Our faith atrophies without it. Our perspective gets skewed without it. Our hearts are manipulated without it.
We need Truth. Bible study isn’t about checking off a box on our to-do lists (oh, how easily it becomes that). It’s about filling ourselves up with Truth so that we won’t be so easily filled up with the ickiness of this world. It’s about drawing near to our Lord, our only hope for the grace to grow.
When Bible study begins to feel like a legalistic must-do, I remind myself that I need it. On my own, I don’t know up from down. I need God’s wisdom. I like to think of it as marinating my mind in Truth–covering myself in it, letting it seep into all the dark crevices, being flavored by it through and through.
This practical step is pretty simple: dig into God’s Word. Read it prayerfully. It will keep everything in proper focus.
I would be okay hibernating with my books and my thoughts for weeks at a time. In fact, sometimes socializing just feels like work to me. However, I am convinced that God created us for community. It’s all over Scripture; just read through Acts and Paul’s letters to the early church. We are made to do life together, and our faith is made to thrive in fellowship.
Have you ever considered what the existence of the Trinity means in relation to us being created in the image of God? God’s existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit shows us the importance of relationship. God is relationship, and we are made in His image. When we lack community, we won’t be fully content.
The depth of that didn’t strike me until recently, and it changed me. I gritted my teeth, swallowed my anxiety, and started showing up–going to women’s group, teaching vacation Bible school. I had conversations that went beyond small talk and allowed myself to be vulnerable. Then I did something truly scary–I bought a ticket to the Influence Conference even though I didn’t know a soul attending. This week I’ll immerse myself in that new faith community.
Find a faith family and invest yourself in them. Find ways to take part in the physical community you live in, too. For all the discomfort it may bring at times, it will help foster joy in your life.
I’ve always been full of plans. Mostly good, responsible plans that gained wide approval. Nothing too risky, nothing too questionable.
Then I discovered something: God doesn’t care how great my plans are. If they’re not His plans, they’re not the right plans.
For two years I battled Him on this over my career. God seemed to be telling me to step back and let Him work it out, but I just wasn’t seeing how it was going to come together. I had left my job as a therapist and was working in my family’s business, but I thought that surely there was an ambitious career path I needed to be on. I just had to find the right one, so I wasted time and money until finally I released it. Fine, I thought, I won’t be successful. That’s fine.
And now my daughter gets to be tended by the hands of her mama, and I get to know her better than anyone else. I would have never made this choice on my own. Never. It wasn’t up for consideration in my mind, but God knew me better. Financially it’s challenging, but He provides there, too.
Know this: He has a plan for you. He has a specific, purposeful, important plan for your life to bring Him glory. Sometimes our best intentions get in the way, though. Sometimes we’re so focused on responsibility and success that we forget Who really is running the show (hint: it’s not me. or you.). He’s got it all figured out. I promise you, it’s safe to give up your plans for His. In fact, it’s the only way to contentment.