GETTING STARTED IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST PART
Why is getting started so scary?
Terry and I moved to Kennesaw in 2016 when he became the District Superintendent of the Atlanta-Marietta District of the United Methodist Church. We had been at our previous appointment at Gainesville First for 12 years, and most of those years I had been attending a Bible Study on Tuesday mornings with several women, some who came for a period and then several that I saw every week for 10 or more of those 12 years. Those who were together prior to our move had become very near and dear over all that time, and it was difficult to imagine Bible Study without them in the future.
In our new appointment, we didn’t have one church to drop into and begin to bloom, we had 40 plus, and we haven’t settled in with just one, we hop around each week, so I have never really put down roots in any one congregation to find my place. Additionally, during the first 3 1/2 years of that time, my parents were at a place where they needed a lot more hands on care which took a good deal more time than it had before, and I enjoyed at least one day a week with my grandchildren. There was less available time to commit to Bible Study. But I was lonely on those days I was at home, and I did miss my “group”.
It occurred to me that there are a lot of seasons we have in our lives, and mine was more of an “on-the-go” season now, and I needed to learn a new way to do Bible Study. Once the Kennesaw house was settled and there was balance with my parents and my grandchildren, I found (and permanently borrowed) an extra Bible that Terry had on hand. The cover read, DAILY COMPANION BIBLE and it is the Common English Translation… “a fresh translation to touch the heart and mind”. Per the title, Daily Companion Bible, it contained ahead of the scriptures a 52-week Bible Study to follow. I decided to dive in and see if the “Explore the Bible in A Year” method would work for me. But I also decided to do it my way… If I couldn’t do it every day, just do it when I can. I’m a rule keeper, and if the rules are too hard, then I might become defeated before I began. So I gave myself as much flexibility as possible and simply began. Some weeks I might have gotten to it two or three times and then it might be three weeks before I got going again. Another rule I formed for myself was to not read their commentary. The presentation was five days per week – each week has a specific theme – each day has scriptures to read then a short commentary with Reflection Prompts. I didn’t want to launch from that format, I basically wanted to read the scriptures and then listen to them and hear from them myself without any other input… “What does this scripture say to me, and why is this particular scripture important to me in this time of my life?” I really didn’t focus too hard on the theme for the week, and many a day my thoughts began to go down a whole new pathway.
At first, it was a slow go and a bit of work to get myself to focus…but over time it became something that I truly enjoyed and I decided to write my thoughts down every time. Eventually, this time became very special to me and most days I felt a strong and real connection to what I was reading – pure texts from God’s Word that would live with me throughout the day – even for many days. And my mind was more and more open to the things I was learning through these scriptures. It was a very multi-dimential experience for me. Many of the passages I had heard over and over but never the way I read them that day. It became fascinating and encouraging and gave me a new pep in my step as I related one on one with God’s Word. It gave my life a new focus and it began to sustain me in a way that I very much needed. My prayer life enlarged and my understanding became broader. And it continues today. Jesus often uses parables and encounters to help his listeners better understand God’s Kingdom, and that is what my time in scripture began to do regularly – pointing me in a way differently than this world often thinks. It was like with each encounter I was dipping a bit more into the Kingdom of God. His ways are above our ways and we can only learn more about Him through His Word.
It took me way more than a year to do the first 52 weeks – I was not rigid to the schedule but to making the time spent intentional and productive. No more going through the motions. Reading, journaling, praying – time for all elements intentionally or wait til there is the right time – no squeezing it in and just getting it done. My journaling began to get more and more detailed. I’m really not a journaling type person, but this was valuable and important and I became more and more passionate about it.
When the first 52 week reading was completed, I wanted to begin again, so I have. Rather than keeping a journal, I’m keeping a spreadsheet and typing out the scriptures to better sink them into my being. After I type in the scripture, I am highlighting it in my Bible (reading it again in the process) and can see if I have read a particular scripture before and am anxious to see at the end of this re-reading how much of the Bible I actually encountered. Maybe my next “adventure” would be to read everything that has not been highlighted to see what it offers…
So I’m beginning a blog to share my “gleanings” from daily scripture with whoever might want to go along with me. What I write is in the moment and not to be taken as the only way to interpret that day’s scripture… it is simply what that scripture said to me in that moment. I am open to and very interested in what it says to any one else in their moment too. I believe the Holy Spirit has been very much my leader as I write and has so beautifully broadened my horizons and I have had constant nudges to share…it has just been overwhelming to get started. You are welcomed to join in as you would like, and I would love to hear back from you too…. kind of a Blogging Bible Study. My prayer is that God will use it for good! Let’s do some Kingdom-Dipping together!