Word: Preparing a Place

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.

If Bible study has never made its way into this category of your life, welcome to the new world! January is a natural choice for turning over a new leaf, even the gold-edged kind with scarlet letters. Oh, friends, what excitement awaits you! There are promises and poetry and stories to fill a library crammed between those leather covers (or between the phone’s backlight and protective glass). God has been waiting for you to discover Him here. Are you ready? Don’t worry—we’ll take baby steps. If they worked for Bob Wiley, they’ll work for us.

This process begins with creating space. You might prefer to use your office desk if it’s already set up for productivity and you like a lot of room to spread out when you work. If you don’t have a desk or just want a separate area for your study time, identify a spot that can most easily and effectively do the trick. Aim for an environment that is free from distraction, one that refreshes you just picturing it. Think inviting. Because I love the natural lighting that filters through my windows, a corner of the basement might not be my best bet. Well-lit, clear of clutter, removed from the hustle and bustle of family activity. Your space doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be roomy enough to stave off claustrophobia.

Once you’ve decided on your location, you may have to rearrange a bit. Put on some peppy music and set up a desk or a card table draped in fabric. Find a comfy chair you love and a great desk lamp. For some extra happy, add a candle, some twinkle lights, a vase of flowers, and a wax burner with your favorite scent. Feel free to hang a cork board with meaningful verses or a calming piece of art over your space to personalize it even more. If there’s necessary clutter in view, hang a curtain or find a pretty room divider to block out the visual noise.

When you step back from your area, I want the sight of it to thrill and comfort you. Life is too short to study in a place that drains your soul. Make your time with Jesus a treat that you look forward to. As a side note, let your family know that this nook is special and private—you don’t want to sit down and find a bunch of legos, unpaid bills, and trash all over your spiritual well. That does not a pretty picture make.

If you’re sensing some emotional pushback, engage it gently but firmly. You don’t have enough room for this. I make room for what’s important to me. You don’t have enough time for this. I make time for what’s important to me. You’ll fail. Of course I will—and then I’ll try again and again and again, relying on Jesus’ perfect record and responding to His love. Failure doesn’t destroy nearly as much as fear does.

Whatever your internal conversation needs to look like, have it.

Jesus is keeping His promise to prepare a place for us at this very minute, and we’re being offered the invitation to prepare a place for Him in the meantime. Our King was born in a manger and had no place to lay His head as an adult. He’s been homeless on our behalf long enough. Let’s move forward with baby steps as we prepare Him room. Behold our God, making His home with us!

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