Randy Ingermanson is a Christian fiction writer and writing teacher. This month he wrote an article which I thought had a much wider application than just writing. In fact, I think this idea may be the key to growing closer to God through Scripture and prayer this summer.
The article is Ridiculously Easy, and the purpose is to help writers develop good writing habits. Randy says
“It takes some serious effort to build a habit. . . . Let’s look at an example to see what can go wrong: You decide you’re going to get back in shape. Back when you were younger, you used to run five miles per day. You can do that again, right? Sure you can. . . . On Day 1, you leap out of bed the instant the alarm goes off. You suit up, you warm up, and you get rolling. The first mile is a little slow. The second mile is a little slower. Somewhere in the third mile, something pops in your knee. You limp home, thinking that you’re not 18 anymore. You ice your knee. . . . and dial back your expectations to 2 miles for tomorrow. But when the alarm goes off, every muscle in your body is sore. Your knee still hurts. You wind up in recovery for three weeks . . . Then you either repeat the whole thing, or else you give up.”
“What went wrong was that you put two hard things together in the same place. It’s hard to instantly raise your daily mileage by five miles. It’s also hard to form a habit. If you want to form a habit of daily exercise, don’t start out with a hard workout. Start out with one that’s ridiculously easy. Maybe you decide you’re going to walk half a mile every day. You can do that in ten minutes. You can do that every day. You could do way more than that, of course, because it’s ridiculously easy. But don’t. Do a ridiculously easy workout until your habit is firmly in place. . . . It’s a habit you enjoy because, after all, it’s ridiculously easy. You do it every single day because, really and truly, it’s ridiculously easy. Once that habit’s solidly in place, ramp it up. Not a lot. Ramp it up a little.”*
So, how can you develop a habit (or expand your habit) of time in God’s word and in prayer. Do something ridiculously easy.
Five Ridiculously Easy Bible Habits
(1) Scripture writing pages. You just copy the few verses from your Bible to your notebook. That’s it. If that’s just too ridiculously easy, respond to the verses somehow: praise God for something, apply it to your life, notice something. But keep it ridiculously easy. Here’s the link: Sweet Blessings
(2) Scripture Coloring Books. These are all the rage. People like slowing down to color the verse, while reading and meditating on it. Search Amazon for ‘Adult Scripture Coloring Book.’
(3) Start a really short YouVersion devotional. You do use the free Bible app on your phone or tablet, right? They offer many daily bible reading plans, ranging from three days to a full year, from a few verses to a few chapters. This year I’m doing a ridiculously easy plan called “There’s Hope for Today.” One or two Bible verses, one or two paragraphs of commentary. Done. Ridiculously easy. And for the first time in a long time, I’ve stayed fully caught up.
(4) Watch a really short video devotional. I looked hard for something like this and came up with an iPhone app called “Two Minute Pastor.” Find it at the App Store.
(5) Listen to a little Scripture on YouVersion. You’ve got YouVersion, right? Go to some chapter of Scripture you’re interested in and press the little speaker button at the bottom. You’ll hear a good reading of the text.
(6) Simplest of all in many ways: read a few verses. Put a bookmark in a Bible. Put the Bible by your ‘porcelain throne.’ Put down your phone. Pick up the Bible. Read a few verses. Ridiculously easy.
*This excerpt is reprinted by permission. “Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 14,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, and make your writing more valuable to editors, and have fun doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.”