I have done several kinds of Bible reading plans since I became a believer in my early teens. The first few times around it was difficult to find the discipline to read the Bible every day all year long, so I usually left off somewhere between February and September.
As I grew up, I became a bit more disciplined. In recent years, I have followed the reading plan I found in my day planner and Justin Taylor’s Plan for Shirkers and Slackers. Both are wonderful plans.
In the past year, however, that discipline has largely fallen apart in favor of working through some much-needed topical bible studies—when I could find the time. But when I finished the last study, it left a vacuum of sorts, both in my schedule and in my plan. As a result I turned to My Utmost for His Highest in the mornings.
Bless you, Oswald Chambers, for your brevity.
This devotional only takes about five minutes, and it has been a wonderful tool to spark prayer, meditation on scripture, and worship. Occasionally I also pull out The Valley of Vision as a further aid to prayer and worship. I plan on continuing with this, but at the same time it’s not the Bible, and I find myself hungering for more of God’s word in my daily fare.
But who has time for a devotional and several chapters of Bible reading before the kids get up and it’s time to make breakfast? I know some of you do—good for you! Keep it up! But others of us can’t afford to chip away at our sleep (whether in the morning or at night) due to our current season of life or health issues. Can I get an Amen?
One of the most difficult aspects of sticking to a Bible reading plan for us busy (and sleep-dependent) moms is the question of when we will do it and do it consistently. When it comes to developing habits we can stick with, it helps to attach our new habit to a habit that we already practice each day, like praying as a family before sending the kids to bed, drinking a glass of water as soon as we wake up, or taking medicine before a certain meal. With this principle in mind, I’ve created this Eight-Step process for establishing a Consistent Bible Reading Time. Here we go:
Lauren’s Bible Reading Plan for Busy Moms
Step One: Locate a Bible (a compacted size may be preferable) and a Bookmark
Step Two: Place Bookmark in Bible
Step Three: Locate the Toilet
Step Four: Locate a Drawer or Basket near the Toilet and put the Bible in it
Warning! Shelves or Baskets above the Toilet are not a Good Idea if you do not own a Water Proof Microban Bible. No, I don’t know this from Experience, but I do have a rather Vivid Imagination.
Step Five: When nature calls, or when the kids have driven you crazy and you need to Relieve Yourself of Burdens and Refuel Your Soul, go do your thing in the bathroom (locking the door behind you). But be sure to leave your Phone in your pocket and read your Bible instead.
Step Six: When you are Done, be sure to mark your place with the Bookmark and put the Bible back in its special Drawer or Basket BEFORE you do anything to soil your hands. Just because we’re in a Common Place doesn’t mean we have to treat the Bible as Common—Keep. It. Holy.
Step Seven: Flush and wash hands. (Of course.)
Step Eight: Step back into the Domestic Mayhem with a Smile.
That’s it. Just read the Bible from front to back and use a book mark to keep your place. Or if you get bogged down in the Old Testament, read one book in the Old and then the next in the New Testament, using two book marks, and just go back and forth after each book until you’ve read the Old Testament once and the New Testament…more than once. You could even just start with a goal reading through the New Testament, or just the Gospels on repeat. Whatever your preference, my plan is all about finding the time to actually do it by anchoring it to something you find time for every day anyway.
My personal goal is to actually make it through the Bible in a year by reading it while I’m on the can, so I aim to read three chapters every time I sit down and I’m not-in-a-hurry. You can read different amounts each time or set a goal like I did. Either way, you’re redeeming that alone time and saturating your mind with truth. I’m pretty well convinced that it will work since I’ve read through several books simply by keeping them in the bathroom. In fact, when you’re done with this pass through the Bible, check out Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic—my all-time favorite mommy bathroom book (short chapters, anyone?).
Now, I know this may not work for everyone…for those of you who are very regular you may never spend more than two minutes on the toilet. Take that minuscule period of time to count your blessings, favored ones. For the rest of us, we know we’ll be spending some considerable time in the bathroom—and especially on days when we just need a few more minutes of solitude while the kids are silently destroying something in another room (at least it won’t involve toilet paper this time, right?).
And just think! When you finally get up from reading the scriptures, and hopefully praying for God to give you grace to love your children as you should, you will be so much better prepared to not rip their precious little heads off when you find them painting the windows with peanut butter. Or flooding the kitchen and living room by emptying the water filter reservoir. (True story.) Imagine if you’d spent that time on your phone heathenishly playing meaningless games, scrolling endlessly through your news feed, or watching late night TV excerpts and the latest movie trailers on YouTube. You’d surely feel guilty and make the kids pay for it. But instead you were reading the bible. No guilt. No guilt at all.
…And hopefully no reactions you’ll later regret.
And who knows, perhaps sanctifying potty time will motivate you to consecrate the space more often (read: keep that porcelain throne spotless and shining—and maybe even light a candle. What could be more inviting?).
At any rate, I’m highly optimistic that this new Bible reading plan will go quite smoothly for me this year.