I am beyond blessed that I do have a few of these people in my life. When I stop to consider the places of my soul at which they choose to venture with me, and don't run when we get to the reality of it...I recognize what a gift God has truly given me!
Not so very long ago one of them offered to venture there with me, yet again. The answer I gave was honest and not one of bliss and excitement.
In fact, this was my response: "I am feeling quite numb to life, even spiritually. I have been consistently having my quiet time but it just seems stagnant for the most part. I will admit that I haven't had the time I would have liked for quiet, and have been reasoning with myself that that has something to do with it. He's doing the silent thing, or I'm just not listening, or maybe even a little of both?"
She offered to share from her own experiences. I accepted. Her response caused me to do quite a bit of thinking. I thought perhaps her own personal experiences would also be of benefit to you. Rather than trying to re-create in my own words her challenging response, I asked her to stop by and share it with you today.
I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Mrs. Pear.
"Okay, what I am going to say pretty much flies in the face of much of the Bible reading/studying stuff we are taught now, and that is a shame.Mrs. Pear, mother to 2 young children, wife and living an everyday life, just finished her second time through the entire Bible this year. Just this last week she finished her second trip through in 87 days.
There are certainly times for methodical study that takes you throughout the Bible as you chase down ideas, for plans and agendas.
This is not one of them.
The only way I have ever broken through this was to sit down with my Bible open, a pad of paper open, a pen uncapped, all just waiting to record what God says. There is something about the earnest expectation of the paper and uncapped pen that works for me. And then I read.
No agenda, no set time, no set amount, unless it is a substantial amount. I ask God to speak clearly to me, to show me something new, to teach me, to encourage me, to meet me. And then I start reading. And I read LARGE volumes. I don't record anything until it is a message from God, and I don't stop until I record something.
At first I will record things that are gentle reminders such as how much God loves us, how much God provides for us, how God will never abandon us. Then, slowly, we move into more specific things.
This is why I chose to do the Bible in 90 Days reading. I desperately needed to hear from God. The more I digest in volume, the more I actually hear from Him.
There is certainly an important place for in-depth study. Don't get me wrong.
But when you are desperate to hear from God you need to do what one of my seminary professors called, "wasting time with God" just like you would a good friend. It is rare that you sit down with a friend with a set agenda, although there are times. But that is often how we approach our time with God.
There is a difference between devotional reading and study reading. Sometimes we forget to do devotional reading, the wasting time with God reading.
As I did more and more reading this way with the 90 Days, I found that I was not only writing down things for me, and things for my husband, I was even calling friends up. It was like God was unleashing a gifting in me.
When I slowed down my reading with the girls being sick and my husband traveling, I could feel the revelation slowing down too.
Now, this is NOT to say that you might have been negligent in spending time with God or anything like that!
It is to encourage you try something new.
So instead of thinking of the Bible as we are mostly encouraged to now - thoroughly digest a small bit - think of it like a dessert buffet table where nothing has calories and you can never be full and every bite tastes better than the last. - I need to get through all that goodness!
I would also encourage you to take a Bible (and not your study one, one you don't mind getting beat up) and put it in your kitchen. Leave it out on your counter, open. And as you are in there a million times a day caring for your family grab the few verses you can. It makes a tremendous difference.
Now, this is what I do. Lots of experts will disagree with me, but the Expert meets me more often than not when I do this. He may have a different plan for you, but usually when we look in the Bible it is the people who have thirsted greatly and have drunk deeply that break through.
And if God continues to remain silent, keep pressing on, preaching the truth to yourself. The dark teatime of the soul is hard, I know, I have been through it, but the rewards are rich.
Every time I read these words of encouragement and challenge from Mrs. Pear's personal experience, I am once again inspired to think outside of the box in the time I spend with God.
And so, it was with excitement and a bit of nervousness that I began the challenge this past weekend to read through the entire Bible in 90 days.
Not because I think I'm super spiritual. Not because I think this will be easy. Not because I just want to be able to say that I've done it. But because I am desperate for even more of my God.
Not only am I taking the challenge, my husband has agreed to do it with me. To add even another layer of accountability and experience to it all, we are facilitating a weekly small group through the 90 day challenge as well.
I do not know what this experience will entail. I am quite sure it will be one like I've never had before. However, it is with great expectation and eagerness that I approach God's Word, to be fully immersed for the next 90 days.