I didn’t read my Bible this morning.
It’s not because I lost or misplaced it, because I can throw a rock and a hit a Bible in my house. #SuperChristian.
And it’s not because I’m in some kind of a tiff with God, though this quarantine has lasted a lot longer than I’d thought…
My routine, every morning, is to read the Word and write in my journal. A while ago, I decided to start in Genesis and read all the way through to Revelation. Currently, I’m in the Book of Lamentations, where we are lamenting Judah’s exile, and I’m lamenting the fact that I’m only in Lamentations.
At one point, I attempted to switch things up and try reading and writing at night. But then I remembered that I don’t like staying up late at night (read: 8:30p), so that didn’t last long. Mornings are my quiet times.
But this morning was different.
Come to think of it, a lot of things were different than usual.
For starters, I was wide awake at 4am texting Enneagram screenshots to my contact list. By 7, I was logged into work and by 8:30am, there was fresh apple bread baking in the oven because #covid19.
I would toot my own horn and say I also did an hour of Zumba, but I’m pretty sure the apple bread canceled that out.
It was a busy morning, but it was different.
I ate bread and I toned my biceps, but I didn’t read my Bible.
Why, pray tell?
Because somewhere along the way, in my eight years of following Jesus, I slowly turned a healthy relationship into an unhealthy counterfeit version riddled with rules and regulations.
“How would you live if you knew that God would love you forever?”
That was the question that was posed during online church yesterday.
I wouldn’t strive so hard.
Now at first glance, you may not see what the big deal is. I mean, why would we not strive when it comes to a relationship with Jesus?
And for some people, that is a valid question that deserves to be explored.
But for me, it’s pretty simple.
I strive hard because I’m afraid of disappointing God.
So my fail-safe? Reading and journaling every morning, all while silently asking “am I doing it right, Lord?”
I had stopped looking for a relationship and started looking for reassurance.
It didn’t used to be this way.
Starting out, I was excited to read and get to know the Lord through His Word.
Until it became routine.
It used to bother me when I would hear people say not to read the Bible as a way of “ticking off a box.”
It bothered me because 1. You don’t know my life, and B. I was really good at it. I figured that if I didn’t schedule it, it wouldn’t get done. And not getting it done? Who am I, a heathen?
And if I didn’t start my day the Jesus way? Well here’s to hoping I didn’t forget my umbrella, because the forecast was sure to be fire and brimstone raining all day.
If you don’t read your Bible, I guess that means you don’t love God after all.
THAT?! Whew child, that should have been a sign right there. Woof.
I’ve always been in the business of earning.
Earning my two degrees, that I do nothing with.
Earning my keep as a wife, with apple bread and clean dishes.
And earning my place in God’s good graces.
Well, now that’s the million dollar word.
One with which I’ve had such trouble wrapping my head around it.
And my lack of understanding is not only reflected in my spiritual life, but finds ways to seep into my personal relationships.
Grace is, by its Biblical definition, unmerited favor or divine assistance.
Unmerited, by its Google definition, is not deserved or adequately earned.
Adequately, by its def– oh wait, no, that’s it.
What I’m saying is that I have been trying to earn that which is un-earnable.
I’ve been trying to prove that I’m worthy to a God that has already deemed it so.
Am I saying that I’ll never read my Bible again? Hardly. I hear there’s a section called the “New Testament,” but I’ll have to see that for myself.
For now though, I’m praying that the Lord show me what He wants our relationship to look like, outside of my striving and earning.
I hope it includes more apple bread.