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Thoughts on ‘The Shred’

Thoughts on ‘The Shred’

Thoughts on 'The Shred'

In my last blog post I talked about goal setting and working towards things you want to accomplish. One of the things I wanted to do this year was read through the Bible in 30 days. My husband and I heard about The Shred, a 30 day Bible reading plan, last year and considered doing it, but we decided to wait. As it got closer to January this year we started hearing about it again and decided we would take the plunge and do it.

 

I struggled with the decision of doing it because I didn’t want to get started and then not finish. I knew it was going to be a couple hours of reading every day and it wasn’t going to be easy. If you know me you know I have a strong desire for reading the Bible and encouraging others to read the Bible as well. I try to read my Bible everyday because I truly feel like God speaks to us through His word and there’s a stronger relationship that’s created by being in His word every day. However, I knew that my Bible reading and journaling I do everyday usually only takes about 30 minutes, so this was going to be a commitment. 

 

I knew doing this plan was going to look different compared to my regular Bible reading. I often will journal my thoughts as I’m reading and if I want to look deeper into something I will cross reference verses, get out a commentary, etc. With this reading plan I decided to just read. I would sometimes make a note in my Bible, or I would write on a post-it note and stick in my Bible to go back to and look into later.

 

January is normally a slow month for our family and we were coming off a very busy season, so we intentionally decided to keep January as free as possible and have a month of rest. I figured this would be the best time to do it because I wouldn’t have as many things going on. I’ve read through the Bible in a year before, but never 30 days. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but when January 1st came around, my husband and I started the reading plan.

 

The Old Testament isn’t always everyone’s favorite to read. It’s easy for people to feel like God is angry and impossible to follow in the Old Testament vs the loving and caring Heavenly Father we see in the New Testament. The thing is, God is unchanging, His character is the same today as it was 5,000 years ago. He is always just and always merciful. The more I read the Old Testament, the more I see this side of God. 

 

Because I enjoy reading the Pentateuch(the first five books of the Old Testament), the first week of reading was pretty easy. I tried to get most of my reading done in the morning before the kids got up, but that didn’t always work so I would usually finish up my reading after we finished their schoolwork for the day. 

 

I never really thought of myself as an angry person, until I had children. My kids are not the reason for my anger, but having children has revealed just how selfish I am. Usually when I get angry it’s because I can’t do what I want to do. I have other people who have needs that they can’t meet themselves, so I am the one to do it. I hate how easily angered I can get. The first thing I noticed in reading this much scripture and always reading my Bible, was that I was not as easily angered. 

 

Reading the Old testament this quickly really showed me how many times the Israelites messed up, and how many times God was gracious and quick to forgive them when they repented. Seeing my children do things that frustrated me or being unkind to each other no longer made me instantly annoyed, it was a reminder that God was merciful and gracious to His children and I need to do the same for mine. The more I see God’s heart and learn about Him, the more I’m able to change my heart to be more like His. 

 

As I continued into the second week of the reading plan I realized that even though I was spending a couple hours a day just reading the Bible, I still wanted to read more when I was done. The more you do something the more it becomes a habit. The more time I spend on my phone, the easier it is for me to do throughout the day. This is usually by go-to when I have five minutes. However, the more I was reading, the easier it was for me to just pick up a book when I had a minute of free time. I love reading and often feel like I don’t have a lot of time to read. I quickly realized this wasn’t the case…I just wasn’t making it a priority and filled my time with other things instead. 

 

Going into the third week was my biggest challenge. I didn’t expect the Psalms to be that hard to read. You read Psalms over four days on the reading plan. I don’t often read poetry and when I do it’s usually no more than 1 or 2 poems at a time. This was where my discipline in finishing this really took over. I will say with reading so much of the Psalms at one time I easily recalled the stories David was referring to in his songs.

 

During this time our children were realizing just how much time we were spending reading the Bible. Our oldest said he didn’t even think he could read his Bible in a year. We encouraged him to just pick it up and start reading and he would probably be surprised at how quickly he went through it. Our children watch everything we do, so I’m not really(or shouldn’t be) surprised when my kids quickly get angry…this is, after all, what they’ve witnessed from me time and time again. Reading the Bible helped with my anger and I also noticed a change in my children. That alone was enough for me to continue, but after seeing how they took an interest in what we were doing and wanting to do it themselves, that was the ultimate reward. 

 

I was so happy to be almost done with the reading plan and thrilled that I had stuck with it. The last week we read through the New Testament. The New Testament is so full of hope. It fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament and we learn about the new covenant, Jesus’ ministry, the sacrifice He made for us, and the eternal life we can have through Him. I love reading the New Testament and seeing how it connects to the Old Testament and shows how the Bible comes together as one overarching story. 

 

I learned so much during those 30 days and felt like God worked so much in my life. I think I’m going to start making this something I do every January. Now that i’ve done it and seen how it touched my life and all that I learned from it, I want to do it more.

 

I think that’s the point, right? Creating a desire to learn more about God and read His Word. The more we read the Bible, the more we should want to read it. You don’t need to read the whole Bible in 30 days, you just need to read it. The more you read it, the more you are going to want to read it. I encourage you to open it up and read it every day, even just one verse. It will change your life!

Here is the link for the reading plan I followed if you’re interested!

THE_SHRED_FIN

Hi, I’m Hannah.

I am a lover of Jesus, wife, and mom to 3 kids. Occasionally I like to share things that are on my heart and you’ll find them here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my site!

Closed Bible: Closed Heart

Closed Bible: Closed Heart

Closed Bible: Closed Heart

A few weeks ago, I felt like I was going through a ‘dry’ spell. Not just in my spiritual life, but in all areas. I was walking with a friend and I was sharing with her that I didn’t feel like reading my Bible. I didn’t feel like putting in the energy it took to be a good wife and mother. I felt very closed off to everything. I didn’t want to justify any of my feelings, I just wanted to be numb to everything.

If I’m being honest, I’m feeling very ‘over’ it all. All meaning this pandemic. I’m ready for things to start opening up again and life to start feeling like it has some normalcy to it. I’m tired of people not looking at you or saying, “Hi” in the stores, I’m tired of wearing masks that reveal to you everything you’ve eaten since the last time you brushed your teeth. It was all just feeling a bit frustrating to me at this point.

During this week of letting myself feel all the emotions, I had stopped feeding myself spiritually. I didn’t want to open my Bible in the morning(or anytime of the day). I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking. I let my prayers be real and felt very raw to God. 

I always feel a little weird in this part of my relationship with God. Should I really be sharing the anger and frustrations of my heart to the one who created me? Shouldn’t I just be happy and thankful all the time to God? My deepest relationships with people are the ones where I can open up and let them know my true thoughts. The ones where I can share my frustration and anger and they still love me. If I don’t open myself up and become vulnerable with them our relationship doesn’t grow. So yes, I should be sharing this part of my heart with God. Sharing everything with Him is going to allow my relationship to grow deeper with Him. Sharing my heart with him like that allows me to open myself up to Him, be vulnerable, and let Him root out those things that shouldn’t be there and replace them with truth. 

I had spent a week letting the things of this world consume me. I was letting news articles and Facebook posts consume my heart, not the Lord. The things we consume ourselves with and fill our minds with are the things that start to become the meditation of our heart. When we don’t have the right things consuming us, our minds can start to get in a scary place. 

One morning I decided I had had enough and I was going to get myself out of this mindset. I was going to stay off social media and read my Bible. I opened my Bible and out fell a journal entry from a retreat I was a part of last year. In this journal was a devotional I wrote on our heart’s desire. This was exactly the reminder I needed at that moment. 

I wrote about the meditation of our hearts and asked questions about where our hearts were, and what was consuming our hearts. Even though I wrote this over a year ago, it was so relevant to my situation right now. Often when I’m writing things or planning speaking topics for events, the Lord uses what I’m writing or learning about to work on my own life, even more than for other people. I decided I was going to do my own devotional and reevaluate my heart. 

I realized that in a short span of a week I had let my heart get hard. I allowed social media and the world to get into my head. I let the world have a bigger impact on me than Christ. I had closed my Bible and in turn, closed my heart to the only one that matters. 

Working my way through the devotional allowed me to redirect my thoughts and open my heart back up. I allowed myself to be vulnerable with God again. God calls us to guard our hearts, but He doesn’t call us to have hard hearts. When we harden our hearts we’re no longer allowing anything to filter through, whether good or bad.

Opening my heart back up to Him allowed me to realize just how much He cares for me and the desires of my heart. God is always in control, He is always on the throne. And I need to seek Him, and meditate on His word constantly. It is the only thing that can fulfill me and pull me out of the pit of despair. Seeking Him is the only way I can allow my heart to be consumed by Him. And that’s really all I want- a heart that is consumed with Christ. 

I think it’s good for me to go through these kinds of weeks from time to time. It reminds me who I’m putting my trust in and what my focus is on. I don’t think that feeling this way means I have a weak faith, but rather, I think it shows just how much I need a Savior. 

I’m going to share my devotional with you. Feel free to print it off and work through it if you’re feeling like your heart and mind could use a reset.

Our Heart’s Desire Devotional

Hi, I’m Hannah.

I am a lover of Jesus, wife, and mom to 3 kids. Occasionally I like to share things that are on my heart and you’ll find them here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my site!

Studying Your Bible

Studying Your Bible

Studying Your Bible

I have such a passion for studying the Bible and truly knowing what it says. I hope that is something that becomes evident the more you get to know me. I have a heart for teaching people to read their Bible. To really understand it and study it out in great detail. 

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 

This is a big part of why I think studying your Bible is so important. I want to be able to give people a Biblical answer for why I believe the things I believe and without knowing the Bible I wouldn’t be able to do that. 

Studying your Bible is such an important piece of maintaining a deep relationship with Christ. Knowing the Bible and what it says is such an insight to the heart of our Creator. It’s here and waiting for us to open and spend time in communion with Him. It takes time, effort and discipline. If we do not have a routine or a good idea of how to do something before we start it’s easy to make excuses and come up with reasons not to do it. I find that having a routine and clear idea of how I plan to read or study my Bible each day is very helpful. I want to share some of the things that I do when I study in hopes of giving you some ideas in case you may struggle in this area.

First of all, there is no right or wrong way to read your Bible. The most important thing is that you are reading it.  Reading your Bible can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Secondly, you don’t have to have a perfect setup in order to read your Bible. You don’t have to wake up at 5am while everyone else is still sleeping, brew yourself some coffee, have light music, a cozy blanket and a lit candle. If you have this idea in your head that you can only read your Bible with a perfect setup, you are probably never going to read your Bible.. Reading your Bible is more important than creating the perfect quiet time setup. Do what works best for you and the season of life you’re in. If that means reading your Bible at 8 o’clock at night that’s perfectly fine.

My quiet time is more productive if I can do it before my kids get up. Unfortunately, this hardly ever happens. My kids get up early and I’ve just learned that they are going to be a part of my “Quiet Time.” Realizing that my time in the word was not always going to be peaceful and quiet has helped me continue to read the Bible every day. I no longer have this idea in my head where I can only read until my children wake up, or if it’s perfectly calm and quiet in my house. If my children see that I’m reading my Bible when they get up they know that they may have to wait until I’m done before I start doing all the things for them. They know this because they have seen me consistently reading my Bible enough in the morning to know this is our normal routine. It doesn’t mean they don’t interrupt me or ask me things while I’m studying, but the more that this happens on a daily basis, the easier it is for them to expect it. My kids will often just grab a book and sit next to me when they get up and see that I’m still reading. 

Having an idea of what I’m going to read each day is also very helpful for me, especially because I know I have limited time. Knowing what I’m going to read helps me not waste time each morning thinking, “Hmm…what should I read today?” I usually pick a book of the Bible to read and when I finish it move on to another book. I don’t read the books in any special order.  If I don’t have something in mind to read when I sit down or just decide I want something different that day, I will often go to the Psalms and pick a chapter to read. Anything you read from the Bible is going to be beneficial for you. It doesn’t matter if you read a whole book in one sitting, or just one verse, what matters is that you are opening God’s Word and allowing Him to speak to you through it. 

Here are a few things that I have found helpful in studying the Bible:

 

  • Know what you’re going to study before you start. Choose a book of the Bible or have something in mind that you want to read the day before, so you aren’t using all your time searching for something to study.
  • Study with a pen and journal. I like to write down anything that sticks out to me while I’m reading. If I have any questions about something while I’m studying I’ll write those down and if I don’t find the answers as I’m reading I will look those up in a commentary or concordance when I’m done. Writing down the things that stick out to me is also helpful for me in remembering what I’m reading or studying.
  • Look up words that you don’t know the meaning of or understand why it’s being used in that context. There have been times when I didn’t understand a verse or passage and looking up the definition of the word helped me understand what it was talking about. Looking up words in the dictionary and also in a concordance can be very helpful.
  • Check cross references. This is also helpful if you have words or passage you don’t quite understand. Cross referencing allows us to let scripture interpret scripture. 
  • Pray while you read. If you’re struggling to understand a passage that you’re reading, ask God to reveal it to you. When we pray during out study time we are allowing the Holy Spirit to come in and work in us. 

 

These are things that are helpful to me. It doesn’t have to be what you do. If you do all of these things already, great. If you look at this list and think, I would never be able to do all that, that’s fine too. Maybe you can take a couple of these things and start applying it to your quiet time and see if it benefits you. The most important thing is that you’re opening your Bible and reading it every day. God longs for us to have a desire to know Him and the best way for us to do that is to read His Word. He wants us to meet with Him every day, He wants to be the one who fills us up. 

I’m going to link a few resources and websites that I use when I study as well. I plan to share more about these in my stories on Instagram next week, so if you would like to see more information about any of these resources be sure to follow along there.

 

 

I would love to hear how you study the Bible and get in The Word each day. Feel free to leave a comment with what works for you and any tips you may have. I think there’s always something we can learn from each other.

Hi, I’m Hannah.

I am a lover of Jesus, wife, and mom to 3 kids. Occasionally I like to share things that are on my heart and you’ll find them here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my site!

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