Triggers: The Key to Effortless Bible Study

Triggers: The Key to Effortless Bible Study

Back in my school days, my teachers taught me to create a routine for my work. They told me to do my homework at the same time, in the same location, and for the same length of time each night. For the most part, I followed their advice, never quite knowing their reasoning. After a while, homework became automatic. I had created mental triggers. Without even realizing it, I’d sit down and get my homework done as soon as I got home, no questions asked. Needless to say, it made school and my life so much easier.

At the time, I didn’t realize the importance of what my teachers taught me. When it comes to getting things done and being consistent, triggers are the key. We need reminders that trigger our subconscious that put our body and mind in motion to accomplish a given task.

Do you have a hard time getting motivated for Bible study? Or does it take you a while to get into a groove in your studies? If you answered yes to these questions or any like it, then you need to create triggers. Triggers can help you in your Bible study by creating consistency and an ease of mental flow.

So let’s take a look at triggers and see how they can help our Bible study.

Triggers can help you in your Bible study by creating consistency and an ease of mental flow. Click To Tweet

The Purpose of Triggers

Not too long ago I picked up a free ebook on blogging from Benjamin Hardy titled From Zero to Thousands of Target Blog Subscribers in 60 Days. One of the chapters in this book focused on strategies for content creation and getting in a mindset to write. It was here that I was formally introduced to the idea of triggers, or at least putting a name to a concept I’d practiced for years.

There are all kinds of triggers, many of which we are not even aware of. The realm of triggers is vast because they can be engaged by any of our five senses. Certain smells can instantly bring back memories of home & mom’s cooking. Hearing an old song can remind us of an old love. And so on. The idea behind triggers is that our senses can be associated with memories.

For as much as triggers can bring back distant memories, they are also used to invoke a response or action. This is most commonly seen in athletes. Picture it. Athletes put on their headphones before a game so they can block out the world and focus on the competition at hand. Over time this routine because ritual for the athlete and they cannot warm up without it.

Athletes create triggers with an end in mind. They want to block out the world and be in a state of mental preparedness. Of course, they can get there without the music, but the music gets them there faster and with a greater level of focus. Like an athlete, we can use triggers to our advantage in Bible study, we just need to learn how.

Bible Study Triggers

When it comes to creating triggers for Bible study, there are any number of things you can do. As you’ll learn through this site, much of what we do in Bible study is highly individualized and will look different from one person to the next. Triggers are no different. That said, here are a few ideas you can use to begin implementing triggers in your life.

Set a Time

The first trigger is setting a consistent time. When you have a set time for Bible study, it’s easier for your mind to focus. As you study at the same time day after day, your brain begins to anticipate the action, making it easier to get started and be productive. In the tip about making Bible study a priority, I wrote about finding peak times for study. When you have a routine, you no longer need to worry about the mental gymnastics of working yourself up to study because your subconscious will have already gotten you where you need to be.

When you have a set time for Bible study, it’s easier for your mind to focus. Click To Tweet

Create Your Environment

In the opening, I talked about how my teachers taught me a homework routine. This works for Bible study too. For this to work, you need to create a space where you can study the Bible.

The location of this place doesn’t matter, it can be a desk or your dining room table. The goal is to find a repeatable location so your brain knows it’s time to work when you arrive at this location. For me, this is my desk, where I keep my Bible, notebooks, and pens. When I sit down, I know I’m there to spend time with God.

This worked well for my homework and has been just as successful for my personal Bible study.

Find a repeatable location for study so your brain knows it’s time to work when you arrive there. Click To Tweet

Music

When I’m working I like to play music. At work, this helps me ignore distractions and focus on my work. The same holds true when I’m studying. Music helps me block out my surroundings. And because it’s a routine, my mind is put at ease when I play certain styles of music. Particularly for Bible study (and writing) I listen to lounge, classical, or downtempo instrumentals.

Pro tip: If you have kids and do family devotions, music can be a great trigger. Find a song to play to signal the family that it’s time for family devotions. After a while they’ll instinctively know what that song symbolizes.

Candles

Some people respond well to smell triggers. Just like the smell of apple pie can take your mind places, why not associate another smell with Bible study? When it’s time to study, light a candle or burn some incense. Like any other trigger, the more you do this, your brain associates the smell with the activity. Why not have smells that bring your mind to focus on God?

Create Your Own Triggers

Do you currently have triggers you use to focus your attention on Bible study? If not, take time this week to put some into place. While they might seem meaningless at first, over time your triggers will work their magic. Just be patient and know they take time to stick.

Already have some triggers? Evaluate them and see what’s working. Can you improve or add to them? Do you need to replace them with new or better triggers?

Weekly Study Prompts

Read, meditate and journal on these passages.

  • Monday – Genesis 1-2
  • Tuesday – Genesis 3-4
  • Wednesday – Genesis 6-7
  • Thursday – Genesis 8-9
  • Friday – Job 1-2
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