I have big aspirations when it comes to reading my Bible.
I would like to be the sort of person who reads it every day, rain or shine, whatever I feel like. There have been times in life where for weeks or months I’ve achieved this, however there have been equally as many times where I haven’t.
When I read the Bible I feel connected with God. Even on the days where it feels like God is a million miles from me, I always come away from a passage feeling closer to him, even if only by a few inches.
I also love seeing the connections within the Bible, how the Old Testament connects with the New, how different people’s stories overlap and entwine, and the more I read the bigger the picture I get of the book as a whole.
It would seem reasonable to think that with all these great rewards from reading my Bible it would be the first thing I reached for in the morning, but at times motivating myself can be the most challenging thing. Busyness, tiredness and feeling far from God all seem to get in the way of me engaging with his word, and missing a day or two can quickly turn into months.
During these times I often start to feel guilty and in the past these feelings have made it even harder to pick up my Bible. However, I am slowly starting to learn to use my feelings of guilt, not as a stick to beat myself up with, but as a gentle push to start working at reading my Bible again.
On a practical level writing is a big part of my engagement with the Bible. I write observations, thoughts or prayers I have about what I read which helps me focus and I like being able to look back through my notebooks to see things I thought about a passage or prayers that God has answered.
As I continue to try and engage with God’s word I am discovering that to stay engaged with the Bible I have to find different ways of approaching it, find new ways to study it. This can be by finding new notes to work from, a new structure to my writing or a new time of the day to do it. Pretty much the only thing that remains the same is the type of notebook and pen that I use to write down my thoughts.
Eventually I hope that changing my reading plan and mixing things up will become a habit, rather than a means of kick-starting reading after months without touching my Bible, but until then my hope for reading the Bible is that I would continue to struggle with it, continue to fight feelings of guilt and inadequacy for missing a day and continue to come back to it again and again so eventually when I’m old and grey I’ll have a tiny chance at being good at engaging with God’s word each day.
Written by Rachel McLeod. Rachel grew up in Edinburgh and is now in first year at Aberdeen University studying Biochemistry. She's been to SU Holidays in the past as a camper and last summer helped out as a young leader at an SU Mission.
Read more about getting stuck in to God's word in the latest edition of our magazine.