Monday, November 28, 2011

A Starting Point

If you were to say to me, "Is it better to do something perfectly or not at all OR to do your best even though it won't be perfect?" I would try to not laugh at you as I said, "Obviously, the second. Just do your best."

But I have been guilty of just the opposite for some time now.

  Years ago - like 9 or 10 years ago - I went to the store to buy a chronological Bible. I thought it would be an interesting new way to read. But the only ones they had were "One-year" chronological Bibles, where everything was also broken up by date. I had never intended to be on the one-year plan, and my wise mother pointed out that I didn't have to read it in one year, that I could just ignore the dates.

But something about opening the Bible in June, yet seeing, "January 1" threw that uber-organized piece of me. It would be best, I thought, to use the Bible exactly the way it was intended. (As if this is in the commandments or something - sheesh.)

And then things happened. Like I was planning a wedding. "Well, I'm getting married this year. I won't be able to read every day, so I really shouldn't even start."

Or we would be travelling over New Years, so I would start off the year feeling "behind." Next year, I would think to myself.

One year when January 1st rolled around, I had just read Genesis through 2 Chronicles in the previous months and wasn't enthusiastic about "starting over."

Then these guys appeared on the scene...

...and my morning routine of Bible reading flew out the window.

This last year - I'm pretty embarrassed to admit to you - I have read sadly little of my Bible. Some weeks it went untouched between Sunday church services.

At church this week, I was reminded that one of my only jobs as a Christ-follower is to "abide."

In John 15:5, Jesus says to his disciples: I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

My job is not to make fruit happen. My job is to abide. My job is to stay connected to the vine. And one of the key ways to do that is to open my Bible regularly. It's certainly not the only way, nor is it all we should be doing, but it's a good starting point.

And after a number of years of being a Christ-follower, I am sadly, woefully in need of a starting point.

So yesterday - Sunday, November 27th - I pulled the chronological Bible off my shelf and read the scriptures allotted for January 1st. Because in 2012, I will still be imperfect. I still won't read my Bible every day. But maybe with building in this extra month, I will have read the entire Bible in chronological order by December 31st.

Or maybe that won't happen, but if I have done my best to abide, I will still bear fruit.

What's one thing you can do to "abide" better?

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out


Madie M. said...

Thank you SOO much for posting this! I am also reading my bible in one year, but I'm WAY behind and I'm too worried that I won't finish by the end of the year. I'm not perfect, and I should just try by best, like you said!

Tessa Emily Hall ~ Christ is Write said...

I love this post! John 15 is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. I completely agree, we can't accomplish anything unless we abide in him. Thanks for this reminder. =)

Sapphire said...

What a great post - thank you for your willingness to share your personal struggle so openly.

I've always been pretty good about doing Bible studies every day, but the area I *really* fail with regards to abiding in Him is prayer. I'm very action-oriented, so sitting still for more than a couple of minutes and just waiting on Him to speak to me isn't very easy. But I'm definitely going to keep trying harder! :-)

Makay said...

Such an inspiring post- I needed to read this- because I am always doing this!

Stephanie Morrill said...

Glad this post is connecting with some of you!

Oh, Sapphire, I struggle with that too! I'm always wanting to mark it off my to-do list and move on. Ugh.

Trinka said...

I've decided to memorize a Bible verse every two days. :) I WAS going for every day, but that just wasn't working :P

Betsy St. Amant said...

Stephanie, your posts are always so thought provoking. Love this! Such a great reminder.

I'm like you and Sapphire. I have a list in my head for the day and just want it to be done so I can sit and veg. We shouldn't think of our time with God that way but its hard not to. We get out what we put in, and that should help motivate us.

I think your post was right on target because it seems like when it comes to some stuff, or sin, we think "well its too late, might as well keep doing or not doing what I'm doing now". Like, well, we missed our goal already so why not just give up? But that's Satan.

People do that with weight loss too. They blow their diet at lunch and continue to eat bad during the day, instead of stopping that moment to start over. Every day, every moment, is a new opportunity for grace and rededication!