(Not a fashion post, but I’m obsessed with this top! Wearing my normal size, but it’s an oversize button down so don’t size up.)
For the longest time reading the Bible seemed so difficult and boring. I’m sure you know this feeling. Like it’s a big, old book with weird sayings and it’s going to be more frustrating than fun to read. Right? For the last several years of my walk, I knew I needed to dedicate time to my relationship, other than a prayer before bed. Like all relationships, our relationship with Christ is a two-way street and will suffer without each party giving effort. (Spoiler: God gives effort!) I knew this, and I was determined to pursue the heart of God in the way He pursues mine.
Around this time, God romanced the heck out of me. I had never felt so validated in Him and alive. It was like I was living a life seeing color for the first time. When I was saved, I became a new creation, but at this time I actually felt brand new. Because of this renaissance of heart, I craved the Word. Still, in my wondrous daze of Christ’s love and sacrifice, I didn’t know where to start or if I would get anything out of the things I would read that I wouldn’t understand. For the longest time, I let that stop me from reading the Bible consistently.
I don’t doubt that God can change our hearts whenever He wants to because He’s done it for me. A year ago something changed. On the 1,000th prayer, He answered me when the former 999 were met with silence. I cried out to Him for days, weeks, months and years for freedom, answers and gifts I felt He was withholding from me. Rather than handing me everything I wanted, He handed me something more. Himself.
The funny thing about Satan is that he’s a liar. A dirty liar! All the reasons I had in my head to not read the Bible consistently were lies Satan had told me … and I had believed. I was too prideful to commit my time to something other than myself. I was too lazy to actually try. I was content in my relationship. I was worried it wouldn’t be fun. I was a walking contradiction. I wanted God, but I wanted the God who would make my life more like the picture in my head.
When I got into this routine of reading the Bible every day, I found that I really discovered God. I thought I knew who He was, but I didn’t know His heart as deeply as I do now. Even a year from now, I hope I know His heart even more than I do today. I read verses that blew my mind and made my jaw drop. Verses that have been immensely comforting and exciting all at once. Verses that were so simple, but hit me somewhere deep.
I found that reading at night was the time that worked best for me. So I read after quiet nights in with friends or at 2 a.m. over OU/Texas weekend. I read after a club special at the Mont and even with a friend who was looking for answers herself.
I fell in love with stories featuring characters that I will someday meet in eternity. Hannah taught me about faith. Ruth taught me about perseverance. Hosea taught me about fearlessness. The Israelites taught me about God’s capacity for love. God taught me about His humor and patience.
The reality is that reading the Bible every day for a year has been one of the best parts of my day for the last 365 days. It has challenged me, taught me, inspired me, moved me and confused me (honestly). I’ve Googled and researched the words I read. I’ve made notes in all kinds of margins and found the most profound beauty in the most random of passages. I know that Satan is a liar and my God is the truth because everything that I believed about dedicating time to the Word has been proven false. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires,” Hebrews 4:12 says.
One of the things that always confused me about Christ is the teaching that we must die to truly live. How could I be living for Christ and dying to myself simultaneously? I never knew. Now, I understand it. Dedicating even 5 minutes a day in the Word is a sacrifice because my flesh is tired and wants to sleep or watch TV or scroll aimlessly through Instagram. By bypassing these fleshy desires in pursuit of Christ results in way more satisfaction and happiness than social media or sleep (which, if you know me, is huge). In death, I’m truly finding LIFE and life abundant.
Since March of 2017 I have read the Bible every day … That’s pretty cool to think about. I started in my favorite book, Psalms, and went from there. I’ve completed the New Testament and the minor prophets of the Old Testament. I’m into Genesis right now with plans to hit Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, etc. until I reach a book I’ve already read. I read at least a chapter each night before I go to bed, and I spend my time winding down in community with God. We talk about what I just read or the lessons He is teaching me in this season of life.
Yes, He has answered prayers that I was praying when I first started along this journey. But, there are also many prayers that are yet to be determined. The thing is, I didn’t start this only hoping it would result in my blessing with a job, boyfriend, blog success, health, family safety and happiness or wealth. Yes, He has given me some of those things, and I’m really grateful for them because I pray over these things, but they all will fade and die away. His love, truth and kingdom will never die. Like Craig Groeschel said in church yesterday, “If God met all of your expectations, He would never have the chance to exceed them.” He fulfilled His promise and gave me more of Himself … or rather, I’ve now opened my heart to more of Himself.
He is radical and overwhelming, and He will fulfill His purpose for me in His proper time. The more I read His Word, the more I know this to be true. He is good, lovely, funny, surprising, wise and just. He is more than I deserve and less of a burden than Satan tried to convince me of! His Word will change you from the inside out. I know it, because it has happened to me.
I encourage you to go along the path of reading the Bible for a year. Figuring out your relationship with Christ will take some time and there may be stumbles along the way. But, like Ruth, you must persevere. Don’t let Satan convince you that this journey is supposed to be perfect. If you believe that, you’ll never know the heart of God in the way He was made to be known and you’ll never truly live the life that He died to give us.
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.