How to Overcome Bible Reading Guilt

How to overcome bible reading guilt

Bible Reading Guilt is a real thing. I know it is because I feel it everytime I hear someone tell me all about how they’re reading  through the bible in one year, or having these amazing quiet times. All. The. Time.

Why can’t I be more like them? Why can’t I read the bible just like them? Seriously, it’s like some kind of mental block has occured, and in that moment, I hate myself for it.

Have you ever been there? Are you feeling it right now. Because I know I am.

But there is good news for all of us people facing Bible Reading Guilt.

We do not need to struggle, It is possible to find freedom from it.

The Two Reasons for Bible Reading Guilt

But before I go any further, I want to explain what I think are the two main reasons for bible reading guilt.how to overcome bible reading guilt

The shame of comparison: We need to slow down

We compare ourselves to the people we think are doing better than our selves. Guilt creeps in as we continue down this path, and at some point along it we forget that we are not them. Maybe we simply do not have as much time to read the bible as them, perhaps because of work or family commitments. Or maybe our emotions are in turmoil and we do not have the head space to intensively study the bible at this point in time. God understands this. He is our friend, and real friends understand when we do not have as much time to give to a relationship as we would like. In this situation we need to slow down.

We are genuinely being convicted: We need to knuckle down.

We do actually have the time and the space to read the bible, but for whatever reason we just not doing it. Maybe it seems like a steep mountain to climb; maybe reading the bible terrifies us; or we just don’t know where to begin. Whatever reason it is, we can overcome it. God has forgiven you for when you haven’t given him as much time as you should. But, in this situation we may need to knuckle down.

For the times you need to slow down

Take small steps. Don’t bite of more than you can chew. Focus on qualtily not quanitity. You probably could race through a couple of champters. But would you remember any of it? Might it be better to just slow down.

Try reading just one verse, try writing it out or sticking it somewhere that you will see it regularly.

Try listening to good Christian music. Lots of these songs are filled bible verses and words of encouragement. Listening to these songs is a great way of getting God’s word deep into you. Spotify is a great place to start, or listening to a Christian radio station such as UCB.

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Get into a habit of talking to God throughout the day. Tell him about the little things you are going through, Keep him at the centre of everything that is happening.

Tell him about your struggle. Tell him about why you are struggling. True friends understand when you are unable to give as much as you would like in a relationship for whatever reason. God understands as well.

Just be still and know that he is God. I know this is an easy thing to say, but when I was going through a tough time I would just picture myself in the arms of Jesus. I think that was all my mind could cope with at that time, but in doing that I found peace.

For the times you need to knuckle down.

 

Be encouraged rather than guilt tripped by other people’s success. They are only human beings too. If they can do it then so can you!

Try reading a Christian biography. Reading about someone who’s life has been transformed by the bible, is a great way to be spurred on to read yourself.

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Invest in a bible with wide margins, so you have space to write or draw.

Use a bible reading plan, or don’t. Whatever you prefer. There are no rules when it comes to reading the bible. But having a plan can be useful for a lot of people.

Join a church home group (or cell group, or small group, or life group, or connect group or whatever other crazy name your church gives for groups of people who get together in each others homes to read the bible and pray together.) This is a safe space where you are able to talk about the bits of the bible you find hard to understand. Other people can encourage you, and even better… You get to be an encouragement to them as well.

Just do it. Every single day. Whether that means setting your alarm a bit earlier, or carving out some other time in the day. Make time for reading the bible, and commit to it. And when you don’t manage to, don’t feel guilty about it. Each day is a new one.

Try starting a blog. I know this sounds a bit of a weird one, but I couldn’t not share it. Blogging has really helped me crystalize my thinking in a lot of areas, because I can’t share something, unless I am sure it is what I really believe. And I often can’t know that, without going back to the bible.

And Finally…

It doesn’t matter if you continue to struggle in this area for the rest of your life. In Christ you are a new creation, there is no shame or condemnation. You do not need to feel guilty, no matter  how many times you mess up, as long as you are actively seeking him.

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One Step at a Time, at Just the Right Time

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This is my testimony of God’s provision over the last year. I haven’t shared much detail of this with many people apart from close friends and family, but I feel that now is the right time to start to share my story.

Almost a year ago ten months ago I walked out of a marriage which was both controlling and verbally and physically abusive. I spent a lot of time feeling lonely and afraid in those years.

Of course, I felt a great relief walking away from all of that pain. But part of me felt a deep shame. I was the good Christian girl, the one who always went to youth group and read her bible every single night. I had gone to bible college and even worked for a church for a good number of years. I should not be the kind of person to find herself in this kind of situation. Broken, sitting in a solicitors office, trying to work out how exactly to get a divorce, whilst still in her twenties.

How could I possibly bounce back from that one?

But somehow God has bought me through. Through many, many boxes of tissues, he has blessed me abundantly, and continued to surprise me with his provision.

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One step at a time… At just the right time.

When I first left my marriage I felt God telling me that

A few weeks after moving in with my parents I got offered a temporary part time position working for Card Factory. I got a phone call from them, before I even reached home after handing in an application, and less than an hour later I was offered a job. To start a week and a half later, which conveniently gave me enough time to go and visit some friends and family down south. The only problem was that it was as many hours as I would have hoped for.

I needn’t have worried about that though, as one of the other temporary staff never showed up, which meant I got a lot of her hours. That combined with a lot of other unreliable staff, meant I was working full time.

After Christmas I put a down payment on a car. That very afternoon I got a phone call from an agency I had registered with, telling me there was a job working as a teaching assistant in Doncaster… if I had the transport to get there. Of course this was just a temporary role, but it was followed up by many more temporary roles. One step at a time at just the right time, of course.

 

All of these roles gave me all the work I needed, and enough time off to visit friends and family all over the country, and even in Germany. And to do something I had wanted to do for many years, take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course.

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I could go on to tell you about the time a couple of months ago, when I was tidying up, and found an tax letter. (A P-whatever-it-is, the one you get at the end of the tax year.) Only to discover I had paid several hundred pounds too much tax, two years ago.

I could tell you about taking a care work job, to keep me going over the summer holidays. This was a job I enjoyed, but the company was so disorganised I felt I had no other choice but to quit. The next day I stumbled upon an opportunity to teach English to international volunteers. Something I really felt God wanted me to persue. Two days later I was in Essex, teaching English to the best group of volunteers. Something I would never have imagined happening ten months ago.

This whole journey has been one step at a time, at just the right time. In a lot of ways it has been terrifying, but God has taught me to rely on him whole heartedly, and he has blessed me so much through all of this. Even though ten months ago I felt so unworthy of his love, he has proven that it is so much bigger than I could have imagined.

Even though you, like me, may only have vague ideas about the future, God has great plans for you, if you trust him, one step at a time, at just the right time.

Sounds of Freedom 8

IMG_1139Today’s Sounds of Freedom comes from another awesome blogger, Helena Davies of Grace, Lace and Polkadots.

“Thankful” on the NLC Worship CD titled Our God & Our King, describes where I was and where my heart is now. I have written the words to the song in bold throughout this post, I pray you are encouraged by them.

Though I accepted Jesus as my savior in my teens, I would be in my late forties before I realized what grace was about and who grace is! Continue reading

4 Reasons Why We Don’t Obey God

 

IMG_1134This morning, as I was waking up, I felt God ask me a question: “If I asked you to build an ark, would you?” If God asked me to do something completely ridiculous would I dare to do it. In that moment, I honestly said… no.

And that one sentence has been bothering me all day.

Although I know that God cares about me, that his plans for me are the best, even though I know that he wouldn’t ask me to do something crazy without a great reason, my first instinct was still to say no. Continue reading

How To Be Nice, But Not A Pushover

design-3Do you ever feel as if other people are draining the life out of you? Like they are constantly taking from you and not giving anything in return?

I know that I have felt like this in the past in both friendships and relationships. Something in me has screamed out, THIS ISN’T RIGHT. But I haven’t known how to make it better. Part of me has felt guilty for having this feeling in the first place. Aren’t we supposed to lovely Christian people who are kind all the time? How can we do that without letting other people down? How can we be kind without being a pushover?

Continue reading

Christian, You are allowed to feel sad

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No matter how often we read the bible, we cannot immunize ourselves against pain and suffering.

It gives us hope, yes. But that hope doesn’t mean that we will never feel sad, it means that we will have the strength to carry on, even when times become hard.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of people paining the Christian life as something which is easy.

It’s not always going to be. There will be times when all you want to do is break down and cry.

When prayers seem to remain unanswered. When those around us are suffering, when we face hardship in our lives.

And do you know what, when these things happen it is okay to break down and cry.

You do not need to put on a brave face. To fake it until you make it. Because God’s heart breaks for all these things as well.

You have permission to feel sad. I am so sorry if you have ever been made to feel as if you are not able If you have ever been made to feel as if you are less of a Christian. That you are only sad because you are not praying hard enough or reading the bible long enough.

Yes we can find hope in knowing that Jesus is near, and that he does hear. But that doesn’t mean that the pain will go away immediately. Yes we do have hope, but that doesn’t mean the pain will go away immediately. Sometimes that can be a really hard thing to cling on to.

Because although you may not be able to find any joy in today , you can hold on tight in the knowledge that this sorrow will one day pass.

So if you need to, let those tears fall. Let them fall for the brokenness around you and for the impossibility of the situations that you face.

Because you cannot do this on your own, the only way that you can get through this is by crying out to Jesus.. He will hold you in his arms. There is no one better to have by your side.

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance. (Ecclesiates 3: 1-4)

Sounds of Freedom 7

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This week I am so excited to share Pia’s testimony! If you enjoy it you can find more of her writing at Taste & See!

When one has been a professing Christian for a while, it is always so easy fall into the trap of the dry season. I am no exception, having gone through a long stretch of stagnation in my walk with Jesus a mere couple of years after making the commitment to follow Him. It was a slow fade, with me not realizing how the fire in my heart gradually lost heat as I fell in love again with the world and what it had to offer: professional success, people’s admiration, and material rewards. Continue reading