So, I am almost always "enrolled" in some Bible study. Right now I am linked to a group of local women (through Facebook) who are committed to doing Beth Moore's 70 day devotional, Whispers of Hope. I'm about twenty days behind.
And I have noticed a pattern developing as of late. I used to enroll in Bible studies and, even if good motives turned to impure motives (like, "By golly, I am going to finish the study if it KILLS me, because I am NOT walking into class without my homework finished!"), I would finish the study strong. But now, no matter how hard I TRY (and yes, I am intentionally emphasizing "try"), I can never finish a Bible study. This has been going on for at least a year. And it's taken me about that long to figure out why.
About a year ago I was in a study, of course, and remember saying that when the study was over I was not going to sign up for anymore studies because I felt like I just needed to read the Bible. No commentaries. No testimonies. No fluff. Just God's Word, alive and active, speaking loud and clear over all the noise, with no possible interference from even my most beloved and trusted teachers, like Beth or Max.
But, then I was afraid.
I feared that if I didn't have something to keep me "committed," then I wouldn't stay in the Word. So, I kept signing up. Only, ironically, I couldn't stay committed. Not to the studies anyway. I found myself, every time I actually did sit down for quiet time, just opening up the Bible. I was craving Jesus, but I didn't want to hear from him through someone else. I just wanted to hear from Him.
So, here I am again. In this 70 day commitment, totally not committed, but just now realizing it is okay. Not okay to drop commitments, and therefore, I will try to restrain myself from signing up for any more studies in the near future. But okay that I am craving Jesus. Just straight up Jesus. No additives. No ice. No stir stick. Just Jesus. The Living Water. I am thirsty and He is what I'm thirsty for.
And, without even realizing it, I have done the same thing with my girls. We used to try to read devos in the morn and then a Bible story out of one of their Bible story books at night. But now we just lie in bed, still and quiet, and I read a chapter straight out of the real Bible, in the dark, from my phone's Bible app. No storybooks. No devos. Straight up Jesus, straight through His spoken word, His light shining in the dark.
And tonight, one of the sweetest things happened. I finished reading chapter 4 of Proverbs and immediately went into prayer. When I finished, I turned to each of the girls and kissed their heads and E, my oldest, said, "I just about fell asleep." And G was so near sleep that she didn't stir, let alone speak. And I thought, "This is exactly as it should be, falling asleep in Jesus' arms."
It is refreshing, this new simplicity I've found. And I wonder, once again, why has it taken me so long to find it. To find Jesus? He says His yoke is easy, His burden is light. I think sometimes we just make it all too complicated. In the middle of our devotionals and classes and commentaries and trusty books, He is there. But He is still. And we are crazy in our search for Him. And He just asks us to be still. And the search is over. He is right there.