Bible in One Year: Building a Routine

February 08, 2019

After posting a bit about my Bible in One Year (BIOY) journey this month, I've had a few people ask me questions about my routine, what Bible I use, and how I do it, so today I thought I'd write a bit about my routine (and maybe answer the Bible specific questions in another post - keep your eyes peeled!).


 So, I'm a busy wife, mum of two young kids, with a job, who serves in church, has friends and keeps house... When the heck do I fit in Bible reading? Well, you'll be overjoyed to know that I'm not one of these people who gets up an hour earlier (5am?!) to get it done. No, I like my sleep, I'm coming out the other side of five years with broken sleep (kids!) and I have no plans to start getting up earlier than I need to - so when do I read my Bible? Short answer... When I can!

I would love to tell you that I have very serene quiet times, with freshly brewed coffee, sunbeams streaming through the open window that looks out onto green fields... however, my Bible readings are not Instagram worthy at all. They are not made up of beautiful flatlays featuring coffee in an inspirational mug, hand knitted socks, and a posy of dusky pink flowers alongside (you know what I'm talking about #bibleflatlays!). No siree! Don't get me wrong, I set aside time to read my Bible, I make myself a coffee and I try to remove distractions - but as any mum of young kids knows, compromises must be made!

When do I read my Bible?


It's different every day but basically it comes down to when I can take some time!

So, Mondays and Fridays I don't work. On these days, I get up in the mornings and my priority is getting my eldest to school. Once that's done we come straight home, I tidy the living room (because it's so hard to concentrate when surrounded by mess!), set my youngest up with some toys, make a coffee and curl up on the sofa with my Bible. Generally this works. Joel is pretty happy to play independently and as long as I'm in the room he's content so these are quite good days. If, for whatever reason I haven't come home after the school run, then I tend to read a bit later or after school. This can prove more tricky as Ruby takes a great interest in my activities so she likes to be involved, but that can't be considered a bad thing, right?

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I work. These are the hardest days. I basically don't stop until 8pm by which point I'm tired and all I want to do is eat junk and watch NetFlix. However, most days I have managed to discipline myself and begin reading. It's not always the most focused time and sometimes my mind wanders to whatever the husband is watching or doing, but considering how tired I am, I think I do pretty well. Progress over perfect!

Weekends - you would think this is the easiest time, but with our busy family life and church, it doesn't always work out that way! Lazy Saturday mornings are best because I can read over breakfast while the kids play or watch TV, but if we have a busy day then it might be another evening session (though probably a less tired one!).

How to form a habit


Now, in writing this, I want you to know that prior to January 1st 2019 I did not have a daily Bible reading habit. I read the Bible, sure, bits and pieces when I wanted to look something specific up, or when I was listening to a sermon. I definitely had a relationship with God... I knew the Bible - but it certainly wasn't a daily habit in my life, nor was it a discipline. So, if that's like you, be encouraged! I developed a habit, and I actually thought it was quite easy to do - even though for years I've made excuses and told myself that I just can't do it. So, here's my tips for how to develop a Bible reading habit when you feel like a lost cause:

  • Make a decision. I was setting new year goals and realised that most of them centred around a lack of discipline. I decided that if there was one thing I would discipline myself in this year, it would be developing a daily bible habit. Not because it felt like something I 'should' do, not because I felt 'condemned' or guilty - but just because I recognised that this was a weakness and I knew that for me to deepen my relationship with God, I needed to do this. I wanted the relationship, I needed to invest in it!
  • Choose a plan and set a goal. The Bible is big, it can be easy to wonder where to start. For me, I needed a big enough goal that would challenge me to keep up - Bible in one year. If that's too big a goal, choose something that works for you - 30 days or 21 days - it needs to be long enough to form a habit but maybe you might be overwhelmed by 365! If not a daily plan, pick a book and read one chapter a day.
  • Build up a bank of days early on. There were points when I was really enjoying it so on my days off I would read once in the morning and once in the evening. This meant that as I kept going, I was building up a little bank of days and enjoying knowing that I was always a couple of days ahead. It meant that when I did have an off-day, I didn't actually fall behind and didn't feel like a failure. On average this month I've ended up having one off day per week - but managed to finish the month on target!
  • Grace! Remember, it's about progress rather than perfection. If you fall behind, that's ok - catch up if you can, but if you can't just carry on! God's not going to care if you're not at Revelation 21 by December 31st, he's just going to enjoy the journey with you!
  • Journal your way through it. You might decide to keep a separate notebook, a digital diary or annotate in the margin (my preferred method!) - but work out what works for you to keep you actively engaging in the text. Otherwise you're just reading for the sake of it and you might not be taking it in, or really thinking about what you're reading. It's also a great way to keep track of what you're learning and what God is speaking to you about.
  • Pray. I'm still working out what works for me with this one, but don't neglect prayer when you're reading - that's what makes bible reading a heart process rather than a head one. You might incorporate it in your journalling, or try something different. Let me know what works for you!

I'll expand on those last two points - and what's working for me - another day, but hopefully you've been inspired to just make a start! I can't tell you enough what a difference it's making to my life and my relationship with God - and even if you fall behind or stop along the way, you'll be further along than you were if you didn't try.




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