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!
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!