I've been in this weird space where I started collecting a ton of books, reading up on the more current Christian women authors and diving in head first in my effort to be "ok" with silence and stillness - I filled the silence up super quick with reading. I kept searching for things to make me feel "ok" with where I was at when in all reality, I just needed to rest.
In most of the books I was reading, many authors talked about counseling and how freeing it was. I have friends that have done counseling as well and I thought I should give it a try. What's the worst that could come from it, right? I don't mind talking to people and being vulnerable (to a certain point), and I was looking for some direction in my life in certain areas - it might be good to just get it all out. So, I signed up and started talking.
One of the key things I've been learning is how easy it is to listen to other peoples voices and opinions over listening to what make you tick, what you value, and most importantly - who God is and what He values. I found that I'm a people pleaser. I strayed away from time alone by myself because I often viewed it as "selfish". I can easily find out what makes you tick and work to meet your standards. I actually find a lot of joy in helping other people out. But, I got to a point where I could see what everyone else needed and I was ignoring what I needed. I honestly didn't even know what I needed anymore.
It's so much easier to get validation from real people than from an invisible God. I was finding it easier to read other self-help books verses reading the Bible as well. (Books aren't bad, but when they are replacing the Bible- you can get yourself into a sticky situation). I was letting confusion sink in. I was letting other voices tell me what I needed to do, who I should be, what I should be working on, what I should be quitting or ascribing too, and I stopped listening to what God was telling me to do.
Confusion: a) "lack of understanding; uncertainty. b) ">the state of being bewildered or unclear in one's mind about something. It's so easy to get confused when you are looking for "truth" from a bunch of different sources. I'm learning to enjoy reading the Bible again. Seriously, why is this so hard?! Literally an eye opening message on enjoying the Bible came through scrolling Facebook and stumbling upon a message from Eric Knopf. You can listen to his message here. This was his list that I L O V E D.
TIME IN THE WORD: DO/DON'T
- Don't wait until a crisis to read the Word.
- Bad attitude towards reading the Word blocks revelation.
- Don't have your Smart Phone near you.
- Don't binge-read the Bible. We have these reading standards no one can live up to. Manage your appetite.
- Don't limit your reading to the Bible. You're not cheating on the Bible when you read other books.
- Don't read the Bible unprepared. Expect God to speak to you. In OT, God had people build a stack of rocks to remember. Steward what God tells you. Use a highlighter. Record what God tells you.
- Do read the Bible in the morning. Your mind is less distracted/stressed and you're the most available for mental transformation. Morning gives God first fruits. It sets the trajectory of your day.
- Do slow down! You'll notice things you miss when you're reading too fast.
- Do read until you receive.
- Do record, memorize and synthesize. You can avoid having crisis by getting direction before they show up.
- Do read what is most enjoyable. There's something to be said for reading what interests you!
So, I'm taking time on Fridays now for myself (it used to be my "mommy" days with my kids). My goal is to really think about what I value. Getting back to the basics of enjoying reading and finding wisdom in the Bible. It doesn't probably sound so complicated - but it's clearing the haziness of confusion. The unclear things are fading away. I'm realizing that it's not selfish to take time for myself even when I could be giving my time to others. I've gotta get filled back up.
Cheers to counseling, time alone, and finding truth and wisdom in the Bible (with JOY as opposed to a task). Hoping my vulnerability frees you up to do the same (even just with those in your closest circle).