Friends,

There never seems to be enough time, does there?  Life is chaotic and messy, filled with so many things that seem urgent.  Many days, I feel like a worn out Stretch Armstrong (or, to appeasea my 3rd grade self, I could compare to my stretch Genie from Aladdin, minus the awful corn syrup smell) being pulled in too many directions at once.  Someone is always needing something from me–a juice box, a diaper change, to play Super Smashers, to wash the dishes, to solve some cheerleading drama, to turn in an assignment…the list could go on.  A year ago, all of the demands would have stressed me to the point of wanting to close myself in my room and punch pillows for an hour.  (I know I don’t seem like an aggressive person, but I did grow up with two brothers–you learn to throw a good punch or two).  But today, for the last few months, something is different.

I’m not sure when the shift started, but I began noticing it during the first few appointments with the perinatologist.  The entire pregnancy was stressful to the point that I didn’t even want most people to know I was pregnant.  I just felt like something was off: not that something was necessarily wrong, but just that things weren’t right.  But this stress, the same stress triggers that would normally set me off, didn’t affect my actions.  Sure, my thoughts were filled with worry and “what if” and potential solutions to hypothetical situations that *hopefully* wouldn’t occur.  But the outbursts, the inability to cope–they were gone.

Then I had the desire to join a bible study, and I thankfully found the 6 week online study through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It is week 2, and this week’s readings really spoke to me.

“We must not only read and study the bible, but also develop the habit of living out its message in our daily lives.”

I’d never figured out how to reveal God’s word in a way that felt applicable to my daily life.  Sure, as an English major, I can decode and analyze with the best of them, but that doesn’t make it meaningful on a personal level.  The basic commandments seem intuitive–don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill.  Essentially, be a good person.  But what about beyond that?  How do I become a servant of God rather than acting a certain way because I think that is what is expected of me?  TerKeurst suggests moving from theory to practical application by examining characteristics of biblical persons.

At my grandmother’s funeral last fall, the preacher compared her to Ruth–a faithful, generous woman.  As I listened to his stories about my grandmother, I wondered what others would say about me.  What biblical character am I most like?  And as I sit, reflecting on my reading, I also wonder what God would think of me–am I growing into the mold of the person he created me to be, or is he disappointed with my oozing imperfection, with my sins that I cannot erase?

This certainly got a little deeper than I intended, but isn’t that where substantial discussion comes from?  Peeling back the outer layer of superficiality and really addressing the tougher issues?

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