I’ve started lots of different Bible reading plans through the years. And usually it only takes a few weeks before I completely fall off the wagon.
What’s the difference so far this time? Well, I think one thing that is helping me stick with it is that I am giving myself a healthy dose of grace.
I’m learning to be somewhere in the middle of slacker and perfectionist. When I’m in a slacker mode I will just brush off whatever it is I have set out to do (Bible reading in this instance). I’ll make excuses for myself and pretty soon forget all about that really sincere jolt of spiritual resolve that I had when I started.
Then, sometimes, I’m in a perfectionist mode. I tell myself that I need to read at a certain time of the day, and a certain number of chapters, and in a certain order (beginning to end, chronological, etc.) I even get really nerdy about it and divide the chapters of the Bible by how many days there are left in the calendar year. “All I have to do is read 4.47 chapters every day for the rest of the year, and I’ll have read the whole Bible!”
The problem with perfectionist mode is that I can’t sustain even the appearance of perfect for very long at all. This leads down the path of being extremely hard on myself to the point of eventually giving up because, “Why do I even try?”
The middle ground… giving myself some grace and some room to grow. I will slip up. I will have days where I find a million and one other things to do, have a bad attitude, or simply forget.
God has so much to teach me about following him. I don’t have time to mope around about my inability to live up to someone else’s expectations of what it looks like to be a “good Christian.” I’m going to pick back up where I left off, take one day at a time, and continue seeking to know God more and more.
I’m giving myself grace, just ordinary grace, but oh how sweet the sound!