I was attacked by a Ninja this week. Seriously! A Ninja’s razor-sharp blade landed me in the emergency room Monday night.
Well, actually, I cut my hand on my Ninja blender blade while I was washing it, but I did get five stitches in my left thumb. It just sounds cooler to tell people I injured myself doing combat with a Ninja than to say, “I hurt myself washing dishes.”
Both statements are mostly true, it’s just one is a little more true than the other.
I consider myself to be an honest person, but, if pressed, I would have to say sometimes my truth is a little truer than it is at others. I’m not a liar, but sometimes I reorganize the facts to fit my point of view or I delete the ones that make me uncomfortable.
Here’s an example. Last year I joined a group of friends to read the Bible through in a year. You can read about it here. I just read that post again for the first time since I published it and I’m cringing all over myself. I know what you don’t. I know the rest of the story. After all my declarations and aspirations, I made it to Deuteronomy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with its layout, that’s the fifth of the sixty-six books that make up the Bible. The reason you don’t know about my progress or lack thereof is I didn’t tell you. Or my accountability group. I didn’t lie and say I was reading when I wasn’t, I just quit saying.
On my bookshelves, I have one shelf packed with partially finished Beth Moore Bible study workbooks. Right below that is a shelf of journals, not one of which has writing on every page. Most have only a handful of used pages. Under the guest room bed is an exercise glider that I’ve used exactly once. I’m very good at not finishing what I’ve started.
But this year, instead of beating myself up and making myself start all over at the very beginning like I usually do, I picked up my Bible and started reading in Deuteronomy. And this time, I actually finished that book…..Just in time for my friend Amber to start a group Bible study on the next book in the Bible, Joshua. I gave myself a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t do this study. All I had to do was look at my shelf of unfinished journals and workbooks and to remember the last study Amber did on the book of Daniel that I barely even started, much less finished.
There I sat, in the crack between Deuteronomy and Joshua. If past events are truly our best indicators of future behavior, I had no good reason to ask to be part of the Joshua study.
And yet, here I am.
Consequently, I don’t have a very good answer for the first question from our homework for week’s one: What made you decide to join this adventure? Maybe I joined because I’ve missed the community of friendship the blog world offers me. Or maybe, like my friend Kellie I have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out disesase). Perhaps my answer to the first question is in a way connected to my answer to the second question from our homework:
In what ways have you found God to be faithful recently?
You see, although I’m not always faithful to do what I say I’m going to do, thankfully, I have a Father who always does what He says. Though I have a very hard time finishing what I start, my God, who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete what He started (Philippians 1:6).
Last year, I struggled. My faith, which had always been like my favorite pair of broken-in, most familiar pair of jeans, suddenly didn’t seem to fit anymore. I asked a lot of questions and looked many places for answers. For awhile, I quit asking and ran away from anything that felt like a deep thought. I arranged and rearranged what I believed to be true. Through this process, I think I am changed in many ways, but one thing has remained constant: God was faithful. He didn’t change.
As a family, we are reading The Jesus Storybook Bible again. (Which if you don’t own, why not?) This is going to sound so blatantly obvious I hesitate to even bring it to your attention, but as we were reading the first chapter, I was struck by something I don’t think I’d realized. The author explains in the first few pages that the Bible is not a book of stories about superhero Bible people, it’s HIS story. It hit me all at once: This is why the Bible is just as relevant to me in 2011 as it was to the patriarchs who were living out the chapters of Genesis! And believe me, after reading the book of Genesis every single time I restart my Bible reading program, I am well-aquainted with those Genesis characters! The people and places and cultures have changed, but God has not.
I may have changed, but He hasn’t. I have been unfaithful, but He never has.
Although I’m usually attracted to the clean state; the empty,white page; the first page of the first chapter and the shiny, brand new year with its new resolutions and chances to start over, this year I’m excited about the chance to move forward from where I am. Sometimes it’s good to be able to begin fresh, but sometimes it’s good to start where you are. No backtracking, just an honest appraisal of where you’ve been and where you are with your eyes focused forward.
I’m sure I’ll repeat many of the same mistakes this year. Prone to wander, Lord, do I ever feel it, but instead of a do-over, I can reflect back on the hard-earned ground I’ve gained to get this point and start from right here and now, looking to my God to teach me how to live my life truthfully….and faithfully.