Pardon the missing post yesterday. I was a busy bee trying to prepare for the Covenant kick-off last night and now the Isaiah part 1 kick-off this morning.
Last night’s group was sweet and had a large sprinkling of some new faces in the group. I expect the same this morning.
Kicking off a new study is always invigorating to me whether I’m the leader or the student. New notebooks, new pens, new paper, new lessons, new friends….it’s downright refreshing. Then, when the newness wears off it’s really easy for the time invested in studying the Bible to fall by the wayside.
Kay Arthur calls this an attack of the enemy, aka the devil. She says there are four deadly d’s when it comes to beginning a study and persevering. I’m a bit too pooped to get up and grab that handout just now. So, allow me to share some of the things that have affected me in the past regarding sticking with a Bible study (corporately or solo). These are not in a specific order, fyi.
- Do it all or not at all. This happens when you realize it’s the day before the group meets and you have done none of the lesson and wonder where the time has gone. If you don’t do any of it, you feel unworthy to show up and be part of the group. You either go and keep your book close to your chest so no one can see your lack of spirituality or you “get sick” and can’t come that day. Eventually, if this keeps up you drop out.
- The comparison trap. You show up but notice that your answers don’t feel up all the blank space on the paper like the other gals at the table and you immediately feel condemned. This keeps you from wanting to show back up because you feel a bit simple-minded.
- I’m not sure of the answer so I am not going to participate in the discussion. That explains itself.
- I would rather do anything than this so I’ll drop out. Usually this is because you have not kept up, not connected with the others in the group, or you find reading the Bible boring.
Now, here are my tips to prevent such thoughts, habits, actions, from consuming you and causing you to throw in the towel on Bible study.
- Pray. Jot down a list of things that pertain to you and this study. Why are you studying? What do you hope to accomplish? What are your motives? Ask God for clarity, for time to study, for discernment in what you are reading in the Bible.
- Be patient with yourself. Take baby steps if studying the Bible is new or if you have much going on in your family that takes you away from the time you’d hope to spend in the Word. Do what you can whether you show up with a completed lesson or not.
- Persevere to finish the study. By hanging in there, you’ll still learn more than when you began. Don’t be an all or nothing person. Do the best you can but at least finish the study til the last day you meet even if all you can do is just show up for the discussion.
- Show up. Don’t fall into the excuse trap. Show up. Make the weekly time a priority on your calendar.
- Make friends. By connecting with the group members, you feel a bond that keeps you wanting to come back and share what God is teaching you and hear what He’s teaching them.
- Pray for those in the group. This is a vital way to connect and get to know the members in the group.
- Ask for help. If you struggle with the lesson method or the topic, ask your leader or a friend in the group for help and clarification of instructions or what the Bible is saying. Again, patience with yourself is important.
Well, those are just a few suggestions. I hope they encourage you to not fall off the Bible study wagon. Find one. Engage in it. Hang with it. Live it out.