It was a humid, mid-summer day in the South. I can remember it like it was yesterday and not 30-ish years ago:
I was maybe about 8 or 9 years old and I remember standing on the high dive at the local public pool. I had watched other kids jump – seemingly fearlessly – off of the “big” diving board and I wanted to do the same. I remember how my heart raced as I climbed the ladder that never seemed to end and then, standing on the board, I suddenly realized just how high I was.
Fear hit me like it always does – hard and fast.
I looked back (and down – big mistake!) to see a short line of eager kids waiting for me to make my move so they could follow – one was halfway up the ladder.
The Georgia sun was blazing and even though the water felt more like a lukewarm bath tub than a cold reprieve from the sun, there was a fairly large group enjoying it today.
I allowed my feet to shuffle my terrified, doe-eyed self to the end of the board, my toes desperately trying to grip the white, textured, wobbly surface beneath me. I hear someone yell “Go!!!” with a sigh of frustration.
The half-way-up-the-ladder kid was now waiting at the end of the board. I had no option, but to jump.
1-2-3…here goes nothing….
Before I knew it, I splashed into the deep end, my friend, Michelle, waiting for me. “Isn’t it FUN?! C’mon! Let’s do it again!”
We only had about an hour left at the pool that day, but we spent it climbing that ladder and jumping off the “big” board. If I’m honest, the fear stands out more than the conquering of it, but I do also remember the feeling of the air being cooler as my water-wrinkled, wet body traveled from board to water. Fear was overcome with action and led to joy and confidence that I could do something hard.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend, Katie, and shared that one of my goals for 2020 was to somehow, figure out how to move past complacency and spend consistent time in the Bible. And not just spend time there, but to enjoy it and look forward to it regularly. In 2019, I had done this on and off, but it was more like a roller coaster of motivation – a season of excitement followed by a season of “eh”.
Annie F Downs is one of my favorite people to follow, read, and listen to. Her podcast – the That Sounds Fun Podcast – is a go-to when I’m driving or working in the office, and I just love her love for Jesus and His people! (Annie – let’s be friends IRL, mkay?)
On January 1st, Annie shared her Bible reading plan for 2020 in an Instagram post and I was immediately on board. Reading through the Gospels each month for 12 months maybe sounds a little crazy. Maybe a little…repetitive. But I googled “reading through the Gospels in a month” and found one I liked. What better way to to spend 2020 than by reading and getting to know Jesus better each day?
You know what makes me feel motivated to stay in the Word? The feeling of knowing Christ. The more you know someone and love them, the more you want to be with them, right? It’s no different with Jesus.
I shared my plan with my friend, Katie, and she was on board, too. I created a printable bookmark with the reading plan on it to keep it in my Bible. Then, I thought, “What if other friends might want to join in?” (Which, you totally should!) You can grab the bookmark, too, and print it out if you want something cute to hold your place and remind you what to read each day! (I’ll link it at the bottom.) I’m on day 10, because today is the 10th, and it’s been such a wonderful time already…even after playing catch-up after a weekend trip – because, real life, you know? I can’t wait to see where both of us are in December 2020!
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t feel like I know a whole lot about the Bible. I don’t feel confident recalling specific names of people or places and most of the time, even if I remember a scripture, it’s a good day if I can give you the book, chapter, and verse ‘address’. Sometimes, it’s super intimidating for me – to feel like I should know more than I do or that someone might ask me something I can’t answer with confidence.
But what I do know? The more time I spend in the pages of my Bible, the more I’ll desire it. The more I read and more questions I ask, the more I’ll learn and know and grow my confidence.
Just like standing on the edge of the “big” board that summer, I’m standing on the edge, anxiously ready, mid-leap. I’m diving in to the Word this year and, with complete transparency, it seems big and intimidating. I have no doubts that this leap will pay off more greatly than the one I took into the pool, only this time, washing me with Living Water and refreshing my soul in the process.
New years and setting new goals can easily become daunting or overwhelming. Make sure you’re challenging yourself to reach for some things that are bigger than you, with goals where the journey matters and the reward lasts longer and stretches further than what you may see in your lifetime.
Belly flops, cannon balls, swan dives, or first-time jumps all count here…let’s make the choice to dive in and embrace the adventure of living life well.
If you want to grab your own Gospels Bookmark and join the reading fun, click here and print your reading plan!