you miss days...it's ok. one big thing that i learned was not to play catch up. if i missed a day, i didn't try to tackle eight chapters the next day. i just kept chugging along at the four chapter pace. set expectations that work for you. if you have six kids that you homeschool, you probably can't spend an hour each day doing this. ten or fifteen minutes might be more feasible. if you have a more open schedule, you may be able to tackle the entire book in a few months. everyone is different.

:: be organized ::
have all of your reading materials in one place. it may just be your Bible, but if you are using any additional books or journals, make sure those (and a pen) are stored in the same place. and keep it near where you read. for me, i kept everything in a drawer beside my husband's recliner, which is where i spend my morning quiet time.

:: there's an app for that ::
i recommend finding a way to always have a Bible with you, especially if you don't have a specific quiet time. if you are in the carpool, waiting at a doctor's office, on your lunch hour from work... you can sneak in some reading. you can go old school with a pocket Bible, or if you have a smart phone or tablet, i highly recommend the youversion app.

:: additional resources ::
depending on your purpose in taking on this journey, you may want additional devotional material. i didn't really go this route, so i can't recommend anything specific. keep in mind, if you pull in more reading, you will either need more time to devote daily, or you have to be OK knowing it will take you longer to finish reading the Bible.

:: write it out ::
similar to the option of devotional readings, you may choose to do some journaling. again, i did not do this on a regular basis and it will definitely add to the daily time commitment. however, i definitely feel it would help heighten the experience.

:: pray ::
obviously, the most important part of this committment is to pray about it. i may not be winning any "mother of the year" awards for admitting this, but there were many mornings that i would pray that coleman would sleep late enough for me to complete my quiet time. ask to be blessed with the time you need, the ability to focus on the word and an open heart.

if you decide to start this journey, i'd love to hear about it...

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