Skip to main content

Unstuck, Part 2b

Yesterday I advocated switching up what you're reading if you find yourself spiritually stuck.  I was particularly referencing books about faith, Christian living, etc.  Today's post is about switching up what you're reading in the Bible.

When I first fell in love with reading the Bible, I read the book of Philippians.  And it's been my favorite ever since.  Philippians was understandable, accessible, and it helped me begin re-orienting my life.  Verses from Philippians pop in my head easily and often, and I can recite whole chunks to you.  I can even do a little of it in Greek.  If I just read whatever  I wanted in the Bible, then I would read the book of Philippians several times a year.  

I'm okay with re-reading Philippians every year or so.  But that cannot be the entirety of my Bible reading.  If I only read Philippians, then I will be stuck.

So, here are a few approaches that have helped me.  No, I'm not advocating a read-through-the Bible plan.  My husband can do that, and does do that, regularly.  It works for him.  It doesn't really work for me.

About this time last year, I read the book of Hebrews.  (I've done this with other books, too.)  I wasn't very familiar with the book.  I hadn't learned much about it in seminary.  I needed a challenge, something new, to get me unstuck.  It now rivals Philippians as my favorite book.  I go back to it regularly to re-read passages that are now foundational for my life as a Christ follower.  

Early in my endeavor to read Hebrews, I was puzzled by the Christology (the theology of who Jesus was) in this letter.  So, I did some research.  I'm not talking about reading the footnotes in the Bible kind of research; I'm talking about some serious digging in commentaries and academic texts.  And it was fascinating, and it got me unstuck.  I didn't camp out in the commentaries and read them cover-to-cover (like my husband does), but spending time in significant research was what I needed to do to love God with all my mind.

The other approach to the Bible that has been huge for me in the last year or two is word and phrase studies.  I'll get captivated by a word like "incarnation" or "remember" or a phrase like "with you," and I'll go on a hunt.  I'll look for where the word and/or idea shows up elsewhere in Scripture.  I look up lots of references and make lots of notes.  Then I attempt to consolidate what I've learned, often in a poem.  Last week I went on a journey through the idea that God was "with us," God is "with us," and God will be "with us."  I took some other people on the journey with me.  (You can see the sermon at  Personal study like that sucks me in, captivates my mind, and eats up my time without my even knowing it.  I'm absolutely NOT stuck when I'm doing a study like that.

So, switch up what you're reading.  Try something new.  Tackle a new book of the Bible, one that may require a little research.  Try a different approach to reading the Bible.  


Popular posts from this blog

A Response to Charlottesville

Visiting our nation’s capital is an easy day trip for us, and how I chose to spend a precious vacation day this week.  I took pride in explaining the buildings and icons of my country to my children.  I am proud to be an American.  

But today, I am not proud.  
Today, I weep.

Four days ago, I saw the beautiful, infamous words “We the People” with my own eyes for the first time.  
Four days later, I am reminded of how far we still have to go to fully live into those words:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What has happened 63 miles from my home, in Jefferson’s beautifully-domed, colonnaded city, is far from perfect, just, or tranquil.
This is not what our founding fathers wanted for our country, nor is …

A Message to Graduates

I have been a Pastor to Students (The title has changed numerous times; the role remains.) in Powhatan, Virginia for roughly 12 years.  I daresay I've been ministering to teenagers in this community longer than many.

Over the last dozen years, I've gotten lots of cool opportunities to minister to teenagers in this area.   But one had always eluded me--speaking at a baccalaureate service.  My husband had done the honors.  Other great pastors in the area had as well.  Once, I'd offered the closing prayer.  

This week, that changed.  I had the distinct honor to share with the PHS Class of 2016 at their baccalaureate service.  It was a wonderful experience working with great students, parents, and school leaders.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity!!!

A few people missed it and have asked to see what I said, so here it is, ALL of it:

June 1999 I sat in this space for my Baccalaureate service.  Before I was a pastor at PCC, before I moved back to Powhatan to raise my family, …

Disillusionment of Adulthood

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I must confess to disillusionment.  Growing up, I had ideas of what adulthood would be like.  I’m here, and it’s not entirely what I’d imagined.
For starters, I remember growing up amidst all the drama that comes with, well, growing up.  The gossip.  The hurt feelings.  The misunderstandings.  The fights between friends.  The back-stabbing.  And I remember being told that it would get better.  I’m not sure who told me that, but they were clearly wrong.
The drama may look a little different.  The words may sound a little different.  But the anguish of relationships remains.
Adults hurt each other’s feelings—intentionally and unintentionally. Adults nitpick and cause fights over inconsequential issues. Adults gossip. Adults cry, scream, and pitch fits. Adults build relational alliances, competing in “us vs. them” relational war. Adults let issues build and exponentially swell until they explode. Adults rarely identify the actual issue instead of the presenting issue. Adul…