Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Don't Should on Me

My mother-in-law is one of those kind of people who knows the Bible. She knows where it says what, and she just has a firm grasp of the thing. I remember being so impressed when I first learned this about her, and wishing I could be that kind of person who has the Word of God hidden in her heart. See, I know--without even trying! I swear!--things like the first three characters of people's license plates, and phone numbers, but it'd be cool to tap that part of my brain for something a little more useful.

Naturally, one must spend time reading the Bible to become familiar with it. I tried the whole osmosis/diffusion thing by carrying it around, sleeping with it under my pillow, but no dice. You have to get in there.

I wanted to want to read the Bible though, not just do it because I felt I should. How do you get from should-ing to desiring? I'm not sure how it happened, and I can't think of a specific day that it happened, but that change took place in my heart. I prayed a frustrated prayer, more than once, "Lord, this is Your thing, I want to be good, but not because I should. Make me want it. Give me the desire to read Your Word, give me the desire to follow you fully." And he honored it, gradually, chipping away bit by bit at my "should" mechanism.

I actually started to get something out of my Bible reading, I learned things about who God is, and about what He has to offer me, and it was good, and I wanted to learn more.

I can share the method of reading/studying that I use. It has helped me, but I'm not sure it's the secret....I think God has to do a work in our hearts....

I read just one paragraph at a time. I spend about 20 minutes each morning (between Lars's departure and Luke & Lily's waking), and it takes months to get through a whole book, but what's the rush? I pick a book, any book, and after reading a short passage, I answer three questions in my notebook:
What's happening here?(setting, context, summary)
What does it mean? (putting it into my own words)
What can I do with this in my life? (applying it specifically to my life, today)
This is how I work my way through a book of the Bible.

I'm still no Nancy Dahlberg, but, by the grace of God, I'm not the same Julie, either.

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