About a year ago, I shared that I’d hit a wall. 2015 was a pretty dry year in terms of my spiritual health, one that was more or less the culmination of years of different events.
I was coming out of a long and difficult season at my previous job. We were continuing to navigate life with Emily’s epilepsy. I was tired from the regular grind of writing and not being as known as I wanted to be (which is to say, me being a prideful idiot). And I was exhausted from waiting for a very long time on something really cool (which you all now know is our family’s move to Tennessee and my job with The Gospel Project).
As 2016 began, I wanted to address this dryness. I started the year with a plan to better manage my time, to re-read the Bible in its entirety and reincorporate journaling into my routine, and to read a number of books specifically to encourage and challenge me as I sought to get healthier.
So, am I healthier than I was a year ago? Before I answer that question, maybe it’s better to take a moment to consider what happened and how I am planning to move forward in all these areas.
What happened with my Bible reading habits?
I actually got off to a good start, especially on my Bible reading. In fact, it wasn’t until we got the approval to move to the United States that keeping up with my reading plan started to slip. Even so, I didn’t stop. I kept reading, just at a slower pace. So I didn’t get through the entire Bible in a year. But I did read a TON of Bible this year and was reminded why I love studying it so much. (And hopefully that has come through in some of the posts I’ve written over the last few months.)
I also started to experiment with different styles of Bibles, and really fell in love with the Reader’s edition approach, which helped me read all four Gospels in about a week (which is pretty rad).
During this coming year, I’m going to refocus on trying to complete my read-through of the Scriptures from beginning-to-end, but I’m not going to stress about the timeline. What matters is completing it, and hearing from God in it, not how long it takes.
How did I take control of my time?
Once we started down the road to moving, I had to make a big change to my writing output. Since July, I’ve been posting daily, but only once a day. And that’s been a really good thing for me since it means I have time for other things (like going to bed at a decent time). So as I move into this coming year, I’m going to keep this schedule, which will look like this:
- Sunday, Monday and Friday: original content
- Wednesday: podcast (when available)
- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: curated content (“Links I like,” “Weekend reading”)
How did my reading help me love Jesus more?
I’ve read a pretty bizarre list of books over the last year, and not at all what I expected to, in part because I read fewer books directed at Christians than I have in years. But it did help me to love Jesus more because I was able to enjoy how gifted men and women reflect the image of God in their creative efforts, as well as read a number of books that overtly encouraged me in my faith.
This coming year, I want to make sure I am striking the right balance of books intended to overtly grow me in my faith with those that might assist in a tangential manner. What that looks like, I’m not entirely certain. But I do know I’ve got a hankering to read more Francis Schaeffer…
So back to my question: am I healthier spiritually today than I was a year ago? I think so, yeah. Am I where I want to be? I don’t think so, but I’m seeing progress. And I’m not sure I can ask for more than that.