Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Changing my Quiet Time Forever

I have been reading my Bible for years now.  Like 30 or more years. Not cover to cover every year; in fact that has only been done a few handful of times. Though I have worked hard to read from God's Word nearly everyday, there are plenty of times I have not. But even with all this "experience", I've never mastered the art of Bible Study.

Oh, I've tried over the years. I have all the sad attempts at taking notes from what I've read. There have been countless store bought helps, downloaded outlines, and numerous blog suggestions tried. And I still have struggled. In fact, it became just a task to check of my to-do list; something my quiet time should never be. And at this point, I seem to avoid actual Bible Study. I just don't know how, and it is so frustrating.

I stare at that blank journal page, and the sweat begins to form. Thoughts of failure, and doubt start whispering to me.  I begin by reading the passage of scripture, and try to start answering questions about it.  How does this apply to my life? What is God wanting me to learn?  What verse sticks out to me? What is this saying to me? What about me? Me. me. me. me. By this point, I'm struggling to breathe, and think I might be having an anxiety attack. So I put it all away, and try to ignore the elephant that lives on my nightstand. I was defeated before I ever began.

But a few weeks ago, I was looking through some stuff on Bible Study on Pinterest, trying to find the "system" that was going to cure me. And as I was reading through a blog post that really had nothing to do with Bible study, a sentence jumped off the page and seemed to scream at me. It was quietly tucked in a lengthy post, and was not the focus of even the paragraph it was in. It was just fulfilling its role as a place holder from one thought to the next. But it was there that God spoke.
I stared at the screen as the sentence reverberated through my thoughts. "What does this say about God?" It just echoed over and over all day.

And I've been testing it out. And thinking on that statement more and more. It is unbelievably freeing to view the scriptures this way. My focus is no longer on me. Let's face it, the Bible isn't all about me. So why should I be making it that way? And no wonder I was panicky trying to read it when the main goal was to insert myself into it. That's just overwhelming. Instead, I'm beginning to read this Text to see who my Creator really is. And what a difference! I am falling in love all over again with the One who called me out of darkness and gave me Life. I am seeing new attributes of Him, wanting to read more to discover more. And there is a desire to emulate what I read. Think about it. When you see all these attributes of God listed on a page, its a beautiful list of perfection. Who wouldn't want to be like that?

So I'm quietly learning to study my Bible. Taking small steps each day; discovering a little more than I knew the day before. And expecting this to become my norm. With just one simple question.

What does this say about God?