At the end of 2016, I was twenty weeks pregnant with our third baby and we had just completed our fourth move in four years, from an overseas assignment. I could no longer pretend to pull strength from myself. I needed to make a change, but I didn’t know where to begin. I wanted to do great things for God. But to be honest, I could barely keep my head above water with the life He had already given me. I wanted to know God without doing the work of reading my Bible. I wanted it to be easier. I wanted to know the Bible without actually reading it. But, I hit a point where it was harder to pretend to know God, then to actually give it a try.
I began to pray for a desire to start reading, a prayer that I prayed for almost two years before actually making the commitment to read. At thirty years old, I had never read the whole Bible for myself and I decided that it was time. I started on January 1, 2017, and I began by reading one chapter a day, every day. It has now been a year, and I am amazed at what a difference it makes by starting each day, reading my Bible.
Reading the Bible is changing my heart. I find that by learning what is true, I am far less likely to believe the lies. Those seemingly small lies we all hear every day; that our lives are about us, and that somehow, we have to be better than who we are, to be worthy of God’s love. These are fundamental lies, they shake our confidence, taking us back to the garden when the serpent said, “Did God actually say,” in Genesis chapter three. The serpent goes on to question God, telling Eve that what God said was not true, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) The enemy still does this, he causes us to question God by twisting the truth, and it is only by knowing God through His word, that we can be grounded in the truth, making the lies easier to see.
Reading through the Old Testament, a picture of how bad humanity can really be, helps us with perspective. We can fight the lies: that we are the first to fail, or the first to feel doubt, or the first to screw up. It is just that, a lie. My friend we are not the first, nor will we be the last.
It’s funny, I never really understood the need to read my Bible, until I started reading it. Choosing to wake up and make God a priority, despite what I feel that morning, is habit forming for my mind and my heart. The changes that reading each day has caused, from the outside seem so small. I am a little more patient with my kids, a little more grace giving with my husband, a little more trusting of God when life is not going the way I thought.
When I give God my willing heart every morning, I am saying that each day is His. I find that because I give Him the day first, I am less anxious about what will happen, because I know that I never had control in the first place. And when I start to forget who God is, and try to take back control, the day gets harder again. I find myself stressed and anxious. But grounding myself in what is true, has a way of grounding me in life that I have a hard time explaining. Its like seeing the Grand Canyon. I could tell you how beautiful it is, even show you pictures, but until you stand at the edge of that canyon for yourself, you can never really know how awe inspiring it is.
God wants us to get to know Him. He gave us the Bible so that we could use it to get to know Him. There is a God, a relational God. He wants us to come to Him each morning, giving Him our best and get to know Him. I truly thought that by prayer alone I would fully know God, but without the truth to ground myself in, I was swayed by my feelings and desires, because I had nothing to check them against. I am so grateful that God allowed me to come to the end of myself, and see the need I had for Him. I would have kept living the way I had always lived, and I would have missed the joy. The steadfast joy, that comes from getting to know God, a little more each time I choose to read my Bible.