Havin’ a chat with one of the guys from work about goals. He’s one of those superrrr ~goal-orientated people; he doesn’t seem to able to function without having three types of goal going on at once.
I have never, ever in my life set a goal for myself. I am not entirely sure what this says about me. Probably that I am lazy. True fact. Has it lessened my life experience somewhat? Er. Probably not.
Bleh, anyway, goals. Neat. I have a couple in mind. Obviously cannonballing is one. There’s some financial stuff (boring. as. heck.) and some other less soul-deadening stuff. But the one I’ve been tossing up for awhile now is reading the entire bible this year.
Non-Jesus types or the otherwise uninterested can switch off…now!
I’ve been a Christian officially since I was about seventeen. One of the usual stories, really – my dad died and I needed something more. I’d never not believed in God; I just hadn’t acted on it – never taken the plunge to commit myself to Him. I finally did that, and from then on was a fairly regular church goer/camp attender/small group member.
I’m twenty three now. My church attendance has fluctuated since I got married almost two years ago. My husband comes from a Christian family and has been in a church all of his life, culminating in his attending bible college this year in order to eventually lead a church (which he could do now, I suppose, Brian Tamaki style, but he’d rather, y’know – have a solid theological background). Due to some sucky family circumstances last year, I felt myself backsliding away from God and from my ‘true path’ (Christian talk, there ain’t nothin’ like it). Going to church became quite possibly the worst thing I could do with my time on a Sunday morning, when I could be doing worthy things – like working, or watching TV, or sleeping. Sleeping was my favourite.
It’s no one’s fault but mine, just so you know. Church hadn’t suddenly become boring or terrible. Somewhere, my heart just went…’nah.’ So I shut off. I shut down my ears in church services (when I went) and I shut down my brain to prayer or any form of talking to God, outside of listening to some badass Christian bands (they exist).
This is a fairly brief overview of a chaotic and kind of shameful time in my life. It’s sort of vital background, though, for where I find myself at the start of this year.
I went to the first church service for the year with my husband, his family and my best friend. While sitting there, I decided this year I would only miss church when I couldn’t avoid it. Looking around at the full-up service, I wondered if everyone else was making the same promise to themselves. You know how it is, new year, everyone’s like, ‘Okay! This year, things will be different‘, and you know they’re saying it like it’s in bold italics. Everyone makes bold italic promises that they keep for about three weeks.
I’ve never made resolutions, either. They’re probably the same as goals, but there you go.
It’s fifteen days in and I haven’t missed a service yet. I would be more proud of this if there hadn’t only been two Sundays so far. I will be missing one this week (work roster, once every third Sunday I will inevitable be MIA). But the other part of the bold italic promise I’ve made to myself and the Big Guy, is that I’ll finally crack the spine on my years-old-but-brand-new-looking study bible.
I’ve tried to read the entire bible before, heaps of times. And each time I’ve just sort of…stopped. I get to Leviticus and go, no thank you. No. Thank. You. I’ll take my salvation and run with it, cheers, Jesus.
Yeah. I can’t do that anymore.
Two weeks ago, one of the kids from my work asked me what I’d learnt in church that morning. I told him the lesson that day had been how to follow Jesus, in a nutshell. Then I freaked out because I couldn’t give him any relevant scriptural supplements.
A few months ago, one of my friends brought his girlfriend around for dinner. We were talking about Narnia and scripture and Jesus and Aslan and Jesus, when she said ‘What, have you guys not read the whole bible?’ The incredulous tone in her voice was not, I don’t think, imagined by me. Her boyfriend, my husband and myself all hedged on answering with vague ‘Oh, I’ve read the new testament’, ‘I skip bits but read my favourites’, ‘I tried to read it, but I skipped to the end and it ruined it for me’.
No matter how much I grapple with the bible, for many different reasons (I think gay marriage is a great idea, I work on Sundays, it’s REALLY LONG), I just need to suck it up and get into it. Not just to say I’ve read it; but to finally, finally, be changed; to learn to lean on and love God’s word, even when it’s tricksy.
Sorry. That last bit was hammy. But there that is.
Finally (finally), what’s happened to Nathan Fillion? He’s gone from this:
In summary, gonna read the bible, gonna blog about it sometimes. So I guess I lied when I said this was probably only gonna be a cannonballa blog. Darn.