I got an email from a friend the other day, and it took me back to my younger years when my folks would leave me with a list of chores to do before they got home. A few hours later I would hear the garage door go up and would instantly panic. Because of course I hadn’t even started those chores. Busted.
My friend (and you know who you are, southern girl!) wrote and asked me, “How much time a day do you spend working on Scripture memory? I’m trying to decide how long to work on learning verses.”
She asked me that question, of course, because I had previously written this inspiring blog post about how to Memorize Scripture And Shape Your Soul. You would think I would be quite the expert.
But my answer, in the moment I received the email, was, “Zero. I am currently spending zero minutes memorizing verses.” I sent her an honest reply and told her I hadn’t been very good about memorizing verses lately.
Then I went straight to the third kitchen drawer by the fridge and pulled out a 3×5 card. I wrote down a memory verse and have worked on it faithfully for over a week. I’ve even started another verse.
My pattern over the years has gone like this: Disciplined. Not-so-disciplined. Disciplined. Not-so-disciplined. Disciplined. Not-so-disciplined.
Reading the Bible, memorizing verses, and praying have been daily habits I’ve been working on since I became a Christian in 1977. So there is one piece of advice I can give you about developing these habits in your life, if you feel like you’re failing.
Wake up and try again.
Okay, so I went through a few months when school started when I was consumed with Spanish and lesson prep, and I let the Scripture memory slide. My friend’s email spurred me to get with it (oh how desperately we need encouragement from each other!) I didn’t waste time kicking myself for my failure. I just got a notecard and buckled down.
‘Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. –Thomas H. Palmer
I’m picturing Jesus’ disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. (Matthew 26:40 NIV)
I’m answering for Peter: “Nope.” No, Jesus, I can’t seem to maintain spiritual discipline for one hour without falling asleep in the middle of a quiet time or slacking off on Bible study and Scripture memory.
But later we see those same disciples taking the good news of Christ to the world, so I’m figuring along the way they kept trying to stay awake while they prayed. They must have succeeded more than they failed, eh?
So if you feel discouraged about your up-n-down spiritual habits, join the huge club. We’ll fail sometimes, but we’ll keep trying again when the sun comes up on a new day, because we know it’s going to be worth it to make the effort to grow close to the Lord. It’s a relationship worth pursuing.
What spiritual habit do you need to dust off and begin again today?