Hi guys! So as you already know, my blog chronicles my journey to living a healthier and more fulfilling life. I’ve been sharing a lot of recipes, my life as a wife, student, friend, etc, but it’s been awhile, or maybe more accurately…I’ve never really opened up about my spiritual life. You see, to me healthy living encompasses not only how I feed my body but also how I nourish my mind and soul. For those of you who may not know, I am a Christian. I grew up in a Christian household, and in 7th grade at a winter retreat, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Although He’s been present my entire life, my walk with my Father has been anything but steady. It’s a constant roller coaster ride that I am on. I think it’s time that I grow out of this phase and seek a more age-appropriate kind of ride – one that’s slow and steady…
Ever since I got back from my recent California trip, I’ve had a lot to think about. It all spurred from a simple conversation that I shared with my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t seen them in over 10 years, so we obviously had a lot to catch up on. My uncle asked me about my church, spiritual life, etc, and I just answered. I did not premeditate or think about what I wanted to say, but the words just flew out of my mouth…and I could not believe the things that I said. “So that’s how I’ve been feeling,” I came to a gripping realization.
For over a year now, I’ve been praying fervently for one thing and that is to become a mother. “Well, clearly he’s not answering my prayer.” Then came the bottomless bitterness, frustration, and anger that continue to multiply and spread in me like poison. So it was no surprise when I bluntly laid out to my uncle all the negative emotions I was feeling, how I cannot get myself to really get into the Word, pray, find joy and peace… Then something very confusing happened. He started to evangelize to me. I thought, “I know all this! Why is he telling me this? Is he questioning my salvation?”
On our drive back to the hotel, I asked Tim what that was all about. As he is pretty discerning, he told me that from what I was saying, I sounded like a lost soul. If I was walking with and living for the Lord, during this year of struggles, I would have found peace at some point through faith. However, I’ve only been harboring negative, destructive feelings. How did I get to this point?
From the simple conversation that I had with my uncle, I came to this realization..and believe me it hit me hard! – I am so far away from my Savior…I cannot continue on this lonely journey anymore. How can I expect Him to answer my prayers when my personal relationship with Him is so fragile? I am a Christian…are these just empty words? No! I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want my actions to reflect my words and my thoughts.
I read a lot of Christian self-help books, but when it comes to sitting down and reading the Bible, now that just hasn’t been happening. Yes, I read verses here and there, but I don’t actually dig into the Word, like I would with one of my school textbooks, and really try to understand the juicy stuff.
Well, I’ve decided that it’s time that my quality time with the Lord gets bumped up to the #1 spot on my to-do-list rather than dead last (more often than not, I don’t even get to it). A year ago, my church did a 4+1 Bible reading plan together. What this means is that everyday specific chapters from 2 Old Testament books and 2 New Testament books are read along with a Psalm as the +1. I will tell you right now that I did not get very far, not to mention that I just skimmed through the verses most of the time. This time around, though, I shall read the verses word for word and really try to understand their meaning and purpose. What is God trying to tell me? I’ve had a Study Bible since college that’s just been collecting dust. It’s time I put that bad boy to use! I’m finding that reading the commentaries and explanations as I go along is extremely helpful! I say, let the dissection begin!
To start, I’ll be reading Genesis, 1 Chronicles, John, James, and Psalms. I am definitely more familiar with the New Testament than the Old Testament. All the names, history, and law in the latter were too hard to comprehend, and rather than try to decipher it all, I merely picked and chose certain sections. For instance, 1 Chronicles is inundated with just names. Tim challenged me to read them all to realize how God does not clump all of us together! He remembers every single person by name! It also supports the Old Testament promise that Jesus would be a descendant of Abraham and David. I have to remember that every word that’s written in the Bible is there for a reason and that I must not pick and choose. I love this reading plan because I think it’ll really help me to see the Bible as one epic story.
From this, my goal is not to merely know the Bible inside and out. Rather, I long to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible. There’s no question about it that I have faith. However, I desire to actively obey and respond in such a way that my actions demonstrate the kind of faith that is genuine. No more empty words.
From the first day, God slapped me in the face with James 1. It was just what I needed to hear. Can it be that all the answers that I’ve been searching high and low for are all right here in the Bible? Of course they are!
I want to share with you James 1:2-6 —
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…
James here doesn’t say if you face trials, but rather he says whenever! We are for sure going to encounter many bumps on the road, but we should consider them a blessing rather than misery and anguish. For this is how we grow and mature. I feel very convicted here that I should stop complaining about my circumstances but rather see them as opportunities for growth. God is trying to shape me right now. Thank you Lord, for giving me this time of trials and turmoil. I shall persevere…persevere…persevere.
As a way to chronicle my spiritual journey, I’m planning to dedicate a post every week on what God is teaching me through my 4+1 reading plan and how He is speaking to me through my times of prayer. I share recipes and my frolicking through life, so why not delicious and satisfying food for my soul? I warn you in advance, as it may get quite wordy and overwhelming at times, but I hope that it may feed your soul as well!