Since I attended a girls’ conference when I was little more than a decade old and committed to read my Bible every day, I’ve known it was important for me to read the Bible as a Christian.
While I did not honor my original commitment very well at that stage, it was the beginning of my journey towards making the habit of picking up my Bible every day. It’s a been a roller coast to say the least, but I stuck with it fairly well.
Then I started reading “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, and he posed the question: am I worshiping God while I form good habits, or have I started worshiping the habit itself? And I began to wonder if I was worshiping the habit. Was I reading my Bible to “be a good Christian” or to learn more about God? In the circles I move in, reading your Bible every day is “cool”. Was I persisting just so I could smile and answer affirmative if the topic of daily reading ever came up?
So I started to let myself take breaks. I took the pressure off. If I didn’t find time for the Bible, I would assure myself I was doing important things and God didn’t want me to spend all my time reading (like that argument would have carried a fleck of weight if we’d been discussing reading The Lord of the Rings instead *cough*). And maybe if I remembered I would run through a psalm I had memorized before I fell asleep.
It’s not like you would have found my Bible a month later, in the back of a cupboard, covered in dust; I probably still read it most days. But it certainly wasn’t a priority. Even when I came to the conclusion it probably was beneficial to read it every day, it was still not top of the list.
But then I noticed a difference. When I didn’t read the Bible, I was different–and I didn’t like the different me. Reading God’s Word changed me. And THAT was the beginning of another journey, towards prioritizing my Bible reading. . . again.
So I read the Bible every day; not because someone tells me I should, not as a safety net in case I’m asked, not even really because I want to know what’s in it. I read the Bible every day because it makes me feel closer to God, and that’s where I want to be.
But what I didn’t anticipate was the how darn inspirational this reading plan was going to be–while I knew it was going to affect me spiritually, I didn’t expect it to affect my imagination. My writer-brain gets on fire when I’ve been consistent in reading God’s Word. I don’t why it took me seventeen years to understand it’s important to read the Bible as a storyteller. It’s gotten to the point where I can hardly read my Bible anymore, if I’ve been consistent for days, because the story ideas come so fast while I read.
I mean, tell me this isn’t Middle Earth or Narnia-esque:
“But you, O God, are my king from of old;
you bring salvation upon the earth.
It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.”
And is this not just begging for a novelization?
“I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.”
And that’s only two of many I’ve run across (Job, for instance, always just sets my imagination on fire!!). I’m sure I’ll find more.