Friday, September 11, 2015

When You're Feeling Stressed About The Bible

I've been working extra hard on making time to build a real relationship with the Lord lately. Not just to be faithful and obedient, but really knowing Him and letting Him into every part of my life. It is not always easy. How do you know what God wants from you when he's not standing there face to face talking you through it? How do you know you're interpreting His word correctly? How do you even really get involved in His word and not just read it but know it in your heart?

I finally got around to watching a class from the Influence Network last night that came out last month. I know, I'm slacking! It was Women Who Read the Word 2.0 by Jess Connolly. If you need to be inspired to read your Bible or you don't know where to start, I highly recommend this class! (There is also a part one to this class, that Jess teaches as well, and both of these are still available as past classes! The first is called How To: Just Get in God's Word.)

So I watched the class last night and now I'm feeling inspired to really get into His word and eat it up and know it and know Him. BUT. How do I soak it up? How do I comprehend it? Because I can sit down and read it and when we're talking about genealogy or names or places, I'm totally lost. I can read it ten times over and still not know it. Also, reading the Bible raises a lot of questions for me. I do better when I read a Christian life book with bits of scripture that pertain to something I can relate to or the season I'm at in life. It can get so discouraging and I hate to say it, but I've never read the whole Bible and there is SO MUCH that I just don't know.

Regardless of all that I got up this morning with renewed conviction that it was time for me to try again. I usually read from a book or devotional or the YouVersion Bible app and then look up the key verses in my physical Bible. Last week I downloaded She Reads Truth and I decided to try their Bible in a Year and The Gospel devotionals. (Both of which are available for free in their app!)

I am so glad I started off with these. God knew exactly what I was needing and He delivered in His perfect timing. I started off with the Bible in a Year. Instead of going by the actual date and starting off with September's readings, I went back to January. Some people might do fine starting in the middle of the year, but I really needed to see things from the beginning and have a good foundation to start on in understanding the Bible as a whole. The first day's readings are from Genesis and John. It helps that I've read through Genesis multiple times, so it wasn't too hard to get into. 

Next, I did the first day of The Gospel. The entire thing was powerful, but the best takeaway from it was this: "The mystery of the Gospel does nothing to negate its truth." Oh my goodness!! It is so big a concept that it is beyond our full understanding. The greatest Bible scholars in the world still have more to learn. It is not our job to know everything. God has that under control. Just because it is beyond my understanding DOES NOT mean that it is beyond His Godly power!

That takes a huge load off my shoulders. I want to know Him and be close to Him and use His word to glorify Him. I do not need to know everything the Bible says fully understand it to do that. I can lean on Him. He wants us to lean on Him. I don't know about y'all, but I am much more comfortable knowing that. The more I know from the Bible, the better. But I have the God given grace of not having to have my head wrapped around every single concept just to know Him, love Him, and walk with Him. That brings me divine relief. I hope it makes you want to jump into His word with less pressure too.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Was All Stress Created Equal?

Hi y'all!!

If it wasn't already apparent, I took a hiatus from Mama Made a Blog for the last few months. At first I kept meaning to post and meaning to post, and adding more and more to my to do list so of course I kept putting it off.

And finally I had one of those defining moments when you gain clarity over what you're supposed to do - and I knew I just needed a break. I needed to downsize my to do list, and anything that was less than necessary needed to come off.

It is so easy to want to do more and more and more, and continue to add to our calendars and our to do lists. Haven't we heard of quality over quantity? You can make it to every single event on your social calendar, bake goodies for every organization and person who asks you to, and give your time to numerous other outlets and activities, but does any of that matter if you can't enjoy it?

I'll give you a hint, the short answer is no! :)

So, I stopped blogging for a while, and I got through the rest of the Spring semester, got through a nursing simulation and test, decided to take another year before finishing nursing classes, found out my little was wait-listed for preschool (it's a need-based program at the local public school, and she scored very high on her testing, so that was a blessing even though I want for there to be enough room in the class for her), Reagan turned 4, and we had the whole summer off together until I started the Fall semester this past week.

So clearly my to do list wasn't actually lacking ;)

That being said, I've been taking lots of classes on the Influence Network, reading some books just because I want to, and spending time with Reagan and loving on myself as well as Jesus.

Sometimes when we really feel like we need a break, what we really need to do is give ourselves one. I don't mean the kind of break you take when you have it all finished and your to do list is completed. Let me tell you, that time will not come. There will always be something you can put before your own rest and rejuvenation. 

Did you know that all stress has the same effect on your body? That's right, even good stress like blogging has the same effect as those things I need to get done that I don't want to because they're both adding to the amount of stress I'm feeling. A stress response is a stress response. It doesn't matter if it's wedding planning or cramming for your final exam. You might enjoy one more than the other (I hope!) but you're still going to experience your body's reaction to stress.

I'm currently reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst, because I still need tons of help prioritizing and saying yes to the right things. So far so good, but I'll write a full review when I'm done. Until then has anyone else read it? Have you had any times that you felt the need to pull back and say no, even to activities that you loved?