Don’t you hate it when you miss a day of your devotional. I know I do.
I get so frustrated with myself. Why did I start something that I could not finish? I just wanted to get on a good rhythm. Grrrr. (Ok. Phew. Glad I got that out.)
Since January 1, our family has been going through Experiencing Epiphany. It’s a 6-day study that takes you through 6 devotionals before, during, or after Epiphany (learn more about the essential components of Epiphany).
It’s easy enough to keep on track for 6 days, right? Wrong. Yesterday, we missed Day 3. The sad part. I’m the author. (Embarrassing. I know)
Yes, life with 3 kids 4 and under gets busy, but we found ourselves frustrated that we missed a day. So what do you do if you miss a day of your devotional?
1. Jump Back In.
When you miss a day of your devotional, jump back in the next day. You could easily use this mistake to back out and throw in the towel. Don’t do it. Keep at it. Dive in. And don’t give up.
Recently, my husband needed an antibiotic. After about 3 days, he missed a day of the antibiotic. We almost called the doctor when I noticed the instructions told us start back up with the antibiotic the next day. This seemed like a good analogy for the devotional. If you miss your devotional one day, jump back in the next.
(As a disclaimer, the information contained in this paragraph, the rest of the post, and the entirety of my blog should never be considered as medical or legal advice. The information shared is purely my own non-professional opinion and should never replace the advice of your medical professional or attorney. In the event of a medical event, emergency, question, please consult your doctor or medical professional.)
2. Give Yourself Some Grace.
You can’t be perfect. You will make mistakes. Life gets busy, and you can’t do everything. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s easy to feel frustrated and believe that you failed. You haven’t. Give yourself some grace and use it as a reminder of the grace God extends to us each and every day. Remember: The consistency of your devotional has no impact on your standing before God. You are saved by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8)
3. Merge Days.
Did you miss a day? Double up days, so you get caught up. Some seasonal studies overlap topics. Use this as an opportunity to merge them together, so you don’t miss a day. Celebrate that you caught up and keep moving forward feeling accomplished.
4. Skip a Day.
If you need to just skip a day (and not return to it), then do it. (And DO.NOT.FEEL.GUILTY!) Feelings of legalism or perfectionism may start to creep in if you “skip” a day of a study, but being 6 for 6 is less important than what you ultimately get out of the study. Give yourself permission to jump back in — even if it requires missing out on a few days.
5. Emphasize Growth, Not Mistakes (when you miss a day of your devotional).
You are not a failure. You have not messed up. When you give yourself grace, don’t let yourself focus on the negative. Look at the opportunity to grow. Do you need to plan your time better? Should you cut out another activity, in order to have sufficient time to do your devotional? The “mistakes” you make can propel you into the future and help you make better decisions for your spirituality, health and relationships.
6. Continue to Learn.
When you miss a day of your devotional (or 2 or 10!), it does not have to impede you from still learning. Will you have gaps in your study? Maybe, but maybe not. Chances are, you can reinitiate the study and still be able to follow it. Regardless, you will learn and grow from the experience. Don’t give up! Learn!
As the season of new year resolutions begins, remember that you don’t have to be perfect to start something. And you don’t have to be perfect to continue it. If you miss a day, jump back in. Continue to learn and become a better you. That will help you make the biggest impact in the days ahead.
P.S. – In case you were wondering, we ended up merging Day 3 and Day 4 together, in order to catch up on our study and it worked out perfectly! (The kids loved having 2 activities to do at once!)