when i was a kid, i played baseball. i wasn’t very good but i was cocky enough to think i was better than i really was. in actuality, i was sub par in the field with a terrible arm. i was about a .250-.275 hitter that could hit the ball a mile, assuming i actually made contact which wasn’t a given. i was way too aggressive running the bases and thought i was a little bit faster than i really was but not too much.
and i never really worked to get better.
i never went to camps. in high school, i’d go to one or two off-season workouts and then just stop going. i don’t know why i stopped going. i just did. maybe i was lazy. maybe i was bored. maybe i had something better to do. whatever the case may be, i just stopped going.
one day a coach stopped me and asked me why i had stopped showing up. i came up with some reason that sounded good and said it with confidence and really owned it. the coach looked at me and bluntly said, “if you worked as hard at baseball as you do at excuses you could be a pretty good ballplayer.”
yeah, that one hurt. i had no come back at all. i sort of just stood there looking at him. then i walked away with my tail tucked between my legs.
as i look back though, and as i look at how things are now, that coach was pretty spot on. i can make an excuse like nobody’s business. nothing is ever my fault. something else happened to cause it. most importantly though, that bad thing happened not because of something i did, but because of someone or something else. it most definitely wasn’t my fault.
the time that i drove all the way to the beach without the key to the camper wasn’t because i forgot it, it was because we were so stressed that morning getting everything cleaned and packed that i didn’t grab it.
that one time that we couldn’t do a highlight video for that one game wasn’t because i didn’t want to do it, it was because getting the video, converting it, rendering it, and editing it would’ve taken way too long.
and i haven’t been reading my bible not because i was lazy and didn’t make time for it but rather because we don’t have internet in my house and i always do my quiet time and bible reading on my computer in my bed.
you see, it’s never, ever, my fault.
ok, actually, it’s normally my fault.
i forgot the camper key. i didn’t want to do the video. and i’ve been lazy with my bible reading.
truthfully speaking, if i get real honest, my quiet time and bible reading has been complete crap for the past two months. what’s that you say? i’m on staff at a church? yeah, i know i am. makes it even worse doesn’t it? i probably shouldn’t be admitting that but hey, the truth is the truth and someone once said it’d set me free so there it is.
when i first moved here, i honestly was thrown off. my quiet time has always been at night before i go to bed and i read the bible on my computer. when i couldn’t do that here, instead of adapting and starting a new routine, i just stopped reading my bible. i’d read it to study for a talk or to find a little nugget for this thing or that thing, but i didn’t have a regular reading schedule.
before i knew it, two months had gone by and i really hadn’t read my bible much and my quiet time had slowly become, “hey god, thanks for today. thanks for this. thanks for that. thanks fo…zzzzzzz.” it had turned into this terrible routine where i wasn’t growing or hearing from god much at all.
a few weeks ago, i felt god tugging at me. i knew i needed to read my bible more but i just didn’t do it. then i’d hear someone say something and it’d stick out. then i’d sit in service and out of a 45 minute talk, one line from the speaker about reading my bible would be what stuck with me. then something else would happen and something else and i was constantly nudged to read my bible.
but i kept making excuses.
finally, i saw that a program called chasing 99 was starting back up. i started it last year but didn’t finish. (i probably had a great excuse for not finishing it but i don’t remember what that was right now.) it’s a reading plan where i can read the new testament in 99 days.
i wanted to do it.
the thing is, to do it, i had to change my routine. i couldn’t just open up my computer in my bed and bam, there’s the internet.
i set out to seriously start reading my bible again. what this meant was, for me to somewhat keep my routine, i had to go out on my back porch (the only place i can get internet at my house) and pull up all of the passages for that day before going back inside and climbing in bed. it’s inconvenient, but i’m doing it.
and the crazy thing is god’s showing up every night.
god kept tugging at me to read my bible. he wanted me to read and learn more about him. he wanted me to grow. and in return for me obeying him (finally), he’s speaking to me in a way that i’ve never heard him before. every night when i’ve read, i’ve also written down the things that god has said to me through the scripture.
i’m reading a book that’s thousands of years old and it’s speaking to me like it was written yesterday just for me.
so here’s my question: how’s your quiet time been? have you been reading your bible? have you been having quality conversations with god? if not, why not? is it a legitimate reason or are you just making an excuse like i did?
don’t be like me. don’t keep making excuses and keep making excuses to keep from getting closer with god. it’s just stupid to do that. as a christian, reading the bible is one of the most important things you can do. i’ve sucked at it recently, but i’m getting better.
it’s time to stop making excuses.
it’s time to start putting in the work.
we’ll never get better unless we work at it.
and we can’t change the world unless we get better.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.