This is the first week in, what I hope to be, a new weekly [weekend] series on the blog. It’s an idea I’ve sort of had in the back of my mind for a long time, but didn’t really realize I WANTED to do until recently a couple friends told me I should do it, without me even prompting them. They said, “You know what Molly? You should write a weekly devotional on your blog! I’d read it!”
And I thought, “Well, yeah! I’ve always wanted to do something like that… I love writing… and as I’m trying to grow as a woman and a Christian, I feel like this would be something that would help to keep me focused and hold me accountable.”
Even if you’re not a Christian or you’re not a believer, I hope that everyone will get SOMETHING out of this series. In fact, if you’re not a Christian or if you’re not a believer, I really HOPE that you read it… because I was where you are not that long ago. In fact, I was SUPER far from anything “God” related. I don’t want you to be turned off by it JUST because it’s a “devotional.” Think of it more like “Molly’s deep thoughts” – or something. I also promise not to make it too touchy feely, if I can help it. Baha! I just genuinely want to use this as an opportunity for me to step outside of my comfort zone and possibly learn a little something along the way.
I am not a member of the clergy, I am not a nun (obviously, nothing against nuns or anything…), I did not grow up Christian, I did not go to a Christian school, and I do not know everything. I’m just learning, much like most of us are. So, there’s that.
I started the “read the Bible in a year” plan on January 1st, and I’m chugging along quite well… although I have had to use the “catch me up” feature of my plan more times than I’d like to admit. But that’s neither here nor there. My hope and my goal with this is just to share my heart with y’all, share maybe something I’m wrestling with or struggling with, share some successes, share some failures, share some revelations, etc.
So, without further ado… let’s kick off the first week of this thing!
Relevant scripture: The books of Leviticus and Numbers (pretty broad, I know)
Like I said earlier, I’ve been going through a read the Bible in a year plan since the beginning of the year. I was doing GREAT at first. It breaks it up where you read a little Old Testament, then a little Psalms, then some New Testament, etc. You’re not just reading straight through. Well, at first I was so proud of myself (I know, pride is ugly) because I was AHEAD of pace. Genesis is such an ACTION packed book that I just kept reading! And then I was reading through Matthew and I felt like a rockstar because I love the book of Matthew.
So there I was, a month into the plan and BOOM, I’m ahead of schedule and feeling like I’m learning a lot and really gleaning from the reading.
I got through Genesis, I got through Exodus, and then I got to Leviticus and Numbers.
I’ll be honest, I started to slooooooow down, big time. If you know NOTHING about the Bible or have never read the books of Leviticus and Numbers before, let me tell you – it’s A LOT of rules. So many rules. So many laws. So many offerings. So many this and so many that. It’s a bit dry, if I’m being honest. Genesis and Exodus there’s just so much HAPPENING! The earth is being created and Noah’s building an ark and Moses is parting the Red Sea and it’s awesome.
Leviticus and Numbers are like, “You can do this, but you can’t do that. And if you do that, then you will have to do this to make up for that. And then to make up for that, you’ll have to do this, that, that, and more of this. Oh, and then you also HAVE to do this, no matter what, because THAT is forbidden.” etc. etc. etc. etc. It’s a lot of that.
There’s like 27,828 types of offerings that have to be made – the burnt offering, the guilt offering, the sin offering, the wave offering, and this sacrifice and that sacrifice… I can’t keep track of them all. And then there’s like an entire chapter dedicated to names! Just names of people who were there when this or that happened.
And I got lost.
And I started to get BORED.
I’m just being honest.
I kept thinking to myself, “Lord, seriously?! This is out of hand. This is out of control. There are like WAY too many rules here and I can’t follow and I can’t keep reading this much longer because I keep falling asleep halfway through the 17th wave offering. WHY on earth did you include all this stuff in the Bible? WHY on earth did you make the Israelites do all that stuff? How could they even keep track of it all? Why are all these names necessary?”
And I went on and on and on and on complaining to God that I had to read this stuff and get through it just to get back to the action packed stuff. I want to get through this stuff so I can start reading more about Jesus and learn more about Him. I just want to get to Jesus, God!!!!
But then it kinda hit me like a ton of bricks. God doesn’t want to hear me complain, but the truth is, He is laughing at my complaining because I am totally failing to see what’s right in front of me.
Because of Jesus, because God sent His son, I don’t HAVE to worry about remembering or following all those crazy rules and all those laws in the Old Testament. Because Jesus was the ultimate offering and the ultimate sacrifice. God put all that stuff in place so that Jesus could come and take all of it off our plates for us. And, God, of course, left it all in the Bible so that we can be reminded of ALL that Jesus has done FOR us.
It’s such a simple thing, but so profound.
At the root of it all, I am reminded that I need Jesus. Every day of my life I need Jesus. If it weren’t for Jesus, we’d STILL have to remember all those rules and offerings and this and that and life would be pretty dang tough. But Jesus gives us (and ME) so much freedom and peace.
The whole time I was sitting there complaining about having to trudge through the reading I didn’t really want to do, but I know I needed to do, I was failing to see the positive in it all. I was failing to see the good in it all. I was failing to see what I could learn from what was difficult for me.
And if you’re not a believer, how does this apply to you? Well, think about it, so often we are “forced” (whether literally or figuratively) to do something we don’t necessarily WANT to do, but something we know we NEED to do. Think of something like exercise. Sure, there are probably a lot of times where you REALLY don’t feel like working out, but you know you need to. And there are times when you’re in the midst of working out or running a race or doing a REALLY tough set on the bench press and you’re in so much pain or you’re so tired or there are 100 other things you’d rather be doing… but all the while, you’re failing to see the bigger picture.
The bigger picture being the end result… you’re in better shape! You’re healthier! You completed a goal! You crossed the finish line! Whatever that end result may be… you’re failing to see it in the midst of the frustration.
Or if you’re having to work on a huge project for work and you know that it’s a giant pain in the rear and you don’t want to do it, but you know that you HAVE to do it or you HAVE to complete it in order to get where you want to go. Instead of complaining, take a step back and look at the process. Learn from the process. What opportunities are there for you to grow throughout the process?
It’s the same concept… just simplified.
It’s those tough times and those frustrations (even if they seem totally trivial) that are the reminders we don’t even know we need for us to appreciate where we end up.