Does God really have a plan for me? How does he communicate with me? What is my next step? The questions were many and and I always felt the answer I would get was “are you reading your bible?” It honestly discouraged me. Yes. I do! I read it. But I rarely feel like I am truly hearing from God when I read. At least not clearly.
I was constantly wanting more than what I had. I prayed, I did bible studies, devotionals. I felt like I was doing what I was suppose to, but what was missing?
A little over a year ago I was told our church was starting discipleship groups. These would be small groups of women/men, 3-5 in each group and they would commit to meeting weekly for a year while reading through the bible together. I was in. I didn’t even need more info, I was just in. I knew I wanted and needed more in my spiritual life. What I didn’t know is how much the year would transform the way I thought about the bible and deepen my relationship with God.
The reading was assigned each week and was structured to be done 5 days a week. Along with reading, we also were to journal our thoughts. Sometimes I journaled lots of questions that arose from the reading and then would dig deeper to find answers. When we came together each week, we would discuss what we read and what we got out of it.
I had never read the bible from cover to cover because it seemed so daunting. Even when I had attempted it before, I never stuck with it. I use to feel “less spiritual” because it took the accountability of a group to get me to consistently read my bible, however all throughout the bible, community is encouraged. I know God didn’t intend this life to be be done alone and I am so encouraged to have the accountability of others who are seeking the same thing. Growth.
If it takes the accountability of a group of other women, meeting for a year, to get me in the word daily and to make it a habit, I can’t imagine God is shaking His head at me saying “well I can’t believe that is what it took.” Nope. He is just excited that our relationship is deepening.
I quickly realized that God was communicating to me through the assigned reading of His Word- something I was somewhat skeptical about. Could God really speak to me when someone else was telling me what to read AND the group was all reading the same thing? How could He speak specifically to me this way? But, I would pray about things going on in life and then read my bible and there were the answers. For the first time, I realized that consistently reading the bible daily was how God was moving, answering prayers, and speaking to me. Affirmation after affirmation, I would see whatever I was praying about in my reading. God was moving in my heart and I experienced how powerful being in God’s word is. Transformation happens here.
There were times I would be struggling with my self worth and the reading would reassure me of how loved I am by God. We made several big life decisions last year and throughout the process of making those, I felt God encouraging me as I read His word. God also gave me insight into parts of my life I needed to work on. I was able to see Gods character more clearly when I was reading the ALL of the story and not just part of it. The commitment of daily bible reading has helped me grow spiritually and deepened my faith and trust in God.
If you have ever been stuck feeling like you don’t hear from God, I am giving you the advice I was always given but with a little encouragement. Read your bible, but don’t read your bible randomly. Be consistent. If you know you need accountability, find a friend or group and go through it together. There is power in accountability and community. Not only did I learn so much from the bible, but I also learned from the others in the group and experienced community.
Don’t let fear or pride keep you from growth. It is ok to need help in this journey. I just started year 2 of this Discipleship journey with a new group of women and I am enthusiastically excited to see how God moves in each of our lives this year and in our group as a whole!