By Claire Swinarski
“If you have time to eat, you have time to read Scripture. If you can feed your body, you should be feeding your soul.”
I still remember the time I was sitting in Mass and the priest made that analogy. I’m pretty sure I originally scoffed at it—after all, God is the one who created our bodies to need food! Surely, a man of the cloth wouldn’t suggest starving yourself to read the gospel. That was all well and good for a priest to say—his whole job is Jesus! What about the rest of us, who have jobs and families and schoolwork?
But lately, I’ve been feeling the truth of his statement.
I think about all of the things I have time for: endless binges of The Great British Baking Show; happy hours with friends; a very, very relaxed version of homeschool preschool; novels read; date nights had; naps taken. All of these, and I was still finding myself insisting I didn’t have time to read Scripture.
When I do find time to read the Bible daily, it transforms so many aspects of my life. It does become as necessary to me as lunch, and it sustains my soul in a way that makes facing the day much less intimidating. Plus, it’s like exercise:
The more I read Scripture, the more I want to read Scripture. It’s a daily habit that becomes uplifting and empowering.
That being said, it isn’t always easy. I know what it’s like to go weeks without even cracking the spine of my Bible. If you’re having a hard time finding moments in your day to read the Word of God, here are a few tips and tricks:
- Schedule it in. It seems silly to write a small habit into your Google calendar or planner, but it makes a world of difference. So many of us live and die by our calendar systems, and planning time for Scripture makes it much more likely to happen.
- Find the margins of your day. You don’t need to set aside an hour for Bible reading every day—in fact, for most of us, that isn’t prudent! But what about listening to Scripture while you drive to work? Opening your Bible at lunch? Perusing the Gospel of John while your kids are occupied with school work? Find those small nuggets of stolen time and fill them with Scripture.
- Try a new book in the Bible you haven’t read before. Sometimes, I can start to think I “know” the whole Bible. But the Bible is HUGE—there are plenty of books I’ve never even started! Dive into the Old Testament if you usually hang out in the gospels, or check out letters from Peter if you can recite Exodus from memory. Mix up what you’re reading to keep it fresh and engaging.
- Join some kind of accountability group or Bible study. If you can’t make an in-person Scripture group, websites like Blessed Is She can help you track your progress. Even just doing the daily Mass readings is a way of making sure you’re staying consistent!
The time you spend in God’s Word is worth far more than what you give up and once you make it a habit you won’t be able to give it up. I promise.
Claire Swinarski is the author of multiple books, including What Happens Next (coming 2020 from HarperCollins) and Girl, Arise: A Catholic Feminist’s Invitation to Live Boldly, Love Your Faith, and Change the World. She’s also the founder of the Catholic Feminist Podcast. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Seventeen, Milwaukee Magazine, and many other publications. She lives just outside of Milwaukee, WI with her husband and two kids.