Wednesday, January 21, 2015

For When Bible Study is Hard

Over the month of December my thriving practice of bible study absolutely disappeared. I can find many things to blame it on: lack of routine, subpar Advent study guide, emotional overwhelm at this time of year. I can find so many excuses.

But the truth is: I just didn't feel like it. I just didn't feel like putting in the time, writing in my journal, and all the accompanying things.

Then the New Year was coming, a year I'd dedicated to reading the Psalms and I still had no desire. With January 1st encroaching, it became obvious I needed to figure something, anything out to revamp my time with Him.

1. CHANGE YOUR GOALS. 
Instead of making it about time or how many words you read, focus on reading. There is truth all over the bible -even in just one verse.

2. GRAB A SMALLER JOURNAL. 
I have always done my journaling in an 8 1/2" by 11" college-ruled notebook and liked to have at least a page done to feel accomplished in my bible study. So, I ditched it for the time being and have got a little notebook for bullet points and fun lettering.

3. USE A HIGHLIGHT INSTEAD OF A PEN. 
It's not always about notes -I say loudly to myself. So, instead of writing down a whole bunch of thoughts and reflections, I highlight. And it's refreshing to spend time reading and reflecting, instead of being distracted by what needs to be written.

4. READ A TWO PAGE SPREAD AND THEN CLOSE. 
Yes, simple. Read just two pages and that's it. So much truth is surely packed in there and you'll slowly make progress through an entire book before you know it.

5. DON'T JUMP IN WHERE THE RULES ARE. 
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. They're rich and illustrate awesome things about God and people and all the bible things, but they're not easy to read or get through. Avoid them while things are hard, instead go for what's juicy and encouraging: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Ephesians, Romans.

6. REALIZE WHAT'S REWARDING & INCORPORATE IT. 
I love lettering and fun little snippets of beautiful words. So instead of working with an entire Psalm, I pick out a sentence or chunk of text and write it. This turns reading my bible into a fun, rewarding process instead of a chore.

Let's be really honest: bible reading is hard and yet, it's easy. It waxes and it wanes. That's allowed, expected, human. So take heart, be encouraged, chug onward.

And, if you have more tips, share them please.
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Also, 
Tomorrow is the FIRST Letter Link-Up
Please join us.
The theme is Refreshment. 

8 comments:

  1. Sometimes I feel like I gain the most from reading a verse over and over and over again. Especially when I focus on making it my verse to meditate on for the week. This week it's "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening." That's some powerful stuff.

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  2. This is so great, seriously. I have definitely felt at times that it’s simply another item to check off the “to-do” list, another thing to be accomplished, when it should be savored (ding ding ding your word of the
    year!). I really like your #6 idea. Going to have to try it.

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  3. Yes-- I'm struggling too. I use all of these personally (after a ton of trial and error myself) and they definitely help the rut.

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  4. This is definitely where I'm at - studying is one of my goals for the year, and I've noticed myself losing motivation and feeling discouraged if I don't accomplish a "goal," whether it's inspiration or a certain number of pages or a certain level of wisdom in my notes. It's just about soaking in the word, and sometimes one or two verses can take you right through the day as long as you live with it in you.

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  5. I'm right there with you, friend. And number 3 is such good advice!

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  6. I've been having a hard time with my Bible study lately too. I picked up the She Reads Truth read the Bible in a year with a friend which has helped. But so many times I end up just skimming through parts.

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  7. I very much felt this way at the end of 2014! I've started reading "Eat This Book" by Eugene Peterson for a class of sorts and am REALLY loving the lectio divina way of meditating on a scripture, set of scripture, or even just a word that God has brought to mind. I tend to plow through the Bible like it's an assignment and have realized that reading without mulling over what God wants me to take from the scripture defeats the entire purpose. It's so refreshing that we are not alone in this struggle, thank you!

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  8. Love this. After being away from home for the past few weeks I have been terrible at keeping up with my bible study. I'm glad to know I'm not alone and I am going to try out some of your pointers.

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