It's a common misconception that missionaries or those that work in the church are super spiritual, Holy Joe's with a hotline to our Heavenly Father and the ability to discern much more clearly what God is saying in every situation.
I am here to testify that it really just isn't the case. We're no different from anyone else ... bumbling on with the day-to-day stuff. Whether that be work, bringing up children at home or everything in between.
There is no higher plain of communication that we have reached for both talking and listening to God or for understanding the Bible. We are still surrounded by the same distractions that keep us away from spending time working on our relationship with God. In fact, sometimes it feels like a few more have been thrown in our path to keep our minds on other things!
The truth is that no matter who we are or what path we are walking, as with any friendship, time and effort is involved to deepen a relationship. The decision to put that effort in is up to the individual.
In the last 5 years, moving across the world a couple of times and having two small children, amongst other things, I know that my time nurturing the special relationship, that should really have been given my first priority, has not always been afforded it's rightful place. In fact, sometimes when I have been able to fit it in, it's felt more like a chore than something enjoyable and I'm sure I'm not the only one ... if you're really honest with yourself.
Determined to make a difference, I had a look on Amazon to find a book or two to give me some inspiration and something I could instantly download onto my Kindle rather than paying for postage out here and waiting for weeks to see if it would actually arrive.
It was there that I stumbled upon a Jen Hatmaker book called A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study. If you are living in the States you may have heard of her recently, after one of her blog posts went viral, Worst End of School Year Mom Ever. She was even interviewed on the Today Show as a result!
It was SO easy to read. I got through it in just a few days. It is not a theological masterpiece. It is real. It is accessible. It makes you believe that connecting with the Bible and with God isn't as complicated as it can so often appear ... or is made out to be, by many well meaning sermons or books.
How often do we try to learn about how to do it, rather than roll up our sleeves and actually get down to business? Jen Hatmaker, herself writes ...
'It is possible to learn a great deal about the Bible while barely spending any personal time connecting with it.'
Her aim is to get you to do just that, to fall in love with the Bible and God, equipping you with the skills that will last a lifetime and while I have to admit I was more than a little skeptical, I was willing to give it a go. At the end of the book is a 'Study Guide' to get you into a groove before embarking on your own private study.
While I am still working my way through the study guide, I can honestly say my opinion and outlook when it comes to Bible study has changed so much ... and most definitely for the better. I can't wait to engage with another section of it, making it a priority over other things, getting so much more out of it and being amazed at how the time flies when I check my watch. And that's how it should be!
The book was definitely a good buy and something that if you're stuck in a rut, looking for a different approach or just to be inspired anew in studying the Bible, I can't recommend it enough. It may not work for everyone but it most certainly did for me!