I joined something this year. It’s shocking, really. I surprised even myself. Truthfully, I almost backed out at the last minute. “Sorry, I don’t think I can commit this year…” Except all the stars had aligned and I could. There was no reason not to. So I made a deal with myself that I would try it once or twice and if I didn’t like it then I’d ease my way out with some generic excuse. So today I went. And normally it would have been every introvert’s worst nightmare- to enter a large building with hundreds of other unknown women, take part in a small group discussion with unknown women, listen to a lecture that I was sure I would doze through, and yet… I haven’t felt this right about a decision in a while. It was, in fact, so fulfilling in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long time. But I first had to take the risk in order to know.
I have entered into the land of BSF (or Bible Study Fellowship), which is a worldwide organization that each year centers on an in-depth study of one book of the Bible. Guys, I don’t do Bible studies, and I was very skeptical of this one. I have a certain distaste for Christianese and westernized Christianity in general these days, and I was sure this was just going to be a bunch of evangelical woman bumping their gums about all the “information” I already know. (Wow, that sounds arrogant, doesn’t it? Yikes.) Having grown up in a Christian home and Christian schooling I speak Christianese fluently and know all the correct responses, but I have felt for so long that I’ve been missing the point even though I know the basic truths in my head. So I joined BSF hoping against hope that I would learn something new; that something would click and I would finally turn the page and begin a new chapter. Because this last one has been extraordinarily long and exhausting and all about me doing it all wrong. It’s time to move on.
Guess what? In just my first week I learned things. Not because anyone told me something new. Not because I read verses in the Bible I hadn’t seen before. And not because I read commentary written by a “Bible scholar.” I learned things because I sat down with a Bible and a set of questions and actually tried to reason through them and give thoughtful responses- not textbook answers. I wasn’t answering them for a grade or for any other reason than for myself. I tried because I’m tired of not trying. And I was surprised to find that I was putting pieces of a puzzle together that I didn’t even know existed, and a story suddenly came into brilliant focus- becoming very relevant to some current difficult situations in my life… and I got excited- for the first time in years and years and years. Kind of like my spirit just took a bite of an enormous piece of chocolate cake with all the frosting, savoring it, but knowing there are endless bites left to enjoy. Man I love chocolate cake.
I will describe my personal discoveries in another post. For now, this brief note is to encourage you to take a risk and try something new if the opportunity presents itself. By all accounts this was completely out of my comfort zone. But this bone-dry and weary place that I’ve been wandering around in for much too long finally offered an opening for escape… and I took it. I almost didn’t because it meant leaving familiar territory. It meant stepping off the well-trodden footpath that circled the same scenery I have spent years memorizing and burning into my brain. I was sure the grass was the exact same on the other side… so why try and end up disappointed?
Well it turns out that no matter where you are, grass only becomes green when it gets fed. And grass doesn’t grow well in the dark or in scorched earth. And when you walk the same path long enough, the grass dies. So if the life in your heart is withering, it’s time to take a risk and try something new; walk a different way; find a different food source. The opportunity may seem odd, unappealing, or unorthodox, but like me, you may end up utterly surprised and amazed.
Peace & Love, Amy