Reflections on 6 (7!) Weeks of Devotional Reflections
Starting in mid-July, I decided I was going to help focus my daily habit of Bible-reading by writing posts about what I learned every day, aiming to hit 6 weeks (though at this point it has actually been 7) with a considerable degree of consistency. My goal was to write every day, but of course I ended up missing that mark within the first week, and while I have still written several times a week throughout the whole process, it has been substantially less than daily—about half that, actually. While that didn’t exactly match my goal, I was never as concerned about the writing as about studying Scripture consistently and faithfully through the period, and in that I succeeded.
My Bible-reading habits have been inconsistent for years—not for lack of desire, but because, until this last month and a half, I have had a very hard time finding a good routine that I could maintain for any stretch of time. If I try to do my devotions in the morning, I usually find myself falling asleep, or very distracted. (There are a few things I can do well early in the morning, including writing; reading is generally not on that list, though.) Likewise, if I read right before bed, I tend to end up falling asleep while reading.
The approach I took these past seven weeks has thus been quite helpful. First, I picked late evening (but not bedtime) to do my devotional reading. This necessitated some adjustments to the rest of my schedule, and in particular I have had to figure out how to make sure I spend good time with Jaimie earlier in the evening, as late evenings were usually when we hung out before I started this. Second, planning to write after I did my reading usually helped me stay awake (computer screens will do that), and always helped me think about the passage I was reading more carefully. It is one thing to take notes on a passage and observe the facts and details and theological points being made. It is another thing entirely to reflect and to turn one’s exegesis to doxology. Because of the devotional nature of the posts I have written, though, I have found it much easier to direct my heart to worship in the devotional times, which in turn has further helped me sustain the time, because the point of devotions is not merely increasing knowledge but worshipping the living God.
I have yet to decide exactly what course I will take in the weeks ahead. I have so greatly enjoyed this that I expect I shall continue it (though I will of course have to change the descriptive editorial text at the top of the posts, since it will neither be perfectly daily nor only a 6-week practice). The habit of writing, as I have often mused, is a good one for me: I often think things through by writing about them. At the same time, I am very busy, and do not have the time necessary to write the kinds of posts I might like to—longer, more careful explorations of political, cultural, and theological topics. Rather than slumping back into another season of not writing simply because of that lack of time, continuing to write these short posts—posts that rarely take me more than half an hour, and sometimes much less—will be a helpful discipline going forward.
And of course—lest I forget—I also intend to keep up with it because it is simply fun.