The Bible used to intimidate me. I would open it up and start reading and feel like I wasn't smart enough or didn't understand what was happening. I was expecting to read it and have all my problems fixed and be told exactly what to do. Honestly, I read it like it was a horoscope and wanted it to just explain my life to me. I tried so many different "read the Bible in a year" or random devotions, but none of them stuck. So inevitably, I stopped reading the Bible. I just didn't get it. I did this for YEARS. Then someone mentioned that we should read the Bible to learn about God's character, not our own. It took me awhile to understand. If we approach the Bible as a way to learn about God, to get to know Him, to read His story, everything changes. We begin to see the beautiful story He's woven since the beginning of time. We get to see his constancy, His faithfulness, His love. It's pretty awesome.
I didn't really know how to start so about 2 years ago, I joined a bible study at Johnson Ferry Baptist here in Atlanta. I'll be honest and just say that I was terrified. I didn't feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to go and talk to others about it, but I just knew that I had to th something other than what wasn't working. I picked one titled "What Love Is" by Kelly Minter. It focused on 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I had for sure never read those. It had assignments for 5 days each week and then we met once a week, went over the homework and watched a short video. I stayed pretty quiet those first weeks. I listened, did my homework, was confused, kept trying, and slowly but surely I started understanding what John was saying about Jesus. I started to get a picture of who He is. I loved it so much!
I also was truly blessed by the women in the group. I had imagined a bunch of 20s-30s mom's. I thought it would be great since I was just into my 2nd trimester with the baby that would be Calista. Instead, God gave me women who could be my mentors. Women who had already walked through parenting and were now grandparents and I could write a whole blog on how much they blessed me. God knows what we need even when we don't. :) I tell you this because I want to encourage you to keep going where He is calling you, even when it's scary, doesn't look at all like what you expected, and doesn't make sense to you now.
After that I did another study and another and another. As of now, I've done...
Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
Seamless by Angie Smith
Sermon on the Mount by Jen Wilkin
Hosea by Jenn Rothschild
When God's Spirit Moves by Jim Cymbala
Ive also read numerous devotions and articles and have fallen in love with all things Bible. Some of my faves are...
Famous in Heaven and at Home by Michelle Myers
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
.You see though, I needed help approaching God's word. I needed others to remind me that this is about Him and my fears and insecurities approaching Him are the enemy keeping me away from God. The Bible has taught me that I don't need to be smart enough or good enough or worthy enough. God want me. He calls me chosen. He removes my shame, my insecurities, my fears. He redeems me. All I have to do is show up, believe, and ask for forgiveness. Just like that, I am His. Sounds amazing, doesn't it?
Now, 2 years into studying I still miss days or don't do my homework, but I have learned so much about God and He has shown me so much about my life through His goodness. I am never going to be a Bible expert. I will never know it all, but I can continue to earnestly seek Him through His word and prayer. I'm so grateful I found an approach that worked for me and I want to encourage you to keep trying to find one that works for you. I'd love to chat with you more about it if you have questions, so send me a message or an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.