Hello and happy 2018!
As I thought about what I wanted my first blog post of the year to look like, it (shockingly) didn’t take much contemplating.
On January 1st, I started this read through the Bible in a year plan. It’s nothing fancy…just a slick, folded sheet of paper that a volunteer left for the staff at the non-profit I work for.
I’ve tried read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plans before in many different forms and every time I’ve failed. I get to about mid-February and start falling behind, and then the perfectionist in me can’t deal with it and I give up altogether.
But this year, it’s different. I’m not more motivated. I don’t have my life together. I’m not trying harder. My perspective has shifted. I’m hungry. I crave Jesus. I’m not doing it to check off my to-do list or prove to myself how spiritual I am, I’m just flat out desperate. And I don’t really know that I can tell you how to get to that point.
What I can tell you about Bible reading is this:
#1 You’re not always going to feel like doing it. Do it anyway. Eventually, you’ll live for the quiet moments you get to spend with Jesus.
#2 You will fail without a plan. You cannot simply flip open your Bible and start reading. Whatever that looks like for you, get outside sources that will give you passages to read each day. (Not devos. Devos are different. This is studying scripture, which means that you will have to read full passages of it. Not one or two verses with an emotional or motivational thought attached.)
Since the beginning of the year, my quiet times have been so deep and rich. Let this give you hope, because right before this I went months where they were dry and almost felt lifeless. That was mostly my own fault, but let me tell you now friend, it doesn’t stay that way forever.
Here’s the beautiful message of hope for every single one of us:
During my reading, the story of Hagar came up. Hagar is known as the outcast in her story because she was the servant girl that Abraham intentionally got pregnant since he and his wife Sarah didn’t think that God would or could give them a child due to their old age. Despite the fact that Sarah told Abraham to impregnate Hagar, once she got pregnant, Sarah felt like Hagar had a bit of an attitude towards her. Sarah’s not about to be disrespected, so she tells Abraham to make Hagar hit the road. Obviously having no choice, she did. And then she finds herself pregnant in the middle of the dessert fleeing from her situation. After receiving specific instructions from an angel of the Lord, she calls out to God and she says this,
“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
In the middle of the desert, she came face to face with God. He met her where she was. She was seen.
You need to know that, friend. God sees you. He sees where you are. And, better yet, He will meet you where you are.
Go into this new year not with a set of expectations that leave you feeling flustered and defeated, but rather just knowing and believing you’re genuinely seen.
I think when we view our quiet time (and any goal for that matter) from that perspective, things change. We change.