If I start eating potato chips, I never stop at eating just one.
There is medical and scientific research to back me up. Researchers in Australia changed the salt levels in the lunches they gave their participants in a university experiment. The people who had the most salt added to their food thought their food tasted the best and they wanted to eat more. The salty flavor increased consumption 11% over the other participants.
So, science has proved that you can never just have one potato chip!
Something similar has happened to me when it comes to reading the Bible. I am reading more. I didn’t add salt. In fact, what has made the difference for me was not adding something, but taking something away.
For the past few months, I have been using Crossway’s ESV Reader’s Bible (Six-volume set). Each volume is cloth bound, single column, with lots of white space, and larger font. But it is what they have taken away that has made the difference. Crossway has removed all the major section headings, the chapter numbers, the verse numbers, and all the footnotes. And I read more.
Crossway’s Reader Edition has a created a “Potato Chip” habit.
When I start, it is hard to stop.
What I realized is that section headings, and even verse numbers somehow encouraged me to stop reading, not continue reading. I found that, for me, having section headings, verses, cross-references, notes, etc. created artificial stopping points. It was as it all those features were telling me, “Hey, just read to this point and stop.” They didn’t send me a set, I had to use my own hard earned money, but it has been worth it. I would recommend it to you.
Removing those elements has created a “Potato Chip” habit for me in the Bible. I don’t want to stop. I just keep going.
I began to wonder, in what other areas and in what other ways could I create “Potato Chip” habits. Prayer, for instance, was an area I wanted to grow in. I started journaling my prayers. The simple practice of writing my prayer somehow kept me more engaged and focused during my prayer time, and I began to prayer longer, and I began to enjoy my prayer time more. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to pray more.
Journaling my prayers had created a “Potato Chip” habit.
I am experimenting with other ideas, and I may share later as I learn what works for me. For example, I have been using Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours prayer books to try to increase my frequency of extended prayer.
So, what are your Potato Chip habits?