"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." –Psalm 1:2
Writer's block. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, this is "A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing." Basically, the author is stumped. She has no idea how to proceed, what to write next. Her mind is blank.
I looked up a slightly different term in the dictionary today: reader's block. Unfortunately, it wasn't there… but I guess that means I get to make up my own definition. J To me, reader's block is what sometimes happens when I read my Bible. I physically see the words, I do comprehend them, but they just don't "stick." When I get done reading, I don't really know what I've read or how to apply it.
I recently heard a fantastic speaker named Lisa Harper. Wow! She is a phenomenal speaker and biblical scholar, and she even made the genealogies interesting! (And I'm not kidding—that's literally what she spoke about, and it was great!) What a passion for God's Word, for really squeezing the meaning out of what can seem to be mundane details. She really inspired me to dig a little deeper, to know and understand God's Word a little better. Now, I'm not likely to enter seminary next week or begin delving into theological textbooks, but there are simple ways to start.
First, I have started using multiple translations of the Bible. Sometimes when I am struggling to understand a passage in one translation, reading it in a slightly different translation can help to clear it up. And other times when I think I am maybe misinterpreting something—or maybe finding something a little "deeper" than the direct text—comparing a couple of different translations can help me to get a better grasp on the subtleties.
It can also be a great help to do a study along with or in addition to just "straight" Bible reading. Make use of others' knowledge and experiences. I may not know the original Greek and Hebrew, but I can still learn from those who do.
But for me, my biggest shortfall is that I just need to start listening a little better. I'm pretty good at talking—to God and, honestly, to anyone else within earshot. J Sometimes, though, I have a hard time knowing how to listen to God. The verse that I chose today is really something that I am striving for. I want to meditate on God's Word, to be still and listen. To me, meditating on God's Word involves more than just seeing the words on the page. It means to read them, to understand them, and then to stop and listen to what God is really saying to me through them. It means that, rather than just perusing a passage of Scripture and then talking to God and my day and my needs and my desires, I need to internalize the meaning and listen to what He is saying to me. It seems, though, that even when my lips are closed, my mind is still moving!
I have decided that this week, this will be my focus. In order to get the most out of my time with Him and really know how His Word applies to me, I am going to work on meditating on His Word and listening to Him, not just reading words and praying words.
So I'm trying something different this week—I'd like to make this blog a little more interactive! J I have two questions for you. First, can you help me to listen better? Do you have any tips for how to really stop and listen for God's voice? How to meditate on His Word and how to spend some prayer time listening? Second, as I focus this week on listening… what is your focus on? I would like to challenge you to choose one area and really wrestle with it this week—whether it is a general "method" of learning more about God, like mine, or if it is gaining a better understanding of a specific topic or passage, or even if it is turning over to Him a specific struggle in your life… What are you working on with God this week? Feel free to e-mail me if you would like to keep your answers to either of these questions private… but I would also love to have you post your answers, so that we can all encourage and be encouraged by each other. Pray for me, and I will pray for you. J
Have a blessed week.
PS - For more information on Lisa Harper, go to http://www.lisaharper.net/.