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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!

New Year, New Goals or New Year, Same Goals?

New Year, New Goals or New Year, Same Goals?

New Year, New Goals or New Year, Same Goals?

This year I think most people were more anxious for the start of a new year than ever before. Everyone wanted to leave 2020 behind. The year that was supposed to be filled with vision and clarity quickly became the year that no one could see the end in sight. 

It seems like as soon as December 31st hits everyone starts thinking about the new year and goals they want to make. Eating healthy, a new exercise routine, be more productive, etc. I am guilty of this myself. I love making lists and planning things out, so the New Year feels like a perfect excuse to do those things and set goals. 

I feel like there’s also an added pressure of doing this because you expect people are going to ask you what your goals are for the new year, when they see you. So you have to have something good to say, right? 

While I love new planners and setting goals and all the things that come with the New Year, one thing i’ve learned is that the new year is not the only time you’re allowed to set goals and restart.

I’m writing this with only a couple days left in January(I’m really trying to make sure I stick to my goal I set this year of posting every month) and this is about the time where the excitement of the goals you set are starting to wear off. Maybe your exercise plan was consistent for the first couple weeks, but now it seems hit and miss. 

You might be a few days behind in your Bible reading plan. Maybe you don’t even set goals because you are afraid of not completing them. 

 When we set goals and put things in writing it makes us feel vulnerable. It’s almost easier to not set a goal because if we aren’t successful with it and keep at it, there’s no written record of it. I used to not set goals because I was so afraid of not completing them or following through. I didn’t want to feel like a failure. Putting something in writing doesn’t have to be scary.

By not setting goals for myself I was hindering my ability to grow. I love learning, whether it’s something new or just a more in-depth study on something I already know. I never want to become content with where I’m at and stop learning. I want to learn and grow my whole life and part of that includes setting goals for myself that I’m working towards. 

 It doesn’t matter if you set your goals in January, April or June. It doesn’t matter if it takes you one month or two years to complete. What I think is important is that you are consistent. If you have ideas of things you want to do and accomplish, go after them. Be consistent in pursuing them. You don’t have to set goals, but I think we should always be seeking to better ourselves, and having a vision or idea of what that will look like is so helpful.

Our lives are constantly changing, so if you have a goal or plan for something and it’s not working, change it. Don’t wait until next January, change it now. There’s no rule that says we need a new year, new month, or new week to make a change in our lives, but when we think like that we usually end up using it as an excuse to never make the change.

This year I’m using the Cultivate What Matters goal planner. It’s been so good in helping me see the big picture of things that I want to accomplish, but it helps me break them down into manageable monthly tasks. You reassess at the beginning of each month so if something isn’t working you can change it and move forward. 

There is something rewarding about putting things to paper and being able to see growth in different areas of your life. You don’t have to become a new you in the new year, but there’s always something we can be working on. 

Take time to think about things you want to accomplish and set a plan in action to achieve that. Who cares if January is almost over, who cares whether you’ve already tried and failed, so what if you feel like you should change your plan in February. But pick something and be consistent in working towards it.

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!

A Heart for Community

A Heart for Community

The world makes it seem like we can do everything on our own. We don’t need anyone else in our lives to help us, or to give us advice. “I got this!” is a phrase thrown around a lot. I’m guilty of saying this myself. I always think I can handle all the things, until all of a sudden…I can’t. Why do we think we can, or should, do it all by ourselves? The truth is, we were not meant to do life alone. There’s so many benefits to having a community of people in our lives and creating lasting friendships. 

 

The dictionary defines community as:

A unified body of individuals: such as people with common interests living in a particular area.

 

Community is so important in our lives. Without community we can often feel lonely and discouraged. If you have people in your life with the same interests as you and who live in the same area, you can learn and be  encouraged by them. It gives you a sense of belonging.  

 

Surrounding ourselves with people who can encourage us, and help us love one another well is so helpful. I didn’t grow up with a large community of people. I had a few friends, but it was never anything really substantial. When my husband and I got married we were attending a small church that didn’t have very many people and community seemed almost non-existent. There were many times where I felt lonely or discouraged and just wanted to have people to do life with. People I could learn from and be encouraged by. 

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

 The definition of encouragement is- the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope. I love that. I pray that you all have people in your life that encourage you. Someone who supports you, gives you confidence and gives you hope. As believers we can get all of these things from Christ, but if we don’t have other people around us to support us, it can still be tiring and hard.  Having someone offer you hope or give you support in a tough situation can be exactly the encouragement you need to get you through that hard time.

 

Accountability is another important piece of community, and maybe one we don’t want to entertain as much. The verse says, ‘let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.’ Having good spiritual people in your life who help you stay accountable in your walk is great. We are all human, we make mistakes, we make bad decisions. But I appreciate the people I have in my life so much, who remind me in difficult situations that maybe I didn’t act or respond in the best way I could have. People who ask me hard questions and get me thinking about what I really should be doing, or who just flat out tell me I’m being dumb. There’s something so comforting about having people in your life who will help you be the best version of yourself.

 

My husband and I are now a part of a large community. We have so many people in our lives who encourage us and support us. When we were going through our season where we didn’t have community in our lives and many friends, it was difficult. I am an extrovert and thrive on doing things with people, so when we didn’t have people in our lives to do things with it was hard. Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation right now, where you don’t have community, or you just don’t know how to create friendships.

 

 Becoming a part of a thriving community didn’t come without effort. My husband and I made intentional decisions that played a big role in developing friendships with people. We had to invite people over, go to events where we didn’t really know anyone. Create conversation with people even if we didn’t know who they were. It took(and still does) a lot of time and effort. You can’t expect to move to a new town or go to a new church and just all of a sudden have hundreds of friends without putting in any effort. 

 

The Bible talks a lot about believer’s meeting together and people inviting others into their home. We are not meant to walk this life out alone. One of my favorite verses is Acts 2:46 which says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” My husband and I have this verse printed on a canvas and hanging in our dining room. I love hosting people in our home. One of the ways we’ve been able to build some of our strongest friendships we have right now was through having people over for dinner. Inviting people into our home and breaking bread together has brought some of our best conversations. 

 

We don’t have to have the perfect home, or best meal to invite someone over. If you’re worried about cooking, just invite them over for coffee. Buy something pre-made at the store. Sometimes I think we can put too much pressure on ourselves to make sure everything in our lives is perfect before we can have people over. My home is much too small to be hosting large groups and somehow we still find a way to fit 20 people in here. If you’re waiting for the perfect season in your life, perfect house, or meal, it will never happen.

 

You can cultivate friendships and community no matter what season of life you are in. It’s ok if your friendships and community look different than someone else’s, do what works best for you. The important thing is you’re putting yourself out there and allowing other people to be a part of your life. 

 

“Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

 

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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