Those are not words which I voice easily. While I may outwardly appear frustrated in the moments, when it comes to the long haul, if you tell me it can’t be done, I just might prove a bit stubborn in my attempts to prove you wrong.
So to make a commitment and then find myself backing away from it is beyond frustrating to me. Was I missing something? Did I just need to be more disciplined? Was I allowing Satan to sway me from a good thing? After all, how can reading large portions of the Bible be anything but healthful for my soul?
Yet in the midst of my frustration, I had to wonder if I was merely attempting to force through a wall where I thought a door should be.
Earlier this month, I made a commitment to the 40-Day Lent Challenge of reading through the entire New Testament, seven chapters daily, over the course of forty days. I even invited all of you to join me. So to think that I am bailing on you now makes me feel somehow less than I should. But the truth is, what I thought would be stimulating in my devotional time with God has actually seemed to stunt my spiritual vitality. By taking the challenge to step back and look at the “broad picture,” I’ve been forcing myself into something that I’m not.
So I had to ask myself an honest question: Was I missing God in trying to find a new way of knowing Him?
While I am all for attempting new things, there’s wisdom in knowing what does and does not work for me. Kind of like wearing skinny jeans. My young and petite daughters can pull it off, but these aged thighs look much nicer in “flair” legs. But I digress.
An encouragement with the 40-Day Challenge was to “read for breadth” and see “the big picture of Scripture.” For one who is prone to “bunny-trailing” through the Word while scouring concordances and lexicons, I felt confined by the largeness of the challenge itself. By “making room,” I was crowding out the voice that speaks to me through specifics much more clearly than it does through generalizations. While attempting to adapt my study time to take in the broad picture, I found myself actually missing out on what mattered most – growing closer to Jesus and noticing Him in the little things that speak so loudly to my soul. Allowing time for my mind to drift from chapter to book to verse to word, examining the minute truths hidden within the largeness, is where my own heart is enlarged.
If you have accepted the 40-Day Lent Challenge, then I pray you will grow and be encouraged by meeting your Savior in this new way. But as for me, I think I’ll hang out with Him in my old study habits, at least for now. And I pray I will continue to grow and be challenged as I focus on this sacred time of Lent while I “give up” and return to walking the ancient paths. As we set our faces and our hearts toward this Lenten journey that leads to Jerusalem, may we do so with hearts bent on experiencing the wonder of His grace given – in ways as unique as each of us.
If you have taken the #Lent Challenge, please share what you have learned in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!