When I love something I talk about it, as everyone knows from my numerous admonitions to read the Kisses from Katie book. That hasn't abated so... guess what??? READ THE KISSES FROM KATIE BOOK.... Ha!
Seriously, my mouth is almost always open, even when I'm not enthused about something that I just have to tell everyone about. Maybe especially when I am not enthused about something... And when words are tumbling out of my mouth, they usually spill over into print.
So I have to say that right now I have fallen in love.... with a workbook, of all things. (And, no, retirement is not getting to me although I have started talking to the birds at our feeder and the snake who sometimes hangs out near our porch. By the way, I don't say the same things to the snake as I do to the birds, in case you are wondering...)
Okay, trying for seriously again...
I'm doing the workbook study by Kay Arthur called Covenant God. The Bible study method used is good but I'm not a Precepts person. I'm more of a "Let's do this in 20 min. a day or, if necessary, in an hour or so on the day it's due" - a Bible study method that Phil and I fondly refer to as a form of Spiritual Indigestion but still... we have often done our lessons that way. Figuring maybe spiritual indigestion is better than no digestion at all...?
So when I blithely decided to be "ahead of the game" and stay one week ahead on this particular study, I approached it with the attitude of "what a good girl am I!" Ha! Our introductory lesson was on a Thursday night so Wed. night I cracked open the first week's questions, thinking I would knock this out in a couple of hours. To my shock, four hours later I was only halfway through the week's lessons. Honestly, if I weren't retired, I don't know that I could give this study the attention it deserves. By the time I got to the first video session, I estimate that I had spent about 7 hours on just 5 days worth of homework.
Since I had been roped (er, asked) to lead the discussion, this fact put me into hyper-drive. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, spastic.
Eight weeks of this???
Oh-my-gosh! There's no busting this one out at the last minute! If I don't work on this every day, I will be toast!!
And so I began an intense campaign to stay one week ahead of the schedule, dotting every i and crossing every t, sweating it out so to speak, trying to do it perfectly. Because I could hardly read the questions in the workbook after I got through spilling my answers all over the page, I even obsessed about that in technicolor ink no less.. (Specifically blue, green, orange, and yellow for those who know how the Kay Arthur studies work:)
Then, just to make sure I was well and truly spazzed out, as the Thursday night class approached, I went back and typed up every single question for that week along with my answers. Then to my horror,the night before I had to lead the first group, I actually discovered that there were study guide questions at the back of the book!!!! Soooo, not wanting to come up missing on this one, I typed those out as well, along with my answers.
After two weeks of this - still staying one week ahead and still typing the questions on the day they were due to make sure I was up to speed on the lesson I had done the previous week, I was about as uptight as I've ever been.
And then something happened. I'm not sure where or when but instead of obsessing over getting it all right, covering all the bases.. I fell in love with the message. Like many falling-in-love experiences, it happened before I knew it.
Head over heels in love with a workbook? Sounds crazy but that is where I am.
I've been doing Bible studies since I was in my early twenties. It just happens when you grow up in the church and stay there. Every study I've done has been a blessing - I wouldn't trade any of them for anything. I know I'm not perfect but can't imagine where I would be had I not periodically stuck my head in a Bible class or a workbook and just tried to wade through it the best I could.
But each one was, at some point, truly wading. Like, "I need to get started on that homework... Later, maybe..." Every time I was a delay fish, when I finally came down to the wire and busted the answers out in record time, I'd realize the lesson had so much good in it for me and I'd promise not to procrastinate the next week but generally, I would put off the next lesson as well.
What I'm saying is that I can't ever remembering actually hungering and thirsting for a Bible study, even during my first year of retirement when I had extra time.
So it was a shock to me when I realized that I couldn't wait to get up and start working on the third week's lessons of this covenant study. Or that late at night, I would find myself sitting up in bed (with a flashlight no less, so as not to disturb Phil), pouring over the truths I had learned over the last 7 to 8 days. Or that the mystery novel I was reading 4 weeks ago is still bookmarked halfway through, just where it was when I first started the Covenant study and that I have no desire to finish it right now even though it was once riveting to me. Or that I would find myself earnestly, repeatedly asking God to help me, day after day, to internalize these truths so that they would never, ever leave me.
Bottom line: somewhere about two weeks into the lesson, I quit obsessing over being prepared and instead began falling in love with God, desperately asking Him to completely fill my heart with Himself and my mind with the deep, down assurance that He is indeed a covenant God and I am indeed His covenant partner.
The Strong (Faithful God) having stooped down to invite the weak (myself).
I can't wait for His words to sweep me off my feet. Again. Today.
Truly I heart Jesus.
And I don't care who knows it.