Head banner.
CCM Periodicals Reading Room   


Breaking Cellular Habits

Ever since I became a Christian, I have wanted to rise early and read the Bible. Every year I would make it one of my New Year’s resolutions. Yet, every year I failed. I was either unable to wake early, or I would get up and then get distracted.

Last Christmas I started thinking again about what I could do with my many failures with this New Year’s resolution. As I pondered, an idea occurred to me like a flash of light: The culprit was my cell phone! My habit had always been, once I woke up, to reach for my phone to check emails and messages. And soon, morning devotions were forgotten.

Our family has a rule that no electronics are allowed in the kids’ bedrooms. Due to virtual learning last year, the rule was loosened, but electronics still are not allowed in their bedrooms overnight. Sensing a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I asked myself, “Why not yours too?” Ah-ha! I should apply the rule to myself! Since that revelation, my cell phone has spent the night downstairs.

Our family has a routine of copying the daily verse from the Bible app to the whiteboard in English and Chinese. Once I had no distraction from my cell phone, I started getting up early and had time to copy down the verse and read the corresponding chapter. Soon after, I wanted to incorporate a daily one mile run into this morning plan, so I started listening to the Bible while running. With the arrival of 2021, I found our church calendar which includes a year-long Bible reading plan. Hallelujah! It seemed that several small pieces appeared in place at the right time to make my resolution easier to accomplish. All I needed to do was follow each step.

Now, my day starts like this: I wake up naturally, go downstairs, and open the Bible app to copy the daily verse in English and Chinese. Then, I find the church calendar’s Bible reading of the day, put on air pods and running shoes, and out I go. In the first light of dawn, I jog my mile, breathing in the cool air while listening to God’s Word and the background music of birds chirping and flowers rustling. It fills my body, my mind, and my soul with warmth.

Two months have now passed, and my resolution lives on. So far, I have only encountered pleasant surprises. Since leaving my cell phone downstairs, I have more free time for reading in bed instead of scrolling through social media. Hoping to have 30 minutes of reading time daily, I now have an abundance of time! I have discovered new knowledge and connections in the Bible because of the books I’ve had time to read, coupled with daily Bible listening and weekly Bible Study Fellowship studies. Further, my husband and I have time for deep conversations, delving into theological questions. We have found that everything, including the decision-making process of college for our children, can be traced to Christian theology.

But these are not the only benefits. Not long ago, my 12-year-old daughter asked if she could join me for a weekend morning run. So, each of us wore one air pod, running one after the other, sometimes even quickly commenting on a Bible story. My 16-year-old, who gets up earlier than me on the weekends, helps me with copying the daily verse. The Chinese version takes her awhile, but it is nonetheless precious time spent together.

Our God is a God who is willing to help us grow. He guided me to leave my cell phone downstairs, and, through that small change, our family has been blessed. This change has enabled me to keep my resolution and to make further lifestyle improvements. I now have the ability to run a full mile, although I had never passed the half-mile mark in my youth! It has also given me time to listen to and ponder God’s Word, even creating special bonds for our family as we enjoy God’s Word together. God always does immeasurably more than all we could ask for or imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

Emily Xu is a realtor, a substitute teacher, and an active church member currently residing in San Diego, California.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20220204
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Apr-Jun 2022. CCMUSA.