Thursday, December 15, 2011

Step 2: Prepare To Fail

What??!!!! Couldn't I come up with a worse title???!But I'll be honest here, there are days I fall off my plan! Vacations and changes in my work schedule trip me up, as do headaches and flu. And church stuff interferes, too!

If I sign up for a group Bible study I've found I have to choose between my personal Bible reading and the Bible study lessons. It's a tough choice, and at times I've tried to maintain both, but that doesn't work for me. I've got to go with my personal Bible reading or a group Bible study, not both.

All that to say this: take it easy on yourself! Especially while you're mourning. The latter part of my first year of widowhood I signed up for BSF. I quickly flunked out. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) is a great program, but it was too much at that point. Aim instead to get through a grief support program like GriefShare or Widows Walk before you join a mainstream Bible study.

But back to the daily Bible reading. Let's say you're doing OK with it, keeping up fine, but then you hit Leviticus. . . or Zechariah . . . This is going to sound really unspiritual, but feel free to read somewhere else in the Bible reading plan, OK? Or pick up one of these books (which, coincidently, were each written by a widow). These books are on prayer, which goes hand-in-hand with your time with God:
31 Days of Praise, by Ruth Myers--Read these prayers out loud, because it's not only hard to read the Bible when you're mourning, it's also hard to pray. Somedays there are no words! Reading these prayers out loud reinforces them. Or you might just want to use the Lord's prayer, Matt. 6:9-13. Jesus really says it all in that prayer! Try going through it every day, emphasizing ONE word at a time: OUR Father . . . Our FATHER . . . Our Father IN HEAVEN . . . see what I mean?
Prayer Begins With Relationship, by Cynthia Bezek This is a new Bible study about prayer with 6 chapters you can take at your own pace, allowing about a week per chapter. It will help you begin to listen to God and to recognize His voice. If you've ever felt left out when people start saying, "The Lord told me . . ." then you'll want to get hold of this book.

And sometimes you just have to quit trying so hard. Keep committed to your time with God, but pick up a classic piece of fiction. I don't know why, but Hinds Feet On High Places, Pilgrims Progress and an unusual little book by C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce have been helpful to widows. As you read one of these, maintain the physical habit of a quiet time. Then pick back up on the Bible reading. Don't try to catch up, just start on the current date. No one is grading you, not even God.

Keep trying new routines until you find one that fits. And if you flunk out of BSF, etc. remember that I did, too; or if you can't seem to stay on your plan, remember I have those days, too--but they get farther apart and it's worth it. I know it's frustrating, but grief is a time of transition and adjustment. God is creating something new in your life---and it's you! Beauty will rise from these ashes. You'll begin to find some good. You'll live with far greater passion and life will become precious and rich again.

Come back tomorrow for the key to looking forward to your quiet time with God. And THANK YOU, SUE for being #97! Getting so close to 100 members make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning!
 ferree

6 comments:

  1. That is so good, Ferree. I wish I had had that to read in my first months. I just felt guilty for not being able to read the scriptures, really floundering! But a wise widow friend of mine wisely 'dragged me' to a women's Bible Study, and said that it was Ok to come and just listen, even if I didn't get the study done. I went and sat there weeping most days- it was only twice a month. But it was SO good - she knew that it was what I needed to 'hear' the word and His promises! Very good advice! :)
    By the way, I have tried to join this site, but I don't have any of those accounts, and really don't want to open another one. What else can I do? ~Sheri N.

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  2. I say the Lord's Prayer quite often, "forgive and to be forgiven", are the words that stick with me.

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  3. Sheri, thank you for asking about joining--that's all I really "want for Christmas"--to find out who's out there. :) And I'm so glad your friend "dragged" you to the Bible study. Sometimes it's no fun--it's like taking strong medicine, but the truth of God's Word is what we need most of all. Thanks for taking time out of your very busy days! And Teri, may your Christmas be especially blessed with your travels. So good to hear from you. *

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  4. To Sheri, if I could give one piece of advice it would be join Widows Christian Place, it has helped me so much in the 2 months since David died. It is worth making an effort to join. May the Lord bless you and turn his face to you and give you peace.
    Linda xx

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  5. Hi ladies, downloaded the first two suggestions to David's Kindle so here's hoping I will be able to get into God's word and prayer once more in 2012. Thanks for the amazing support Ferree x

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  6. Linda, good for you with the Kindle! (I can barely use my cell phone!) I just found out about a Bible app, too, and I'll give the link for that on Thursday--it'll be like a Christmas present. :) hugs to you

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