and ramblings on everything in between
I suck at reading the Bible. I do a good job of cracking it open (almost) every day, so the issue isn’t that I don’t make time to read it; the issue is I often treat it as something that needs to be marked off the list instead of something that I can study and learn from. My mind wanders, I don’t focus on the words, I try to cram too much in.
I’ve gone through a Bible study on how to read the Bible, I’ve heard countless sermons on how to make sense of the Bible, and I’ve talked to friends about how they make their time in the Bible more meaningful. I have the tools, I just choose not to use them.
One of the pastors at my church likes to journal while he reads. A simple and brilliant way to keep yourself focused. As I sat pretending to read the Bible this week, I was distracted by my thoughts and the phone that kept going off a few rooms over. My urge was to get up and see what all the ruckus was about, but instead I found a scrap piece of paper on the nightstand and forced myself to focus. I was attempting to read Proverbs 12 and had no idea what the previous line said, let alone how the chapter began.
I went back to the start and journaled (or journeyed, as Word is trying to force me to say) my way through it, determining what God wanted me to see in that single chapter. The list looked something like this:
– Be trustworthy
– Have a noble character
– Work hard
– Tell the truth
– Promote peace
– Don’t be anxious
– Say kind things
– Be righteous (or right with God)
All of that would have been missed if I hadn’t forced myself to slow down and actual read what I was reading.
God doesn’t want us in His word so we can check it off of our to-do list; He wants to provide us with the wisdom we need to get through life, and He uses it to develop a more meaningful relationship with us. If one chapter can give me that many takeaways, then I’m missing out on some pretty amazing stuff by just skimming the surface and not daring to go deeper. I don’t want to be a skimmer. I want to be a diver.
When I think about my life, I can feel overwhelmed by how much I should be doing but am not, how much I want to achieve but can’t seem to reach. I count the difference I make for God in the big, hefty things and forget to acknowledge the small, commonplace things. Like being trustworthy and saying kind things. Or working hard and bringing peace to others. God is in those tiny actions, too, and the difference I make today might just start with one of them.