If you’re like me and love a good Bible-reading plan, you’ve probably experienced some nervousness around the busier seasons. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, and just busy parts of life seem to trigger guilt feelings for skipping a few days.
Whenever busy seasons approach, we resort to feeling bad for falling behind. But the truth is that it’s okay to take a pause. If it helps you mentally and emotionally, it’s better to set it aside altogether and to simply come back to it later.
But pausing your Bible-reading plan doesn’t mean you should pause your relationship with God. Whether you read every single day or take a pause during the busy times, it’s important to trust in and rely on the Holy Spirit as your Helper. He will remind you of His Word and help you keep it.
Personally, this was hard for me to understand. I got used to feeling guilty and would stomp my foot in determination to read twice as much. But! The Holy Spirit helped me understand something that totally transformed my Bible reading during the busy seasons.
First, He revealed that the Word is already in you. Even if you don’t have any scripture memorized, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in you and to lead you into truth daily. This means that you can maintain your relationship with Him apart from Bible reading. It’s definitely a vital part to your spiritual growth and shouldn’t get neglected long-term, but when life gets busy, it can easily become a religious task or a stress-factor instead of our means to grow in Him.
Second, it’s not about how much you read. Your relationship with God isn’t based on the quantity of your Bible intake. If you’re reading to check it off the list, it will not be effective. This relieved me of the need to stick to a schedule religiously and helped me simplify my Bible reading overall, resulting in a more effective growth in God.
With this in mind, I want to share 3 ways to simplify your Bible reading during the busy seasons and potentially in other seasons as well. Even though taking a pause is helpful at times, there are ways to simplify your reading to not get religious with it or resort to feeling bad and guilty.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8
This is one of the most simplified ways to read the Bible without getting overwhelmed. Create a list of scripture passages for a certain amount of days and read one-a-day. You can choose randomly on the go, but during a busy season, it’s helpful to get prepared ahead of time.
By sticking to one-a-day, you simplify your goal to read the Bible and make it achievable despite your busy season. This saves you from stressing out, falling behind, and feeling bad about not reading enough.
Ultimately, it’s important to not get caught up with how little or how much you read in general. But look at it like a meal, because it’s your spiritual intake. You’re not reading to check it off the list, but to feed your spirit.
As you read one-a-day, get your phone or a small notebook and write 1-2 thoughts about it. You could even use sticky-notes or text those thoughts to a friend or to yourself. This way, you set yourself up to meditate on this scripture. Writing or sharing it with a friend puts it at the forefront of your mind, which influences your behavior and causes you to grow.
Use these verses as a starter!
Read, Then Study
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16
If you’re going through a book of the Bible or are a chapter at-a-time kind of person, I encourage you to read first and then study. I use this method the most!
Instead of reading and studying simultaneously, put all resources and commentaries aside, and grab one writing utensil (highlighter, pen, pencil) along with your Bible. Read through the chapter or section and highlight what stands out to you first. And then go back and study the highlighted parts.
Don’t worry about getting the entirety of its context right away, because even if you had more time, you wouldn’t receive the complete revelation in one sitting. You will most likely read it again later and see different angles than you do this time around.
The parts that stood out to you caught your attention for a reason, and more often than not, the Holy Spirit emphasized these for you. He knows what your spirit needs during this season. You’re more likely to remember something and dwell on it when it stands out to you personally.
So instead of taking it verse by verse, the read, then study method will help you get through passages more effectively, causing the word of Christ to actually dwell in you.
Finally, there are thousands of Bible devotionals published by various Christian leaders. Even though I love reading the Bible on my own, there are seasons when a devotional is more effective. It’s as if you’re learning directly from someone who walked through a busy season themselves, and they’re sharing what God revealed to them.
Now, because there are thousands, possibly millions, I’ve compiled a short list below of my favorites. These scripture-based devotionals provide more than just the author’s thoughts, but insight into the scripture’s context and how you can apply it to your current season.
Though helpful, you must still rely on God to give you fresh revelation and understanding of what is being taught. If there’s something you’re confused about or get challenged with, turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to guide you into truth.
The following devotionals are ones I have read and recommend (not part of affiliate marketing):
- Prevail by Susie Larson
- 365 One-Minute Meditations: God Calling
- Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close by Lysa Terkeurst
However you decide to walk through the busy season, remind yourself that the Holy Spirit is with you and in you. Whether you decide it’s best to pause or to continue reading in a simplified way, remember that the amount of Bible reading you do does not define your relationship with God.
No matter how busy you get, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the best rhythm and trust Him to bring you into deeper knowledge and revelation of Jesus.
How do you read the Bible during busy seasons?
Do you pause?
Did any of these simplified methods stand out to you?
If so, which will you try or have tried?
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