Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Books, Books and The Book

One of the problems with reading multiple books simultaneously is that when something strikes me, I've forgotten where I read it by the time I actually have a minute (or a pen, paper, something) to process it. I think it was Love Dare, but I apologize, Francis Chan, it could have been you. Anyway, here's what struck me: If you want to know the condition of your heart, think about how you feel when good things or bad things happen to other people. Be perfectly honest with yourself. Do you truly rejoice with them? Do you feel kind of happy for them but wonder, "How come nothing like that ever happens to me?" Do you silently feel vindication through another's misfortune: Karma is a b*$%h? Wow, that hit me right square in my own flawed heart.

Over the past month and with increasing fervor before our baptism, I have prayed for God to bring my own overlooked flaws to light, to help me to deal with them, and to fill me with His Holy Spirit to guide my life. I am learning now that this falls into the be-careful-what-you-pray-for category. Because what He has shown me is ugly. He showed me that like my other nemesis weight loss (you know how hours of working out is ruined by a chocolate chip cookie, or three if we're being totally honest here) following Him can be a one-step-forward-two-step-back proposition.

I can go days without swearing, saying negative things, losing my temper, and so forth. Days might be a stretch. Hours, perhaps, would be more accurate. Then, a girl at Chloe's school tweets something nasty about her, or Lily goes on a whining spree or asks me the same question for the seventh time in an hour, or somebody says something mean to Peyton, or Brad forgets AGAIN to read the daily page in Love Dare, which takes less than one minute. Well, the flood gates open. My church family would surely disown me if they got a glimpse of this crazy person. The venom, the anger, the meanness that comes out of me is frightening. Oh...wow...I'd been overlooking all of that? Okay, God, duly noted.

So now that all this nastiness is brought to light, what am I supposed to do, I ask God? Aren't you going to help me? I spent some time on Amazon. I googled "raving lunatic mad woman trying to follow jesus." Funny, paste that in the google search bar and click I'm feeling lucky. Guess what comes up? The Bible. I made that up; don't really try it. Anyway, I've read lots of passages in the Bible, but I've never actually set out to read the whole thing.

A few weeks ago, our pastor challenged us to read seven minutes a day for seven days. I did that and usually even read more. Not enough. So, I decided to read it in order starting with the Old Testament. Well, the Great Sabateur wasn't going for that. Day after day, I literally either fall asleep or sit here like Eve questioning everything I read. Okay, that's not literal, I don't even know if Eve read, but that devil creeps into my head raising my hackles: Why is okay for a "godly" man to pay a prostitute for sex? It's in there. Noah? Passed out drunk? The Bible can get dicey.

Additionally, I am not one for uncovering hidden meanings and interpretation and so forth. I have never liked poetry--except my childhood friend's, which is beautiful, rhyming, understandable poetry. It's all the metaphors and allusion and so forth. I usually say what I mean and prefer others do the same. I don't know if that's a flaw, but it's definitely an area for potential growth, so here I am jumping in with both feet.

A few weeks ago, my brother in law prophetically said to me, "I know you have a lot of questions, and I want you to know that you can ask me." John Ramsey, I hope you're ready for me.



4 comments:

  1. Boy, that brings back a memory!

    It was a blue, hard-bound Scofield Reference Bible, and I had managed to read it cover to cover. Bible College had been so full of Bible-based edicts: Read the newspaper every day, put on your makeup, exercise ... and here's the verse that backs that up. It was all too much for me. I decided to get back to basics.

    My big idea was this: to highlight every place where God specifically said, "Do this." Not "Well, that probably means I should read the paper," but "Do this." In trying to "get it right," I would start with the clear commands.

    And then we went to Atlanta to see some friends, and I lost the Bible. Before I even got to compile all the yellow highlighted passages, I lost the Bible. Before I came anywhere near getting a comprehensive list of the clear commands, I lost the Bible.

    A few years later, other friends reassessed what we'd been taught together at Bible College, suggesting that it was legalistic and demanding. I resisted, but remembering my project gave me some pause.

    I didn't come at it again. I still don't have a list. The one command I remember best ... to love one another ... may be about all I can keep up with anyway. I read the paper when I can.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, John Ramsey :)

    My dear Vickie, I just read this morning, and I'm pretty sure it was in Love Dare, but it may have been in Daily Guideposts: You only love God as much as you love the person you love the least. I'm thinking if you lose your Bible and only remember one thing you highlighted, love each other is a good one to remember.

    I read also, somewhere, that we don't need to memorize the Bible, just follow His commands. For instance, if I tell Lily, "Clean your room," and she says, "Mommy said, 'Clean your room.'" She missed the point. However, if she quietly goes upstairs and cleans her room, she got it. So, I cannot quote specific passages verbatim, nor am I attempting to memorize His words. But I am trying to do what He says.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "You only love God as much as you love the person you love the least." I'd like to skip over my deficiencies for a minute and show those words to people who spew hate while professing to love God.

      Memorization....I'd forgotten about that. Another one of those things proposed as a Must Do, when it really is no such thing.

      Trying to do what He says ... and you do it lovingly.

      Delete