(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on January 28, 2019. You can find it here.)
Go-getter. Independent. Fearless. Capable. In the American economy, these are titles worth striving for, and strive we do. We strive until our peace is shot-through with bullet holes, our families have learned to function without us, and our souls are withered and whimpering. “Arm yourselves!” is the new battle cry of the republic, and much of the church rushes to answer.
Ah, London. So thick with culture, so marked by time. Even the skyline is dominated by the constant ticking away of life as Big Ben pushes ever onward. For a girl who has a love-hate relationship with to-do lists (fluctuating back and forth between productivity and procrastination), the clock seems like either a dependable ally or a big fat bully, depending on the day.* Believe it or not, the gospel comes to bear on our daily rhythms and how we navigate them.
Bible study. What image springs to mind when you think about those two words? Maybe a video teacher with fabulous hair? Or monks huddled over stacks of Scripture? A group of women from your church who come away with more gossip than grace? That heavenly star chart with too many empty boxes next to your name?
I’d like to create a very different scenario for you. Imagine Bible study being your longed-for escape from dry and tired and self-sufficient living. It’s rhythmic and freeing, a bastion of peace that you can count on to remind you of the truth your heart desperately needs. Those closest to you appreciate your study time because it transforms your attitude from frazzled to faith-filled. Instead of a spiritual to-do, it becomes an organic relationship in which you are fully known and fully loved.
We had a bit of a family health scare this fall when my father-in-law was rushed to the hospital. (This is no measly man, either, people—he’s a big-boned firefighter with a fondness for Harleys and construction work.) The culprit? Dehydration. No matter how strong or fit we may be, our bodies need water to survive, and so do our souls.
When homes and bodies are given makeover plans, you can bet your biscuits it’s January again. Eyes sparkle with high hopes as we ready ourselves for something new, something fresh. The brisk chill outside fuels warm connections inside over a spicy chai, and we share our lists of what we’d love to improve in and around us. Making space for whatever it is God has next for us is a beautiful thing. So cast off the past year’s grave clothes and put on your dancing shoes: greater things are still to come.
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
Being the last kid picked for dodgeball is the worst. Well, maybe not: it’s rivaled by looking around the cafeteria and not finding anyone who wants to sit with you. Or realizing you weren’t invited to the birthday party. Or sitting by yourself on the bus.