I find myself wondering where you are and how you are reading through the Psalms. Do you listen to them in the car as you drive? Do read them before you go to bed or when you wake up? On your lunch break? Do you use a phone or an iPad or a hard copy Bible?
There are surely as many different ways to incorporate the Bible into our lives as there are people participating in this group reading of the Psalms. All of us are right. Bringing the Bible into your life is always the right thing to do, no matter how you choose to do it.
When I graduated from high school and left for college, I remember feeling stunned by the sudden thought, “Wait! How am I supposed to be an adult Christian! What do I do?”
I wrote letters (yeah, that tells you how long ago it was!) to Christian women from my home church, women I respected, asking them how they spent time alone with God every day. I wasn’t sure I was doing it right. I even think I asked them if I was supposed to light a candle first, that is how lost I suddenly felt. None of them responded with the detail I desired. I wanted a checklist that I could use for myself.
Little did I know how useless a checklist would be and how many years it would take me to realize that.
After a long time–and I mean a very long time, like most of my life–I finally settled into what I should have done from the beginning. Instead of trying to have quiet time that looks like everyone else’s, I should have just experimented until I found the pattern that was best for me.
I’ll tell you what I do in detail, not so you can imitate it, but so that you can ask yourself the questions that will help you ease into your own daily pattern and make it all that it can be.
These are the questions I asked myself:
When am I mostly likely to be productive?
In the morning, definitely. I am a morning person. I pop off the pillow between 5 and 6, even on a Saturday. But past 8 at night, I am such a lazy slug that I am tempted to sleep in my clothes. No meaningful communion with God would happen then.
If I choose to read the Bible in the morning, what would hinder me from getting started?
My phone. When I go to sleep, I put it in the other room. I keep my wake-up alarm on my watch. If my phone is within my reach in the morning, then I will look at social media and get a jump start on emails, spending the first twenty minutes of my day on things that can wait. With my phone in another room, I am better prepared to give my firstfruits to God.
After removing hindrances, what helpers can I add to my routine?
Coffee is a helper, let’s be honest. This may sound extreme, but what has helped me tremendously is not even walking into the kitchen to get it. I bought the cheapest K-cup coffee brewer I could find, the mostly plastic kind they have in hotel rooms, and I put it on my bedside table. I fill it and set it with a mug in place when I go to bed, so that all I have to do when I wake up is slide off my bed onto the floor, push the button to brew, and open my Bible. I sit there, cross-legged on the floor by my bed, reading and journaling and sipping and praising and praying … and then I start my day. No opportunity for distraction. It is the best method for me.
I submit these questions to you because I want to encourage you to find what works best FOR YOU.
- What time of day would best fit?
- What hindrances can you remove?
- What helpers can you add?
Think and pray about these three questions if you don’t already have a Bible-reading pattern in place. There will be great benefit in finding a routine that actually works.
Oh, and by the way, sometimes I do light a candle first.