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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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?

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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)

The Reality of Crazy Big Dreams

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Sometimes I have the weirdest dreams, like the one I had when I was driving in the car with a giant guinea pig.

Other times I have the worry and stress induced dreams, like the one where all my teeth fall out, or I’m running away from trouble, but for some reason I can only run backwards; or the one where I need to scream, but no sound will come out of my mouth.

Other times I have the kind of dreams that you just don’t want to wake up from. The ones where you shut your eyes, trying to press play again.

But the best dreams aren’t the ones you have when you’re asleep. The best dreams are the ones that won’t let you get any sleep.

The things you get so excited about that you just can’t shut your brain off for ten seconds and fall asleep.

I don’t know about other people, but for me these often involve big risk, big adventure and showing people big love.

Whatever these things that keep you awake are, they wont do any good if they are simply the things that stop your sleep. As I once heard, our dreams don’t bother satan, only our actions can.

Our dreams aare only any use if, when the daylight comes, you go ahead and live them out.

That’s the hard part though.

It’s easy to stay up half the night dreaming, but that’s not how dreams come true.

Dreams don’t become reality by accident.

Bread doesn’t rise without yeast, and grape juice won’t become wine on its own. In the same way our lives are like stale bread, or a wedding without wine, if we don’t live with intent.

Our big, crazy dreams probably aren’t going to become a reality without a lot of effort, a heap of risk and a good amount of time on our knees.

Every day we can make small steps: if we live on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose.

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Live life on purpose

If your dream is to be a missionary then start praying for the country you believe God has called you to. Start practicing trusting him with your finances. Start trying to live in a cheaper way.

If your dream is to write a book start writing.

Our God-given dreams often won’t be the easiest. They will normally require some kind of risk. A risk of security, or humiliation if it fails.

But even if these dreams never come to fruition. If they are the things God has called you to they well make a difference. Chasing them will bring you closer to Him.

So choose today how you are going to live. Are you going to live on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose or are you just going to keep on drifting through life. Like a ship with out a rudder.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

 

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2: 14-26)

 

 

The Truth about You

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I can remember one evening when I was about thirteen years old: playing about with some make-up when no one else was watching. I was surprised when I looked in the mirror and realised that the face that was looking back at me was actually quite beautiful! I was so used to seeing something ordinary: too thick hair; a genetic disposition to blackheads and spots (thanks dad!) and glasses long before they were considered trendy; that I was shocked and embarrassed to actually think of myself as pretty. I so felt guilty that I quickly washed off all the make up before anyone could see me.

I guess that I didn’t believe I could hold onto that identity of being pretty, that even when  it seemed it might apply to me I was quick to rip it off again.

I was so used to my slightly geeky identity, that I simply couldn’t take hold of a new one.

Christ has given us all new identities. The problem is sometimes we hold on so tightly to our old ones, that we can’t take hold of the new ones.

One of the new identities Christ has given us is BEAUTIFUL: We are the apple of his eye, we are his perfect bride (and who would dare call a bride ugly!) and we are more precious than the most beautiful jewels. This is true whether it feels it or not. And I know that especially for women it will more often feel like not. But the great thing about what God says about us is that it IS true, no matter how it feels. No matter how hard it feels we can let go of our striving for beauty and worth and we can hold on to our true identity as a beautiful child of God.

Another of the identities that we can struggle to hold onto is that we are CHOSEN: God has chosen us. I know this can be hard to take hold of, if you were always the last one picked in PE, or someone who struggles to attract anyones attention. Christ chose you, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

Christ has also given us the identity of LOVED: have you ever noticed how a shy woman can become confident when she knows she is loved? Or how an awkward child can transform when they know you care about them? Christ has loved you so much that he died for you. You can hold onto the label of loved, you can take this one and staple it onto your forehead or tattoo it onto your arm; because Christ has told you that you are loved.

The final label that I want to focus on is that you are FREE. The opposite of freedom is fear. And so many of us are still living in fear. Even though we have been set free. We have been set free. There is no captive, in their right mind, who would choose to return to their chains, once they have been set free. Christ has set you free, don’t tie yourself back up in those chains again.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:17)