I have never participated in a Bible study group. I guess I wasn't exactly sure what it entailed. I didn't realize that there are all kinds of curriculum and books covering various topics that you read and discuss life circumstances and how you can apply the teachings of the Bible to your life. I think that I literally thought you got together and studied passages from the Bible. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit that or not.
I have friends who regularly participate in Bible study groups, but I was never really all that interested because whenever I have tried to read my Bible, it's been short lived. I have tried really hard on a few occasions, but the terminology and the small writing just kind of wears me out. I really want to have a better understanding of the Bible passages, but I felt like there was something wrong with me since I didn't feel like I could sit and read through things with a good understanding. It wasn't until a conversation with my neighbor last week that I even realized there were different versions of the Bible and that I could get one that is written in more simple to comprehend language, with the actual verses written to the side.
Anyway, this neighbor was telling me how she wasn't that into the current book they were reading in Bible study. I asked her if there was a Bible study she had done that she really liked and she handed me the book Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl. After flipping through it, I asked her if I could borrow it and I added it to my list. It was a pretty quick read. The author is Lysa TerKeurst. She is the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I really enjoyed her style of writing. I could relate to pretty much everything she wrote about in the book.
There were two parts of the book, in particular, that I felt I could relate to. The first talked about how not to let yourself fall into a downward spiral of self doubt and inadequacy if you fail at any particular task in your day. This is definitely something that I struggle with. I have a hard time when I fail at something (which of course, happens quite frequently, as I'm sure it does for everyone) not letting my mind wander to ALL the other things I feel I have failed at. Before I know it my mood changes, my self esteem plummets and I feel like I'm a failure at my life. I appreciated reading ways to look at situations for what they are and not to treat them as a catalyst for a bad and frustrating day. I have mentioned it on here before, but this whole topic was really the main reason that I started this blog. I wanted to be able to stop judging my self worth by the things I DIDN'T accomplish during a day and start focusing on the things I DID accomplish, and the things I did do right, and the nice way I treated my husband, and the fun things I did with my son and the things I taught my son. I have to say that most days this is working! I still have times when I feel overwhelmed and I still have days where I feel like I can't do anything right and can't get anything done, but I'm learning different ways to cope with those feelings of inadequacy and move on and have a more positive outlook.
There is also a chapter in the book titled "But I Want What She Has." I try very hard to NOT have the grass must be greener attitude in my life, but to be truthful, I have to work very hard at it. I have those kinds of thoughts a lot and I need to have a discussion with myself about why I would rather have my life than anyone else's or my personality traits compared to anyone else's. I feel like I have gotten a lot better in this arena over the past several years, but this is something that I still struggle with at times. I loved the way that Lysa wrote this chapter. It was very relatable and gave me a good message to repeat to myself when needed. Here is a quote from the book: "Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else's circumstances, I often remind myself out loud 'I am not equipped to handle what they have - both good and bad.'"
I feel like this message is soooo true. I am definitely one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason, even though you aren't going to know what that reason is right away. Sometimes it takes years to look back on an incident and realize that it put you on the path to where you are today, and suddenly you are grateful for the experience because even though it was terrible at the time, you wouldn't be where you are, or with the people that you are today without it having happened.
I need to be better about realizing that the things that occur in MY life are preparing me to handle the good and bad things that are yet to come in MY life. My life experiences do not prepare me to handle anyone else's life, but my own. Good and bad. There are still things that have happened in my life that I don't feel like I can look back on and say "Wow! Looking back, I'm really glad that happened!" and to be honest, even though I believe that everything happens for a reason, I'm not sure I'll ever get to a point where I can look back and find the good in some things, but I guess all I can do is try.
Until I read this book, I had not figured out what my daily resolution for June was going to be. Each month so far, I've had one resolution that needed to be carried out each day for the month. In January I gave up Coke, February I gave up baked goods and bread with dinner, March I gave up fast food, April I gave up Starbucks and May I walked the dogs every day. But for June... I hadn't decided what I was going to do until I read this book. Now I know that I would like to try and do a daily devotional every day of the month. I think that the quiet reflective time will help keep me centered during my day.