The Bible on the Desk
Every Friday night before I go to bed, I place my Bible on my desk. I do this for a simple reason: the morning will come too soon, and I need to set my intention the night before.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us home in early 2020, we lost many of our opportunities to gather with others. So I was both excited and apprehensive when I learned that our church's Saturday morning men's Bible study would be moving online. I was excited because it was an opportunity to engage with other people, retain a connection to the congregation during the pandemic, and get to know some of the other guys better. Of course, it was also an accountability tool - it's harder to pass on doing something that you know you should when others will be with you! But I was also apprehensive for one big reason: this Bible study happens at 7:30 in the morning. On Saturday. It's why I had never previously attended in person and why I hesitated to accept the invitation last April.
I'm an aspirational morning person, but my night owl tendencies usually win out. My wife and I enable each other in this; it's not unusual for our bedtime to stretch to 1 AM or later, especially on the weekends. That makes for a short night if you have somewhere to be (even virtually) at 7:30! But I knew that it would be a good thing for me to do, and so I made the commitment. And now, a year later, I am so grateful to gather with this group of men each Saturday to refocus and build each other up in God's Word. I can honestly say it has been one of the best things to come out of this strange year in my life. I place the Bible on the desk every Friday night, not because it makes waking early any easier but because it reminds me that it will be worth it.
I don't say all of this to convince you to shortchange your sleep for an early morning Bible study. Unless that's something you've been struggling with, in which case, maybe give it some thought. Instead, I've been thinking about habits in general. Habit formation is rarely easy, and it's even worse when we work against ourselves. I still don't always get up on Saturday mornings, and I stumble online late more often than I'd like. But by setting my intentions the night before and removing as many barriers as possible, I significantly increase my odds of success. By God's grace, my Saturdays, weeks, and the entire past year have been better because of it.
There are many areas where we can apply this tactic. Prayer, eating right, exercising, making time for a discipline or hobby that's important - all of these things get a little easier if we remove the small, self-created obstacles that block our progress. So I set out the teacup on the kitchen counter and move the kettle to the front burner. I put my workout clothes downstairs so I won't have an excuse. I try to keep a couple of instruments out on stands at all times, easy to grab when a few moments arise. And I place my Bible on my desk. These are small actions, but they can add up to big things!