Every year it amuses me when the day after Christmas, Walmart clears out their row of chocolate and candy to make way for the treadmills and magic diet pills. In some ways it annoys me that apparently we are such predictable beings.
Resisting the urge to be a lemming, I swear to myself that I will not make new years' resolutions. Yet I look at the calendar, and the new year starts on a Monday. We all know any respectable diet starts on a Monday. Maybe I should go after those 5 (or 10) pounds starting today.
Maybe it was meant to be - a Monday, a new year, a fresh start. At least for a few days I could tell myself, I've exercised every day this year, or I haven't eaten any refined foods this year.
I'm not big on fad diets or exercise plans, but I do believe in lifestyle changes. Every lifestyle change has to start somewhere with a decision to begin doing things differently. The only difference between success and failure then is whether one continues in those decisions every day.
For those of you implementing health and exercise goals, I'd like to share an online tool, Fitday.com, that I've found helpful. This is a great tool for those who like to set and track fitness goals in detail.
The other thing that I see at this time of year, almost as much as the surge in exercise equipment, is people making plans to read through the Bible in a year. I have always found this a little odd, no offense, if that is your plan.
What other book do we ever make one-year plans for reading? Those of you who read a lot know that it wouldn't be unusual to knock off a 1500 page book in a week or less. Yet we don't even consider just sitting down and reading the Bible. Why have we trained ourselves that this is a huge undertaking?
I'm being a little extreme here, and I know that besides just reading the whole Bible, we should settle in and soak in different areas of Scripture, allowing the words and meanings to soak into us also.
I think one of the reasons for approaching the Bible this way is because we have always chopped it up. Because of that, we only see small pieces at a time, never the big picture. If you have not ever read the Bible chronologically, I highly recommend that approach for this year.
I tried several chronological plans, but my favorite Bible for this method is The Daily Bible by F. LaGard Smith. This is not to be confused with other one-year or daily devotional bibles. This is a complete chronological arrangement of the Bible. It is well-worth the $15 to have it already arranged and ready to read chronologically.
The customer reviews of this Bible are all 5 stars. It reads like literature. I believe that understanding the overall story of God helps us in our understanding and approach to Scripture. Read a few of the customer reviews if you'd like a better feel of what this Bible is like. It isn't a study Bible, but it is a favorite of mine for personal reading.
I know that a few perfectionists might be upset that you don't have it in your hands to start on January 1, but I promise that you can catch up. The daily numberings are there for if you want to use them, but really you could just pick this up and read it like a book, only stopping when you have to quit.
Honestly, New Years Day is one of my favorite holidays. It signals the end of the month of holiday madness between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It holds potential and opportunity, a chance to pause and rethink our choices.