7.16.2013

WORD: my dark confession.

.
i hate reading the bible.

every time i go back and read that my fingers want SO BADLY to backspace it or retype it with some qualifiers or padding that make it [and me!] look a little better and not like such a dirty sintence.

but i wont untype it. because not typing it doesnt make it any less true, and what i really want is for it to not be true and i think talking about it publicly and getting it in the light can help (not talking about it for years sure hasnt).

i've been telling myself and jesus for a long time now, "i just dont love the bible--like as a book i'm supposed to read--but i TOTALLY still love god's word, i promise, okay?" 

um...wicka-wicka-WHAT?  

yes, it's loco. it's like saying i love judah, but not my firstborn son. not happening. #logicishard

***ED: i need to insert here that i am not talking about having problems with the actual translation,  authenticity, or history of the bible and how it was assembled or chosen or handed down and all that (i did at one point but not anymore), but i understand that can be a huge issue for lots of folks. that's not what i am dealing with right here. i completely accept as a part of my faith that the bible i have on my nightstand and in my phone app is god's word and the exact and complete and correct version of  the story he wants to tell me. that's what makes this even worse!***

recently jesus ever-so-gently shook me out of this stupid irrationalization and told me that in fact, i don't love his word and don't really care about what he has to say to me because if i did, i would read the bible; would WANT to read the bible. 

that was a sucky realization. but i think it's better than deluding myself.

even since realizing this, not much has changed. the closest i can get is wanting to want to read the bible. FRIG, that's still like 2 steps away from actually opening it and reading!

my M.O. for years--since becoming a christian at 21--has been that i got the message of jesus; his the cool, hippie-love, upside-down, kind of counter-culture message. that was what i would hang my spiritual hat on. i didnt so much need the bible and could do a better job of showing jesus to the world without it. (this is actually funny and absurd when i see it written, but this is really what goes on in my head!).

i tend to think, "weeeeeeeeeeeell , the bible is kind of a drag and has some weird-sounding joo-joo in it that really freaks people out,  probably best that i just tell them about how dope jesus is FIRST and then once they love him, they can find out about the confusing scrapbook he left behind, but i dont want it to harsh my mellow beforehand." (evangelical keight is kind of a stoner i guess?)

i saw (and still see!) myself like michael scott, trying to get the office all excited about beach day activities and make them seem cool. but then lame-nerd dwight gets over-excited and way too into it, and michael has to say, "okay, you know what?  your enthusiasm is turning everyone off!"

i just want to be like COOL IT, BIBLE! i'm trying to help us both out and your enthusiasm for mass slaughter, menstrual-restrictions, pastoral parables and LSD-like prophecy are totally tanking my game here! just shut up, sit on the bench, and let me handle this.

since i did and do love jesus, i convinced myself that this was okay, but the fruit of this behavior has sadly been an immature relationship with my king.

i dont know if it is a satanic attack, selective ADD, or sheer ineptitude on my part, but whenever anyone starts to read aloud from the bible, within like 8 words, my mind has glazed over and i am not hearing anything. it's really freaky. even when i say, "okay i am going to LISTEN this time" within seconds i am flatlining mentally and checked out.

or how sad/funny/bizarre is it when a friend is sharing what jesus is teaching them lately, and they are like, "this scripture is just WRECKING me right now," and then they recite or read it aloud and i'm like, "....woooooow. yeah. mmmmmm. powerful stuff?" because inside it's like, *crickets* and the words are just hitting the brick wall of my heart and could just as easily be a grocery list for all the impact they have on me. 

the god of the universe who hung the planets and sculpted me from the dirt left a magic book on earth as a way of talking specifically TO ME and my heart, where i am, in 2013, and my response? i kind of just cant be bothered to pay attention.

or maybe it's a faith thing. maybe i dont like reading the bible because i just dont really believe? i can at least pretend to love jesus if i am never confronted with things he said that i have problems with or that clearly go against how i live my life.

the bible i have is a study bible. it has all the notes and stuff on the bottom of every page. when i do force myself to crack it open, i always find myself lingering on the bottom half of the page, looking for a theologian or commentator to give me an explanation of something jesus or god or a prophet said. if i come across a verse that doesnt jive with my view of how god should act (like if he's not being the friendly, hippie jesus that i have created), i'm immediately looking for a note that has some translation options or cultural caveat that will get me off the hook for being in disagreement with god.

i am looking to other people, and my own meager understanding to whitewash or put spin on the word of god. to water it down so that it isnt offensive or confusing or even challenging to me. 

by not letting god himself--in his backward-seeming, mysterious, spit-and-mud-in-your-eyeballs and cut-the-tips-off-your-sons-penises kind of way--reveal HIS meaning for his word in my life, i am taking the magic out of the magic book. 

how many times have you heard someone say, "i had heard that verse a million times, but it didnt hit me until...XYZ?" god is so cool that he knew the moment the scribes put pen to papyrus two thousand years ago exactly which verses would come alive to our individual hearts at which times and even authored how they could seemingly lie dormant (though visible) on the page until it was time for them to speak for him to us.

so two days ago god told me to get a different bible. to stop being distracted by the study notes and to let HIM speak for him. to let his word on the page commune (i hate churchy words, but it's the correct vocab here) with the word he wrote on my heart with the holy spirit.

he told me that he can speak for himself, especially to my heart that he created, ransomed and redeemed. 

he told me not to be afraid of losing anything of my faith that was ever worth having. that his truth wont wash away the crazy-magic-earth-shattering-hippie-love parts of him that first drew me to the cross, that his truth focuses and grows and matures my understanding of who he really is. it tempers, refines, and distills the good and obliterates the impurities that my stupid, sinful, keight-serving worldview has infected my faith with.

this doesnt mean that i dont need to hear testimonies, do devotions or listen to sermons that further reveal  or teach or share god's word. it just means that i feel like god is telling me that i have looked to those things too much  for too long and that i am in need of getting back to the source material and making it my firm foundation.

so all that said, my confession is still true. i still dont like the bible. i dont feel like reading it. i wish that having jesus open up my eyes to this stuff was enough to make me read the whole freaking thing in one sitting, but i guess i just suck or something because it hasnt been. i believe what he has told me and that he is going to grow me in this way, but i am looking for some practical solutions, tools, or shared experience to help me get there. 

have you ever gone through a period of just kind of being "over" the bible (yes i feel like i'm about to get lightning smote just TYPING that!)? how did you deal? push through it a force yourself? pray? wait and hope?

what have you personally had success with in terms of becoming dependent upon the bible? of taking it from a "i'm supposed to" to a "i need to" or "i cant wait to" (that sounds so far fetched to me, btw!).



*i hope this wasnt offensive to anyone. i think if god can love me while i am running from his word, it should be okay for me to share this struggle with others. please dont hate or scold me for where i am right now, or if you need to, dont do it in the comments.*

oh and i am updating this after publishing to add one true qualifier. i first published this with the lead sentence saying "i hate the bible," and later was convicted that NO I DO NOT. jesus is the word made flesh so, while i have ignored fostering my relationship with him through the word for a long time now, i have NEVER hated his word. hopefully from this post you can tell that i dont actually hate the bible  itself, or wish it didnt exist. i was trying hard not to sugar-coat the truth of where i am and i think i accidentally arsenic-coated it instead. sorry about that!

.
.
.
.

27 comments:

  1. I love you and I get this- very much, A lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! my trap worked! some inquisitor get this heretic imposter off the field!

      Delete
    2. as if this is a NEWS FLASH. come on, girl. word is out.

      Delete
  2. Keight-
    I'm a long-time lurker here, but today, I need to to comment.
    You do not need to be scolded or judged for being honest and sharing your heart, nor do you need to apologize for your words. The way I see it, if you really didn't care AT ALL about reading the Word, you would not have been super vulnerable and poured your heart out to the Internet.
    I completely understand what you say when you write "this doesnt mean that i dont need to hear testimonies, do devotions or listen to sermons that further reveal or teach or share god's word. it just means that i feel like god is telling me that i have looked to those things too much and for too long and that i am in need of getting back to the source material." I think that we have gotten so caught up in our own stories of redemption and in talking about what the Lord has done that instead of preaching the Gospel, instead of sharing Truth, we share our stories- and it's not to say that Jesus isn't in those stories! It's that our story will not save anyone. Only the Gospel has the power to do that.
    I was raised in the church, became a Christian at 12 and it was JUST a few years ago- when I was about 21- that I developed a thirst for the Word. Like you, I just wasn't that into it. But what struck me was that I couldn't preach Christ without knowing Him, and I could only get to know Him through His Word. So I started praying for the Lord to give me a thirst, a desperate, yearning hunger for the Lord.
    While I struggle with the concept of God granting our every wish and desire, I would firmly and unequivocally encourage you to ask the Lord to give you a desire to read His Word, for in reading it, He is glorified and you are strengthened and refined into the picture of Christ He so wants you to be.
    Here's a practical solution for you: http://shereadstruth.com/ I've been doing their devos for almost a year now, and they are so good at stoking my thirst for the Word. Another thing: Find a friend, pick a book, and read through it with them. Every week, discuss the chapters that you've read. Being held accountable is a great way to encourage and further discipline.
    Lastly- keep praying, Keight. The Lord's heart towards you is immense, and just as He's given you a love for Him, He'll bless you with a love for the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kai, thank you so much for de lurking to bring such rad encouragement. i love how you put it that jesus is in our stories but the only thing with saving power is the gospel. thats such power!

      the funny, sad, sad, thing is that my bestie favorite friend, raechel, is one of the creators and main writers of shereadstruth. i think their ministry is AMAZING and have done several of the studies, but for some reason (probably my own insecurities) i have a hard time with it because it's made by friends (which is insane because these people minister to me all the time in other venues!)

      i WILL start praying for that hunger. honestly, i think i have been afraid to even WANT to read the bible, like i said in the post, for fear of reading something that scares me away from the "real" jesus. but i know in my heart that i have read enough that i DO know the real him and that cant be shaken, but that he wants me to know him MORE MORE MORE.

      thank you so much!

      Delete
  3. Jesse (not your husband)7/16/13, 1:12 PM

    I get this. I have very little interest in reading the Bible right now (aka for a while now). I'm in a "It's the Bible. I should read it all if I'm going to be a Christian." kind of phase. I'm following a Bible in a year schedule that has me reading through it in the order that the events happened. I started it about 2 years ago, and I am in Joshua, week 10 or so. So...yeah. I feel you.

    Had to drag myself through Leviticus and Numbers. Just read through a bunch of the genocidal sections in Joshua. Hard stuff. I'm using an NRSV study Bible where the commentators point out some of hard stuff and say "but that probably didn't really happen" and "of course, this image of God is offensive to our sense of justice, but the Hebrews were writing this in exile and trying to call the people to faithfulness." It makes some stuff easier to swallow but doesn't always have a completely satisfactory explanation.

    I'm all about struggling in public though. I appreciate your honesty and commend you. Let's struggle together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not my hubs-

      YES! EXACTLY! its like those "explanations" make me feel better but still feel a little cheap and weak.

      i would think that if you could do Lev and Numb then the rest would be like cake! oi.

      Delete
    2. phew, super glad he clarified he wasn't the guy sleeping in your bed.

      Delete
  4. Glad you said this! Sometimes I feel like being such an avid reader can sidetrack my Bible reading. The Bible can just seem... Well, you are far braver than I...I am unable to put it down in writing. My other bedside reading can just seem way more exciting. I really feel like I need to study the NT now that I am older. I used to think that trying to be a good person was all that I needed to do for Jesus, and this past year in Bible Study I really became aware that there were lots of instructions left by Jesus, and then Paul, and that being a Christian is not always intuitive. We live in such a specific and all consuming culture, promoting individualism and self-esteem. We as Christians should be trying to emulate the man with the least regard for his person who has ever lived. Humility and lack of self-"esteem" should be what I am trying to teach Sibby.... Anyways this has been on my mind a lot recently, thanks for your dark confession! Maybe, since you love accountability, You can have us read instead of exercise with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you for yet again being in my brain and saying my exact experience with more organized and concise words than i can.

      yes...those counter-intuitive commands are probably what scare me most. that, or your second point: having to give up my individualism and how much i esteem it!

      naturally you would say "let's read instead of exercising" :) ha! i actually think this is a great idea!

      Delete
  5. I've been wanting to try this book: http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Girls-Guide-Bible-Study/dp/1576838919/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2LL9HYOQ6X53V&coliid=I5K75X9X5TI7H

    Jen Hatmaker seems like a down-to-earth type Christian that makes it practical for every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are like the 5th person in my life that has pointed me to her! chickfriend is FUNNY too, and that always goes far with me.

      Delete
  6. I'm here to talk about hell-fire and damnation, because it will make me feel better to measure my own whacked-out, theologically flawed faith against yours :)

    However, I must first get this huge-ass plank out of my eye and then I'll be right back to pontificate on the subject...
    Blessings, Don

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh you wanna whip em out and measure em? mine's as long as a mustard seed!

      Delete
  7. I've been a lurker for a couple years and don't think I've ever commented, but I feel compelled to today. I found your blog through Raechel's blog and have always loved your frankness, honesty and humor. I so want to be your friend! :) (Please don't take that in a stalkerish type way...)

    I've been a Christian for years and am feeling VERY spiritually dry the past year or so. My family left a church I was a part of for 20+ years about a year ago and it did not end well and we are still dealing with the repercussions of that. I've been immensely hurt and discouraged through it - you would think one of the first things I would (should) do is run to God and His Word, right? Not so much.

    But your honesty and courage to lay it all out there in this post makes me thankful that I'm not a total weirdo who is the only one feeling this way. I'm not saying that because we should form a "we hate the Bible" group because misery loves company.....but I feel like you're opening a door for people to really deal with some things honestly that otherwise, they might not do. And not do anything about.

    Ok, I feel like I'm babbling. All I really wanted to say is thank you for writing this. You've encouraged me, honestly. And I'll be praying that both of us can thirst and desire His Word that He wrote for us.

    P.S. I have a 2 month old baby boy and we named him Judah....when we were pregnant, I read your blog one day and thought "Man, I love the name Judah!" and when I suggested it to my hubby, he was all for it! :) Thought you'd like to know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i am FLIPPING OUT about judah! thats so cool!!!! i LOVE how unique it is and the meaning and the history of it. when i am yelling trying to find him in the store (often) i am like, "people are thinking, 'what a cool name' i bet"

      yes! no misery or sin or whatever loves company, but just a "hey, is this a thing that happens in people's faith? can we talk about it and what helps bring us back?"

      thank you for prayers! i will be praying for you too.

      Delete
  8. Sister-in-trouble-with-the-law7/16/13, 2:56 PM

    The only Bible that I have ever truly loved was my child's illustrated bible. And I found even that to be frustrating because there weren't enough pictures of Revelations. More illustrations of the breaking of the seven seals, plx.

    I feel exactly the same way, and have for ages. Quotes from the Bible have always hit me as being just about as inspirational and moving as quotes from great literature; when used briefly and appropriately within the moment, solid and relevant. Any other time? Snore. And I sure as heck don't feel like reading or memorizing big chunks of the Bible, any more than I feel like reading and memorizing a stack of Shakespearean sonnets on any given day of the week (other than as a party trick and let's face it, quoting Shakespeare will net you only about 50% of the bored eyerolls that reciting a chunk of Deuteronomy might provoke).

    Heck, I'll see your dark confession and raise you one - as modern Christians, where does the church get off telling us that we have less of a right than Mister Sir The King James to make decisions about what is and isn't relevant to our lives from the Bible these days? The texts that have been passed down to us have been translated, altered, re-shuffled, and re-interpreted (book of Jubilees, anyone?); chunks of it have been lost, burned, removed, redacted, and meanings have been worn down and smoothed off by the passage of centuries. We trust and believe that the parts that have made it down to us today are meant to have gotten here, but let's face it - the parts that we have are incomplete! The minds of men decided what would be in the modern bible, and we trust that these men were working on the behalf of God - but who is to say that God doesn't want the Bible to keep changing? Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUUN!

    So there we go, an even bigger heretical statement from the comments. I'm ready for my thumb-screws and red-hot pokers now, Mister DeMille.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ME ME, i have the first stone!!! thanks for this, lady. as much as i have made peace with a lot of those qualms, i do think they are 100% legit and that god can and does speak outside and in addition to of whats between the imitation-leather covers. but i do think i have a better chance of hearing those things when the stuff that HAS lasted sinks in. xo!

      Delete
    2. Stoner-in-law7/16/13, 3:37 PM

      But confessing everything, it's like the stone's coming down on me!

      And you're right, but I'm still not planning to memorize the genealogies (speaking of party tricks that only work at very specific types of parties) any time soon. I know they're there for a reason, but it feels like the extra-long justification background for an OP character in a fanfic... Holy crow, Jesus was a Gary Stu! (I really am going to get zapped for writing stuff like this...)

      Dang, I kind of do want to see my illustrated Bible again, though. That thing was dope.

      Delete
  9. Mainly I just want to say, thanks for having the courage to say out loud and in much less gilded, socially accepted language what I think most of us struggle with (or at least have at some point). I've been in the same boat as you for years. I actually went to SCHOOL for the Bible (I literally have a minor in Biblical & Theological Studies), and I even took two semesters of Greek so I could understand all the original language stuff and I also spent seasons of my life being super personally inspired and enriched by the Bible....but today, and for years now, I still look at it and most of the time just don't know where to start. It feels like this impenetrable wall of words that at best I can just take in, but definitely can't digest without help from other humans' interpretations, stories, and the like. Every now and then God does something awesome through it (like give me the name of a future daughter who I am now growing), but that's absolutely the exception and not the rule. So I guess all I really want to say is...I'm right there with you. And if any sort of new ideas come to you about how to grow in this, how to get past the want-to-want-to-read-it, I'll be first in line to get in that boat with you and do it together.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Mainly I just want to say, thanks for having the courage to say out loud and in much less gilded, socially accepted language what I think most of us struggle with (or at least have at some point). I've been in the same boat as you for years. I actually went to SCHOOL for the Bible (I literally have a minor in Biblical & Theological Studies), and I even took two semesters of Greek so I could understand all the original language stuff and I also spent seasons of my life being super personally inspired and enriched by the Bible....but today, and for years now, I still look at it and most of the time just don't know where to start. It feels like this impenetrable wall of words that at best I can just take in, but definitely can't digest without help from other humans' interpretations, stories, and the like. Every now and then God does something awesome through it (like give me the name of a future daughter who I am now growing), but that's absolutely the exception and not the rule. So I guess all I really want to say is...I'm right there with you. And if any sort of new ideas come to you about how to grow in this, how to get past the want-to-want-to-read-it, I'll be first in line to get in that boat with you and do it together.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Uuuuugggghhhhh.....WHY did you have to write this and convict me even further than I already am?!? Me and a group of girlfriends just finished the Unglued Bible Study by Lysa Teurkurst. While I loved it and found it helpful in most ways, you want to know what her best weapon for not coming unlued is? Memorizing scripture. I literally rolled my eyes when I saw that she recommended knowing the Bible inside and out because, HEY! Who doesn't have time to imprint a 9 million page book about all kinds of "unrelevant" stuff on our brains?!? Every time I hear someone quote Phillippians 4:6, John 3:16 and anything in Romans I kinda want to gouge my eyes out and tell them that the next time they share their memory verse, they should at least find one that every other Christian in the world hasn't memorized. Which makes me feel like a terrible person, but it's the truth about my ugly insides. Thank you God for redeeming Grace. I fully believe that everything in the Bible is Truth and God's Word.....I just don't want to read it. I think it's partly Satan because everytime I pick it up, something more exciting comes on TV or a better book shows up on my night stand. But it's also my own selfishness.....my lack of DESIRE to do anything harder than I have to... my knowledge that since I KNOW the Bible is true, I also know God will save me from the depths of hell for not reading it because the Bible itself says that Jesus died for our sins and God has never-ending grace! Don't get too close to me--you might get buzzed from my lightening strike that I'm expecting any day now. I've been convicted of this for the last several months. And have yet to do anything about it. So I will take comfort in the fact that I'm not alone and start praying for the desire to WANT to read the Bible. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  12. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! More comments later, but just needed to say this now!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! More comments later, but just needed to say this now!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Keight, two things #1. your blog is therepy for me. seriously. #2 Pick a verse that speaks to some area you feel out of control in your life. Mine is fear and worry. Every time you worry or fear or whatever you picked, just say that verse over and over again in your head. You don't even have to believe its going to "work". Just do it. Say it again and again, like a hundred times. And you will find that those words will calm and deal with that issue. Thats how God's word became like breath and bread for me. Thanks for your honesty, and I believe we all struggle with this.
    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have a feeling there is also a lot of pressure being married to a minister as well? Well, if there is.. I'm in the same boat sister!
    I know the stories, I know the truth... I just have a hard time motivating myself to read.
    I like to believe its a little like having sex after you have a child.... 6 weeks hits and you know that the hubby is ready, but you simply are not! You have had this long of time without it and doing fine.... Sometimes it just takes giving in and doing it to remember how great it is and how much you enjoy it. ( am I stretching here!?!)
    I find that the more I am in it, the more hungry for it I become.... sometimes God just requires obedience.
    It is a very hard place to be.... I love any Beth Moore studies as I like details.... and by golly if anyone can get you interested in that stuff it's her!!! Recommend Daniel as well as her Revelation studies... both books alone are so confusing and so incredibly interesting all at the same time, but Beth is amazing at making YOU break them down for yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm in the same place. I think all the time "man, I should/NEED to read my bible"...but guess what? I don't. Maybe we should form a support group for this. I feel like I would be way more motivated if I had some accountability (accountability to God SHOULD be enough but again...it's not).

    ReplyDelete