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Resolved: No More Resolutions

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The Great Aunt, who’s been like a mother to us, climbed slowly into the back seat of our car. At 91, she has Alzheimer’s and the gates that used to guard her manners are down. “Your car is so CLEAN it makes me nervous,” she says, making it sound like an offense. She didn’t know we’d used her as the excuse to tidy up, resolving one more time to always keep the floor from looking like a pot-bellied pig lived there. But I knew what she meant. I, too, resent reminders that certain things in my life aren’t under control like they are in “yours” such as diet, exercise and not using Google when you’re trying to write.

At the beginning of each new year I used to resolve to do whatever it takes to be a more organized, healthier, spiritual person. High on the list: reading through the Bible in a year. I worried that failing this might have serious consequences, like God might show up and send me to the tropics or make me listen to Frank Sinatra. About one week into January I would miss a few days because, well, for multiple reasons. Soon I was checking off those little squares as if completed, saying, Who needs to read Leviticus and Numbers, anyway? adding the sins of lying and cheating to arrogance.

I don’t make resolutions anymore. It seems less troublesome that way. Plus, I’ve found an alternative to all the reading programs which are impossible to keep by sticking with my own—the Bible Reading Program for Slackers and Shirkers.

Bible Reading Program for Slackers and Shirkers

With this system, I can make my way through at my own pace without needing to lie or cheat. On each day of the week I read in a different section of Scripture. For example, Wednesdays are devoted to Old Testament history; Sundays are Old Testament poetry. Within a year’s time I finish all the Tuesday readings before the other days since I often have more time to read on Tuesdays. I rarely read on Saturdays because I sleep in and run errands, so on the following Tuesday, I substitute a section from Saturday and check that one off. Sometimes when chapters for a portion are very lengthy, I just read one at a time and cross it off when I’m done. Eventually I’ll get to them all.

I began my current schedule over two years ago, and I’m still slogging through.

Actually, there’s nothing inherently holy about reading through the Bible in a year. God does not require it. Many who’ve loved Him through the ages either couldn’t read or didn’t own even one book of the Bible. They are no less God’s children.

But there are reasons I keep going. Reading it all keeps me from habitually turning to favorite books, like Mark because Peter is such an unlikely bearer of Christ’s image, and like not reading Ecclesiastes because it’s too depressing. Rather, I’m forced to hear God’s entire narrative which more fully illumines His message to us.

Perhaps more important, my soul is a lot like Honeysuckle, the Angora rabbit who lives on our back porch. She’s beautiful but she’s quite dumb and a big slacker. She often sleeps in her litter box and doesn’t groom herself very well. She’s desperate for love and will sit for an hour under your palm as you stroke her delicate head and thick pelt. She needs to hear a good thump on the floor before she comes running for the carrot you hold out. She regularly misses the target and smacks into the wall. We need to reach out, grab her, turn her around and place the treat right under her nose.

I need constant reminders and similar course corrections. I need hope. So I keep reading and listening to this divine narrative. Occasionally the carrot reaches my heart, like a piece from the book of Hebrews just last week: “we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb. 6:18, 19). It sweetly reminded me of what God intends for each of us in Christ despite being dodgers and duds most of the time.

To download the Bible Reading Program for Slackers and Shirkers PDF from Ransom Fellowship’s website, click here.

Image by Claire Burge. Used with permission via Flickr.

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