Wednesday, October 7, 2015

morning invitations * savor


There's a million and one Bible reading plans out there.

Yet along the way, if you're like me, we've found guides with actual dates on it, like January 1, 2, 3 to be more than a little daunting ... and impossible to keep up with.  We tend to charge through our reading just to check off the little box on the side.  And woe to us if we miss a few days and try to play catch up.

If we somehow get to the end of February, it's some kind of miracle because all that ends up happening is that we throw our hands up and stop reading God's love letter to us ... yet once again.  Sad, isn't it.  But true.

This all-or-nothing-at-all mindset breeds a growing frustration and discouragement.  When it comes to nurturing our soul or growing a relationship with Christ, these carved-in-stone deals usually just don't cut it.  

I like reading guides that are open-ended, that give direction but do it with grace.  So if you miss a day you don't have to get crazed.  You can simply pick up where you left off.  You take the pressure off yourself to perform and the emphasis slowly but surely shifts to a growing love relationship with the author of the Sacred Love Letter.

And that's what Bible reading is all about.

Like any intimate relationship, over time there emerges a delightful ease, a peaceful comfort, an enduring solace when you are together.

Right now I'm loving a little 61 Day Bible reading plan that chronologically highlights the major players and events of His Word.  More mornings than not, the steady, undemanding rhythm of this overview finds me curled up in bed,  peacefully cradling my well-worn Bible, lined journal, colored gel pen, and a cup of very hot decaf tea.

And because I'm in no big rush, I'm taking longer than the suggested 61 days.  Some scheduled readings are stretching out to two or maybe even three days because I just want to sit and consider what God is speaking to me.  And that's OK!

The key is savoring His Love Letter to us, not charging through it just to check off a little square box on a sheet of tri-fold paper.  It's inviting the Lover of our souls to interact with us as we make our way through each line, each paragraph.  And opening ourselves to respond in ways that grow our faith even as we wrestle with the doubts or questions that arise.

If you're finding ongoing Bible reading to be a challenge or have been looking for a fresh perspective, maybe you'd like to join me on my 61+ day journey, this gracious overview of His Word. 

God is alive and well, living and vibrant.  He is always inviting our spirits to something deeper and more significant.  His Word takes us there ...


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28 comments:

  1. Hi Linda, many years ago someone told me that God wasn't in heaven with a spreadsheet of when I read the Bible and when I didn't, I think it was the image I needed to set me free from fear about how and when I read it, so in some seasons I have a plan, in others I don't, but I am thankful for each season because his word is true whatever stage of life I am in, and I need his word whatever stage of life I am in. Thankful for your words today!

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    1. For sure, Devi! He just wants to spend precious time with us. No 1-2-3 plans are needed, although sometimes they are super-helpful. Sometimes I'll just sit with a verse or a little devotional reading.

      Or just simply sit and savor His presence, letting it wash over me.

      I'm glad you're here today with us. Welcome!

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  2. Oh, I so agree about those checklists. I was a slave to the dated lists for too long. Now I ignore the dates and just read the next entry at my own pace. I figure that it is better to take five years to read a "one year plan" and really spend quality time with the Lord than to race through in a year. I'm just sorry it took me decades to figure this out.

    I'm really appreciating this series. I just discovered your blog last week. Perfect timing. Thank you for the encouragement.

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    1. You've heard my heart, jlt. I ignore the dates and move ahead at my very slow pace.

      Let's keep encouraging each other to take the pressure off this most sacred of relationships so it can grow and thrive in freedom and grace!

      I am so glad you are here. Truly!

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  3. Hey friend, you won't believe, I am planning to write a post on this. You are right sometimes we get frustrated with trying to keep up rather than savoring.
    Hugs and Blessings to you

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    1. YAY! I can't wait to read your wise words, friend! Let's keep the conversation flowing ...

      ;-}

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  4. Great, great post, Linda! I'm definitely going to join you for the 61 day plan.

    "Like any intimate relationship, over time there emerges a delightful ease, a peaceful comfort, an enduring solace when you are together." <--- Love your words here! So true!

    Blessed to visit with you today, sweet friend! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! :-)

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    1. Let me know how it works for you, dear Tai! I'm always interested in hearing what others find helpful!

      ;-}

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  5. Well, yea, I just lost my entire comment. As I was saying, LOL, how we approach our time with God is key. Is it a box on a To Do list, or a meeting between two friends, two loves? And, because we're human, we go through seasons where our worship may be a little dry. Biblegateway is a fabulous resource, Linda, thank you for sharing that link! I do a lot of the You Version reading plans. While they do link you to a calendar, once you start the plan, I pretty much ignore that part! The main point for me is to be in His word and I like to have a bit of a guide. I'm enjoying these morning invitations, friend. Blessings on your day!

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    1. Thanks for persevering through those tech glitches, friend. Aarrgghh.

      And I love that His grace is sufficient in those desert wilderness seasons. He carries us through when we have no energy to do anything more than lean hard into Him.

      What a wonderful Shepherd we serve! He truly restores our souls.

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  6. Hi Linda! I like open-ended programs too. I keep up with daily ones for a while, but life has a way of happening doesn't it? And giving yourself the permission to work at your own pace means you are open to God's words of love. Savor is just the right term!
    I know you will be blessed on your way. I pray you will hear every love word from Him!
    Ceil

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    1. Ain't that the truth, dear Ceil. Life happens. And this year, you've shown us how to weather through it and prosper in the process. Thank you for living your faith loud and clear.

      No wonder you've got so many fans!!

      ;-}

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  7. Hi Linda,
    Savoring his love letter to us . . . I like that imagery! I used to check off reading his word like a must-do but didn't feel it speak to me until I started really digging in deeper and then I found I couldn't stop reading what he had for me! I follow along with Sara Hagerty's adoration on Instagram and really love the idea of focusing on one verse all day long and praying it back to him. Love the invitation you offer us here, Linda!

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    1. One verse a day focus ... with a lovely picture, too? I could do that! I'm having trouble memorizing a whole chapter of Isaiah right now. I blame it on old age, but it's most likely laziness. But one verse?

      Yeah, that works for me. On an index card. Yep, this I can do.

      You sweet motivator, you!!

      ;-}

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  8. You are always "in the know" about all these goodies being offered out there on the Internet, Linda. How do you do it? Well, since I'm mostly clueless most of the time, I've already got a Bible study plan that works for me. BUT! I do agree that not trying to charge through any particular plan, but allow for the pace of life to be considered, is sound advice. Like you've said, we can get discouraged if we try to do it any other way. Great thought, my friend! I do hope you are loving your new home on the coast. Hugs to you!

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    1. So cool to hear what everybody's doing to keep their devotional times alive and well, isn't it, Beth? This is when an online community is at it's best ... sharing resources, offering encouragement, offering our best gifts to each other.

      God is good!

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  9. In my "Old Age", I read a Psalm everyday and currently I am re-reading through all of Paul's letters. Have done all the different types of plans---prefer this way over them all. Read with no plan--and wait for Him to speak to me!
    Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Old age? Aw come on now, girl! We've got many many miles to travel, God willing. Remember ... 60 is the new 30. That must make you about 15, right?

      ;-}

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  10. How true. I have started many Bible reading plans with good intentions only to find myself falling days behind in no time. I've never liked rigged plans, I want to go at my pace. I am however, really enjoying the First5 app from Proverbs 31. It's a quick devotional I can do first thing in the morning and can come back to when I have more time later in the day.

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    1. And we could always simply read His Word without any guide except the Holy Spirit, yes?

      Maybe we make things way more difficult than they need to be ... but it is cool to see all the helps that are now available at the tap on a screen.

      I'm glad you're here today, Alecia.

      ;-}

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  11. Every January, I consider what Bible reading plan I should begin as the new year begins. I have learned over the years to allow myself grace in choosing one that is too aggressive because more often than not, I am like you and would start to fizzle by February. I have found great joy in joining IF:Equip which is an off shoot of the If Gathering to study a book of the Bible or women of the Bible, etc. It is a short reading and 2-3 min video to highlight the reading. It ends with a question you can answer in your journal. It has been a blessing.

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    1. oohh ... a little video! I like that!

      Cool, Mary!

      Thanks for adding to the list of super resources flowing through here today. What a bounty we enjoy ...

      ;-}

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  12. The only time I read with a plan was when I read through the NIV women's devotional Bible. Other than that, I just read a book at a time and savor all the goodness :). I just started Proverbs.

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    1. I love Proverbs, Anita! One verse contains so much meat to just sit with and digest ...

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  13. Linda,
    I love how you are slowly savoring God's Word...it is my favorite way to study and just be with God :-) Praying you are well...((hugs))

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    1. I always smile when you arrive ...

      ;-}

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  14. Hi, Linda! I'm really enjoying your series. In fact, I'm sharing my top ten 31 day series on my blog tomorrow and you're on my list! Keep it up!

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    1. Wow, Lisa. I feel honored to be included. 31 Days is such a grand adventure, isn't it?

      Thank you ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda