You have until midnight tonight (Thursday) to enter to win a Cecil Murphy scholarship to our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference coming up in July. So, if you are interested in speaking, writing, event planning or any aspect of women’s ministry, scroll down to my last post to enter! My panel of judges (had to recruit some more of the speaker team due to the number of submissions) and I will choose the winner over the weekend and announce her on Monday.
Last summer I was very convicted that I memorize all kinds of things, but scripture.
Give me an 80’s tune and I know most of the words.
My friends’ phone numbers? Why, I don’t use speed dial. I want to keep my mind sharp and ward of the ole’ Alzheimer’s.
I have big chunks of Broadway musicals committed to memory. Even plays from college in which I had a role.
Why then do I not have big chunks of the Bible committed to memory as well?
Oh, I have memorized several single verses over the years.
I even memorized Psalm 1 in college for a class and can still recite it.
Last summer, I worked on getting an entire chapter tucked away in my brain. It took a while, but I was able to recite it to my friend Whitney in its entirety.
Now beyond these, I have tons of what I call “sorta scriptures” memorized. You know, where if you start the verse, I can sorta finish it. Not verbatim and I can’t usually tell you where it is located.
I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and I don’t make hiding God’s word in my heart a top priority.
What a shame.
So convicted did I become of this chosen weakness of mine that last year, during my main stage message at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference, I told 608 women that my new goal was to memorize an entire book of the Bible– James–by Christmas.
It meant memorizing and entire chapter every 4 weeks.
Talk about a grandiose goal.
However, I meant it; with every fiber of my being I meant it.
I started out of the chutes pretty well.
Chapter one was right on target.
But then life happened and school started and I had lessons to teach and speaking engagements to prepare for and devotions and magazine articles to turn in and a book proposal that needed to be entirely re-written and on and on and on….
By the week before Christmas, I was crammin’ like a mad woman trying to get it all down.
When Christmas morning arrived, I went out under the tree before anyone else was up and I attempted to recite the book of James as my Christmas present to Jesus.
Oh, I got about 2/3 of it right, but I had to look at my Bible when I got stuck for the next phrase and many of the verses were not word for word—a high bar I had set for myself.
It was then that I realized, like so many things in my life, I had turned this into a performance; a performance I must do perfectly. (we’ll talk another day about why some of us women feel we need to perform perfectly in order to be accepted)
I tried not to be upset but feared I failed miserably.
Later that night Jesus & I….. well we had a little talk.
Well mostly I sulked and He whispered.
He whispered one of the verses I had memorized many years ago:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Is it good to memorize Bible verses, chapters and chunks?
Had I grown weary?
It was then that I realized it is not about performance. God is not looking for perfection but persistence and progress.
So, I got up and at ’em again.
I’m happy to report that I recently was able to recite all of James.
Oh not in the way I’d hoped–flawlessly from start to finish. But one big chunk or chapter at a time.
Then I’d pause, look over the next big portion, hand my Bible back to my hubby or son and recite the next section.
Now, I’m working on stringing more of it together—say two to three chapters— without stopping and refreshing my memory before going on.
And without having to have one of my guys give me the next few words to jog my memory. (Do you know how many times verses in James start out with “My dear brothers…” or something similar. It throws me off so many times!!)
Someday, I’ll post about the tricks I’ve come up with for tackling this project.
In the mean time, let’s answer the most important question about this whole affair.
Why in the world would anyone memorize scripture and what could that possibly have to do with what I am supposed to be talking about on Wednesdays which is weight loss & health?
Here, let The Word speak for itself:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
“I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
Scripture is our ally; our voice of reason; our centering tool allowing us to come to our senses and focus; indeed it is our weapon to wield.
It can keep us from making a sinful choice with dire consequences.
Or it can keep us from running to food instead of to God.
Or it can stop us from being stupid and snap us back into reality.
But this little James memorization project has taught me something.
It really isn’t about word-for-word flawless perfection. (Although I am continuing to work on reciting the whole book without needing to stop for help)
It isn’t about just saying the right words in the correct order.
It is about internalizing the message of the meaning; about knowing the heart of God as He gave us these life-guiding words.
So sweet cyber sisters, what about you? Will you commit to Bible memory?
Not to pursue verbal perfection, but to do a little word hiding for those times in life when you need a dose of reality, a “snap-out-of-it- already” redirection or a “put down the brownie” voice of reason.
Although I haven’t quite gotten the entire book of James down from start to finish with no “cheats’ (as my boys use to call them when they were in a Bible memory program at our church) there are already so many messages of James that are resonating with me.
Like don’t show favoritism.
Or boast about the future.
Or use your tongue improperly. (ouch!)
Or how to get through trials.
Or how and why to pray in faith.
Or why we have fights and quarrels among us.
Oh sisters…..internalizing scripture is powerful.
Will you try it? Will you commit to memorizing something from now until the first of May?
We’ll check in with each other then.
No matter if you are a Weight Loss Wednesday gal or just a simple cyber friend, I promise you–you will be blessed.
Okay WLW gals (or new ones who want to join us), when you leave a comment, let us know how you week was. Mine was great. Although it included eating out three times and a fabulous coconut angel food cupcake I treated myself to for my birthday, I still saw the scale go down a tad. How was your week?