Friday, December 30, 2011

Flowers Fade Friday: do you have a plan?

The year before last {2010}, I read through the whole Bible in a year. I did the Chronological Bible reading plan, but I actually read from my ESV Study Bible. My goals were three-fold: 1) Read the Scripture for the day; 2) Read all the ESV footnotes on the Scripture; 3) Blog about what I was learning at least once a week.

This is actually how I became a blogger!

Clearly, this task was daunting. A year-long Bible plan usually requires reading about three chapters a day. On top of that, I read all the amazing footnotes in the ESV Study Bible {I highly recommend this version if you are looking for a new Bible}, and managed to blog almost once a week.

In addition to trying to keep up with this reading plan, I also got engaged, planned a wedding while teaching high school full-time, got married,  honeymooned in Hawaii, moved to Arizona, and started grad school as a newlywed. Even though it was one of the busiest years of my life, God's grace was poured out upon me during these twelve crazy months. Somehow, I always found the time to do my Bible reading in the midst of the chaos. And even though my life was busy, I felt God's Spirit working in me. His Word kept me calm in the midst of my engagement, His promises reminded me not to idolize my marriage or my wedding, and His commands closed my lips when I wanted to make a snappy comment to my husband in our first months of marriage. A wife is to have "respectful and pure conduct" the Spirit would gently remind me {I Peter 3:2}.

2011 has been quite a different year. I am growing as a wife. We are feeling settled in Arizona. Grad school is going well. I have continued to read my Bible this year, but I have lacked a plan. I read a chapter or two of my Bible each morning. I have started a prayer journal that I write in every now and then. I have read a theological book or two recently. But I miss being challenged by the Word. I miss opening up the Bible each morning knowing what I will read and eagerly knowing God will teach me great things from His Word. Of course, He has taught me things this year, too, but I have missed having His Word as such a central part of my day to day life. Three chapters a day is intense. But it is so GOOD.

This is my favorite way to spend a morning...

I have always been a planner. A first born, an organizer, a type-A personality to the core. Every new year brings with it a list of goals that I hope to accomplish. Not really resolutions, but a detailed plan of what I hope my life will look like over the next twelve months, usually divided into categories: financial, health, home, etc. I plan out my year with new exercise routines, projects to accomplish around the house, academic goals, ideas to improve my marriage and the list goes on and on.

These plans are good. But this year, I want my first plan to be all about how I can enjoy Christ and know Him more in 2012. How can my time with Him this year grow me and convict me the way it did in 2010? I long for intimacy with Him like never before, so in these final weeks before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's, I am asking myself these questions:

How often/how much should I read my Bible this year? 
{Daily for sure, but should it be for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour?}

What should I read in my Bible?

What {if anything} should I read in addition to the Bible?

How can I work sermon podcasts into my daily routine? {This has been on my heart for some time now}.

What should my prayer life look like? How do I best focus on praying for extended periods of time?

How/what Scripture should I memorize?

How should I serve my church and my neighbors this year?

How can I creatively worship God in my personal life?

How does my blog fit into my worship?

These are the questions I am asking myself as 2011 winds to a close and I am praying to God for clear answers. I encourage you to do the same. My prayer for us all is that God will work in our hearts and lives in new ways in 2012, and that we will spend each day thanking Him and Praising Him for it!



Erin said...

Thanks for getting me to ask these same questions! :) I need to come up with a plan too! :)

Lauren: A Joyful Journal said...

This really touched my heart this morning. I need this so badly.. I'm totally 100% type A as well, but when it comes to my relationship with Christ and my devotion to getting into the word, I'm ashamed to say I'm not.. I want a routine so badly and it's something I have been struggling with. thank you for sharing.

Abigail said...

Wonderful post! This is something I definitely need to work on and will be coming up with a plan for my faith goals this year. Blessings on working through your goals!

krislyn. said...

Great post Jen! I have never had a bible reading "plan" but in the back of my mind I have always wanted one. So thanks for sharing!

Jessa Irene said...

I have read the bible thru, kinda in the way you did, just had the desire and day after day just read it. Your year sounds like it was so very busy!! This year I have a program on my phone that starting Jan1 will go though the bible in 1 year, 20 min a day. My plan it to listen to this each morning when driving my kiddos to school. Happy New Years!!

Mr. Taylor and his Lady said...

i definitely think it's very important for us to be more consistant with reading our scriptures. i don't think it matters how long you read it, as long as you really take something from it in every chapter, and devote total attention to it. :)
xo TJ

Tamara said...

beautiful post! you have inspired me to consider a year-long reading plan. wishing you a very happy new's to a wonderful 2012 for all of us!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

oh wow..these are awesome! thanks for sharing lady!

stacey said...

thank you for the reminder. i need this. it's so easy for me to let this slip to the wayside if i don't have a plan!

p.s. i looove me some john piper. ha

Adam n' Shalyn said...

Jen, what a fantastic post!!

2012 for Shalyn: READ JEN'S BLOG E.V.E.R.Y D.A.Y. will warm my heart :)

Thanks friend for you wisdom and truth...and hilarity...

Adam n' Shalyn said...

Jen, what a fantastic post!!

2012 for Shalyn: READ JEN'S BLOG E.V.E.R.Y D.A.Y. will warm my heart :)

Thanks friend for you wisdom and truth...and hilarity...

Jessi said...

I loved your tweet the other day where you said if you were a man you would have been a preacher. I'm so with you!!

I tried to do a reading plan in 2010 and I think I stayed on it for about 2 months, which is good for me! But I know I won't stick to it.

So instead this year I'm making a list of all the books I want to study in depth and I'm going through those. I was listening to something the other day that made me think about how I'm intimidated by how much there is to study about the Bible and that there's no way I could ever learn it all and know all 66 books that in depth. But I want to try! So starting this year and I'm going to dig in as deep as I can.

Renee said...

Love the pics on your About page! And reading what you've accomplished this year makes me feel like I need a nap!

I felt the need for renewal in my Bible study/devotions this year and can't get out to a local study. So I joined a group called The Good Morning Girls. They're studying through Ephesians and we link up on a special FB page to discuss. Sometimes sharing with likeminded others makes the journey sweeter.

Great blog! Blessings!