I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a new year that inspires us to make the changes we’d been talking about for the past eleven months. Some resolutions stick, but most do not. Visit any gym on January 1st, then again February 1st and you’ll see exactly what I mean 😉 . But some goals are worth fighting for. This is one of them.
On the first Sunday of the new year, I was seated in church with my Pack and the message shook me. Shook me awake, and shifted my mindset. I can’t really explain the lightbulb that suddenly illuminated, but it was real, and it was life-changing.
Months had gone by since I’d taken any uninterrupted, distraction-free time with God. Sure, you could say I had an excuse with a new baby, but it was more than that. For me, it was a manifestation of a heart that was hardening and going it alone. I found myself thinking I had actually “forgotten” how to talk to God or read his Word. I’d basically given up.
“Reset” is the word our pastor, Jake Taylor, pierced my heart with that Sunday morning. It wasn’t too late to make a change. It wasn’t too late to press the reset button. I heard it said once that you never really notice the moment you fall asleep, but when you wake up you’re able to recognize you’d, in fact, been asleep all along.
So wake up! Join me. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s hit that reset button. Your life is about to change.
The first few times I opened my Bible this year, it felt unfamiliar and awkward. I found myself turning to scripture that had spoken to my heart in the past and trying to make sense of my old notes. While it was a good effort, I wanted more. I wanted something real. One morning, while Harley was napping, I was sitting on my couch staring down at my closed Bible and found myself praying, “Lord, help me.” Another lightbulb clicked on. I went and dug out an old notebook and created an inspired study system. That morning was the first time in a long time that the Word of God came ALIVE for me. I’m calling it “Read and Respond,” and I hope it does for you what it has for me.
The first step is simple. Read. 🙂 If you don’t know where to start, try Romans 12.
I read aloud until I felt my heart stir. For me, this started at verse 9 and continued through verse 16 where I felt a sense of finality. I read these 8 verses a few times, not yet trying to make too much sense of things, but instead just giving my heart the freedom to feel. I then copied the verses, word for word, onto the left pages of my notebook under the title “READ.”
I then wrote “RESPOND” atop the right side of my notebook. Referencing the verses again, I broke them into smaller sections based on how my heart and mind were responding. As you can see, I numbered the scripture sections, then numbered my response so they tied together. What I found inspiring was the fact that my responses to the 8 verses spanned across multiple areas of my life and consisted of everything from prayers to thoughts, ideas, and quotes. I let my mind jump all over the place, but with my system, it remained in a state of organized chaos.
I hit the reset button that Sunday morning, went through a bit of a “reboot,” and have come alive again. Though simple, this system is just what I needed to remind myself how to talk to and hear from God.
Whether you are looking to change the way you study the Word or you haven’t picked up your Bible in weeks, months, years –even if this will be your very first time– I hope this inspires you and facilitates the change I have experienced in my own heart.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I’m happy to help.
Let me know how this works for you!