Monday, 8 September 2014
Food That Changes Me
It seems to me that we approach Bible reading as one more area we need to change. But what if it’s actually our fuel for change?
I have a Bible reading phobia. Commit to a One Year Bible Reading Plan? Not on your life. I know myself too well. I’m a list checker. A finisher. A compulsive putting-things-away-and-tying-up-loose-ends kind of person. Starting a 365 day Bible reading checklist sounds like assigning myself to perfectionist purgatory.
But this year I decided to do it anyway.
Why? Because I’m hungry to see the big picture again. Because I want to read the parts I’ve somehow missed or skipped. Because I believe God will help me to feed, not just read (so I can check it off).
Day Two. Read Fast.
By Day Two I was already behind. Day One was the day we took the last of our family to the airport, did 10 loads of laundry, yanked the Christmas tree down, and threw away two weeks worth of leftovers. No Bible reading that day. Bummer.
The good news was that the plan I chose had a helpful format. We were encouraged to spread out the three chapter a day assignment (one chapter from 3 different books of the Bible) over the whole day: one reading early in the day, one in the middle and one towards the end. So when I got up on day 2, I wasn’t immediately tempted to start making it all up. I opened to Genesis, hoping to read chapters one and two before I had to leave for work.
Actually I was glad to have someone else tell me where to turn in my Bible. Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to begin. That tool alone helped me open my Bible quickly and start reading.
That was a good thing, because I didn’t have much time. The leisure of the Christmas season was over. I had to be up early and out the door by 6am, breakfast eaten, lunch packed, dog walked. I had maybe 15 minutes in which to read my two chapters before I jetted off. But it was enough.
The car was cold. I turned onto the freeway and cranked up the heat. What had I just read? Oh yes, I remembered, Genesis 1 & 2, the creation story. What did it say? I began to think back through the familiar passage.
“Let there be light.” I saw God, his greatness. He speaks and things happen. He made everything I’m looking at right now. He made me. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I don’t have to be great today. He is. I don’t have to invent or reinvent myself. He made me. I don’t have to pretend to be powerful or force my will on others by loud and nagging words. He’s God. I’m not.
“Let us make man in our image.” I’m not God, but I am made in his image. I’m created to be like him. That’s my glory. I’m not nothing. I’m not “just a mom” or “just a grandmom” or “just a fitness instructor.” I bear the imprint of his nature. I reflect his splendor as I drive in my ordinary car to my ordinary job.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” God gave Adam work and he has given me work to do, too. I don’t have to worry about my purpose in life. The gym is my garden where I tend the clients he brings me. It’s humble work–I’m dust and they are too. But it’s God-given work that I can do wholeheartedly for him.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I was flooded with glad contentment. My hasty meal of Genesis 1 & 2 had metabolized into faith for my day. I was ready to love and serve in the strength God had provided through his Word.
Sisters, let’s receive God’s word, not as a task to be done by us, but as food provided by him for us.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16