I know I haven’t posted lately except for the weekly Romans plan, but I have been doing a lot of mulling and thinking as I have gone through my various Bible reading plans and studies.
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt God close by. If you’ve ever felt Him near, you know what I mean. That feeling that I relied on so heavily before is not there. Despite the lack of feeling, I have had such a heavenly peace about me with regards to God and my faith. Does this make sense? It didn’t at first to me.
BUT…This is a part of the deepening process in faith. For many of us, faith is a feeling. We are feeling, sensitive people and we come to faith because of things God speaks to us through our feelings. But that’s just the beginning. It’s not sustainable. I didn’t get it at first, but I do now.
This summer, one of my studies is over Hebrews with Jen Wilkins. She is a proponent of having faith through our mind–going beyond the feelings (which, yes, are important) to having intellectual faith as well. I wasn’t too sure about this at first and have found this study to be particularly challenging for me, but I am getting it now. God is using the readings and studies I’m doing to teach me about Himself. I need to know Him so that when the feeling is not present, I still know I can trust Him. He is blessing me with intellectual faith this summer.
I get a Daily Grace Co Surprise Box every month and through those have received a couple of different prayer journals. I decided to go through my year of goodies recently. As I reorganized, I flipped through the prayer journals. In one of them, there was a daily question about whatever scripture the writer decided to journal: “What does this passage tell me about God’s character?” The question stuck with me as I’ve continued to read and study the Bible despite not much feeling. This gave me something to reflect on and be comforted without relying on emotions which change throughout the day. It has made the Word come to life even more to me.
So now, I am branching out from my comfortable NIV and NLT Bibles by reading the ESV while Sailing Through Psalms with @lovelikeconfetti (on instagram) and for my Hebrews study. I often have to read, reread and read again each passage, but I’m seeing a maturing of my faith. I am digging deeper into the intellectual side of faith. This is what is sustainable when the feelings don’t come. I share this to give hope to anyone out there who feels like studying the Bible is too daunting for them, or impossible.
Let me give a quick summary of my faith journey. I have always believed in God. I have always believed Jesus died for my sins. I have not always trusted God to be on my side. In 2014, I joined my first Bible study–BSF. I felt like the least knowledgable person in that group. I felt extremely discouraged, but when that study of Moses ended, I continued on in my reading of the Bible. By the end of the summer of 2015, I had read all the way through Ruth–before the Moses study, I never made it past Numbers. In the fall of 2015, I had to go back to work after a year at home. It was through the pain of adjustment that I finally pursued God wholeheartedly. I continued with the BSF study of Revelation, joined a new church, joined a women’s group and began my first Bible reading plan that fall and finished the entire NLT Bible in 6 months. I am still in BSF as well as leading a women’s group at my church. I am almost 80% done with the NIV Bible and over 50% done with The Message Bible–both of which I will finish this year.
When I read the Bible, I now recognize people, places and events. I am even beginning to recognize where verses fall when I hear them quoted before receiving their address in the Bible. I share this because 3 years ago, I was not knowledgable beyond the big players: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Adam, Eve, Moses, Noah. I didn’t even know God’s promise to Abraham nor what the big deal was about David. I had read Esther, Ruth, Psalms and most of the New Testament, but almost nothing about the Old Testament. I was raised in the church–tuning out the sermons and too anxiously shy to pay attention in Sunday school–and I missed all of this.
In 3 years, all of this changed. So if you feel like you don’t know enough, don’t give up. Keep going! If you’ve never stuck with a Bible reading plan, forgive yourself and keep getting in the Word in some way.
Speaking of Bible reading plans… I am playing around with some ideas for 2018. I know, that’s like 6 months away, but God has placed some ideas in my heart. I’m not sure how it will look, but I hope to help other women stay on track with a Bible reading plan… Prayers for direction and clarity are much appreciated regarding this idea. As soon as He makes it clear, I will share here and on Instagram.