Falling Behind: Dos & Don’ts for Catching Up

Summary: Don’t you like it when people talk straight with you? When they’ve been where you want to be? When they give you the inside information that you need to make it? Of course you do! So check out these things you need to do — and don’t miss the don’ts!

Reading the Bible in 90 Days is definitely a challenge that takes some focus. Life has a way of trying to trip you up. So, if you fall behind, here are few dos and don’ts for getting back on track:

The DO’s:

Do ask for God’s help. We cannot think of any reason why God would tell you not to read the Bible. If that’s what you think you are hearing, though, pray about it some more and think about why God might tell you that. No, this is not a competition with yourself and no it is not just so you can say you’ve done it. You WILL see God move in ways you haven’t before if you do this and listen. And even if you catch only a small portion of what the Bible says in this reading, you will catch what He wants you to hear this time. Once you ask, seize the opportunities He shows you. And yes, you still have to do the work. Pray each time you read to hear what He wants you to hear and be able to let the rest go. This is a not a Bible study. This is Bible reading. Absorb what you can. Forget the rest. He will help you.

Do set a goal for getting caught up. You won’t accidentally get caught up one day. Instead, set a goal and write it on your calendar. How far behind are you? Can you get caught up in one week? What about in three weeks? Pick a date, divide the number of pages by he number of days you have until then and make it happen.

Do figure out how to meet that goal. Your reading won’t just get done if you just hope it gets done. How will you do it? Can you schedule two extra 30 or 45 minute reading breaks in the day somewhere? Can you explain the situation to your spouse or a friend and get some extra help for a few reading breaks? Grab additional reading time whenever possible. Even 10 minute increments help. You are on a mission, and it’s not necessarily an easy one. Forces will conspire against you to keep you from reading. But He will be there to support you.

Do take your Bible everywhere. Yes, everywhere in your home and in your car. Take it to meet your friends and read while you wait for them. Read it while in line at the grocery store. Read it while your daughter is in ballet instead of chatting with friends (let your friends know about the challenge … we bet they’ll understand.) Get to church early and read before worship. Read while waiting for the oven to preheat. Read while waiting for water to boil. Read while in the bathroom. Read while your kids do their homework. Institute family reading time, even if that just means looking at pictures for your youngest ones, and read then.

Do watch your progress. Download the Bible reading bookmarks from the Bible in 90 Days resource page, print them out and check of the reading as you get it done. Do this even if you are reading digitally. Seeing your progress will motivate you. If you are using a hardcopy Bible, place a sticky note at the end of each day’s reading, each week’s reading or wherever your next goal in reading may be. As you move your Bible reading schedule bookmark closer, you’ll see your progress.

Do make sure you are committed. Is reading the entire Bible important to you? If so, commit to reading the whole Bible. If you commit to just reading as much as you can, you won’t read the whole thing. Don’t you want to know all that God wants to share with you? Talk to God again. Talk about this commitment. Thank Him for the gift of the Bible and let him know you want to open, read and learn from this gift. Make a new commitment to Him and to yourself. And keep it. He will help you if you just ask.

The DON’Ts:

Don’t skip ahead and assume you’ll go back and read what you missed. Readers that do this rarely go back and read the entire Word. We are reading the entire Bible here, in order, cover to cover. By skipping around you will miss some of the story that is built upon in the scripture. If you are behind, do not skip ahead so you feel better. Just keep plowing forward in the reading. Once you do catch up, it will be SO worth it.

Don’t listen instead of read. Listening is not reading. Things happen when you read that do not happen when you listen. I know it sounds harsh, but listening is not reading. You signed up for a reading plan. You can, however, listen while you read if that helps you to stay focused. But do not listen in place of reading. You’ll be cheating yourself.

Don’t read without a plan. If you are trying to catch up, set a plan for catching up. How many pages behind are you? How many pages are in a day’s reading? Come up with a realistic deadline to be caught up, divide to find the number of pages you need to read each day, and GO TO TOWN reading. Time yourself to see how long a day’s reading takes. Figure out how many days you are behind and how much reading time you need to do to catch up. Then plot those times on your calendar instead of expecting those windows of time to just appear and keep those appointments to read. If you want to try to catch up all at  once, go for it. Sunday is often a great catch up day. Block out the time.

Don’t set yourself up for failure. When is a realistic time for you to read? You might say you’ll just get up earlier to read beginning at 5:30 a.m.. Is that realistic for you? You might decide you’ll just read after the kids go to bed. Will you really get it done then or will you be pulled in by different distractions? Decide when it really makes sense for you to read and then think of all the excuses to NOT read at that time. Think about which will win at those times: the excuses or the reading? Prepare yourself NOT to give in, but rather to read, read, READ, and listen to God. You can get back to all those distractions soon, just after you have read the ENTIRE Bible.

Don’t give up. If you think you should just give up, try to remember why you decided to start this in the first place. Then think about why you are quitting. Is it REALLY a good reason? Did you talk to God about it? Do you really think He wants you to stop reading His Word aggressively?

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