This month, we are returning. Returning to school, routine, weekly meal plans and homework on dinner tables. As we sharpen pencils and fill our backpacks, can I suggest you and I take the time to return our souls to God, too?
As I mentioned before, I am learning to be a good returner when the world says to be a good move ahead-er. And I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve met too many women who desperately want to be good returners, but maybe don’t have the tools to return. Or are afraid to be judged in the return. Or are flat out petrified of looking like a fool.
This conversation has happened while a girlfriend and I were out to lunch talking about light topics. You know topics such as: our souls, our walks, our hearts and how to do this whole thing in a America. (You guys, I do not know how to do light conversations.) While we were knee deep in chips and salsa, she said,
“I don’t even know where to start. I don’t even know how to read the Bible.”
Or, then there is the woman who has been raised in the church, as a pastor’s kid, and she lets herself get good and truthful. It’s sacred when she whispers,
“Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to pray.”
And the college girls who have been spoon-fed Christianity until the real world hits them with sex, drugs and rock and roll and they wonder,
Is it all really real? Could this God thing have been made up? Do I even know who He is?
Friends of the faith, maybe it is time to get back to the basics. (Seems fitting for back to school with our freshly sharpened pencils and sparkly composition books).
Let’s have a fresh conversation about pursuing our faith. I only have three real pointers because math has never been my forte, so here we go:
Open your Bible + Pray out loud + Make good friends = a really good start.
Today we are going to start with the book, the sacred words and some ideas about returning to them.
Open Your Bible
Seems simple enough, right? But maybe that’s where we are going wrong. According to a study performed in 2013, one in five Christians read their Bible. If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week).
Dearest friends, we can change this behavior. We can. You and me, we can eradicate this all together. By starting with us. But just like anything we must create time for it. And we create time for what we love. I love running, so I create time for it. I also love eating really good food. So I create time to go to the grocery store and fill our home with treats like excellent goat cheese and roasted red pepper hummus.
Because it’s the little things.
But it starts little, loves. Let’s get up five minutes earlier. Let’s commit to spending time in His Word.
Let’s start by whispering, “The God of the Universe wants to meet with me.”
We can make it a date each time we get up out of bed. We can shuffle our feet to our coffee pot, listen to the Keurig fill our cups, overflow our mugs with creamer (oh, maybe that’s just me) and sit in a big comfy chair. Maybe we stare at the sunrise for a few minutes or maybe put our feet in the dirt to stay grounded in a country that isn’t grounded at all.
Then take those sacred words and place them in your lap. Say a prayer to your Almighty God who sent His only Son because He loved you and ask Him to show you what you need to know … and here’s the key:
Trust that He will.
Personally, I always open in the Psalms because my erratic heart can always find peace in the psalmist words. And you know what? Sometimes I never make it past the psalms. I just sit in two sentences or dwell on one word.
And can I tell you that’s ok?
There is not a soul guide; there is only a living God-Guide. The rub is that everything about soul-care grinds at American drive. To perform, accomplish, to complete.
When God asks us to let go of the drive and live in the tender place of “abide.”
So, am I saying don’t finish all of your bible study homework if God keeps you on page two of your study? Yes. I absolutely am saying yes. Be a rebel like that. Blame it on me. I’ll handle the email. Abide over drive.
If God does move you forward into the Word, I usually pick any book of the Bible (yes, you can choose any one!) and read it until I find a place to pause. If I am having trouble understanding, I write questions. Or I pick up my phone and type in the passage and the word commentary. I dig a little deeper. And this actually can become quite fun.
It becomes a treasure, this date with God.
And can I whisper a little secret to you, one a lot of theologians know but never really tell?
Not every meeting with God will be like fireworks. Not every date will be swoon-worthy. But every date will tune your heart to sing His grace. For this I am certain. These dates will become to you like water. Just what your soul needs each and every morning to face each and every earthly day.
If you want some excellent Bible Reading Plans, I have listed some of them below. But don’t just jump into the dialogue created by the women authors, jump into the actual text and if God brings you into their dialogue, then by all means, go there.
Praying with you this week as you set up dates with God. And dear girl, don’t get bogged down by the timing of it all. I will always advocate for morning because I believe there is beauty in our first fruits, but time is time. Our hearts simply need moments with our Creator. Let’s return together.
PS Never is this intended for a legalistic approach to studying God’s Word. In fact, I just spent my morning listening to music and reading a few verses because it is what my soul needed. I simply know sometimes we need structure to begin to create a new experience for us. Love you.