Last year when I began to blog it was for the purpose of documenting my resolution for 2014. I was going to try something new every day. I loved that idea and at first, many of my friends and family followed my adventures and tales. In April, one friend in particular asked if I had plans for what I would do and blog about in 2015. Uhm….no. On any given day I’m lucky to know what I’m going to have dinner tomorrow.
She had a suggestion. She asked if I would read the Bible everyday faithfully for one year and document it in my blog. I told her I did not believe there was anyway I could ever read through the Bible in a matter of a year, but I could commit to reading my Bible daily. The past three years I’ve felt a bit like a WWE superstar wrestling with God (and losing terribly, might I add) so I’ve been much more faithful to read and pray than I have before, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been faithful to do so on a daily basis, if I’m going to be honest. Sometimes I’ve been so angry and bitter that I just could not do it. Could not.
But now… I know that God has interrupted my life. I’m still trying to figure out why. I have a feeling there are big, scary plans with what I perceive will be risk waiting for me, but I just don’t know yet what those plans are. So…..what better way to figure it out than to read my Bible everyday and have you join me on my journey. So…..Brinkley (my dear friend who suggested this), I’m fully expecting you to do this with me as you said you would. Oh yeah…..I just publicly called you out. Feel pressure…..those two other people who actually read this blog faithfully will totally hold you accountable.
Let me clarify that this is my path. I do not claim to be any kind of expert. In fact, I didn’t read half of the material I was expected to read in my required religion classes in college. I am so not theologian or pastor material. In fact, if you know me personally, you are probably laughing at the thought of that very statement. This is simply my journey, and I’m inviting you to a join me in the passenger seat.
So how to begin? I could approach my studies topically. Certainly there are subjects I find interesting and really applicable to my life. Should I use a devotion and let the author’s approach dictate my studies? All of those are great choices, but for this no…..I think instead of telling God what I want to learn, I’m going to read and let Him decide what to teach me. So, I will approach things one book at a time. I’m going to start with James. Everyday as I read, I’ll try to choose one or two verses to focus on, but I want to read it within context.
Why James? James is one of my favorite books of the Bible as it is straight forward and practical. I can read and apply immediately. Plus, it’s not very long. Five chapters and I’ve knocked out an entire book of the Bible. It’s practically instant gratification.
Today was James 1. James 1:19 is my focus for today. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” There’s a lot of good stuff and direction in this chapter, but I know these verse is one that I need to learn from. Slow to speak…..I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been quick to make judgments without knowing all the facts. How many times have I tried to rush in and give advice when someone only needed a listening ear from me? How many times have I let my anger dictate my day and then impact those around me? How many times have I become angry about stupid stuff that didn’t matter years from now? All of these things only led to anger and frustration for those around me.
Earlier in my life I used to engage in conversations much like this…….I would make a comment and then while the other person is talking I am focused on what to say next rather than really listening to what the other person had to say. That’s not being quick to hear and slow to speak. Quite the contrary. I am a talker. I love to talk. I can talk about pretty much anything. And the more uncomfortable I am, the more I ramble. I hate uncomfortable silences. But sometimes a great deal can be gained from the silences. Being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger……certainly something that I’ve been working on and will continue to do so.