It's a very well known fact; among my family and friends that I love school and office supplies. I really do. I can't remember a time when the sight of back to school items didn't make me a little giddy. In fact, I can spend hours in office-supply stores exploring and find myself restored by the order of everything. Perhaps; this love is due to the fact that both my parents were teachers, so the rhythm of my life has always been associated with the school year. Or maybe it's because there is something so amazing about learning. A blank notebook and a new pen (or twenty) fill me with anticipation of what I might discover or write down.
Since my life is ruled by the school calendar, I tend to spend August and September setting goals for the year. September is also my birthday month (yes, I like to celebrate for the whole month), and so it seems to naturally lend itself to introspection and reflection.
Some of my goals are lofty, super unattainable dreams. Like: buy an RV, drive across the country, and see a game in every baseball park. Or: rent a fully-staffed sail boat and for a month and cruise the Aegean Sea with just my husband [HA]. I would love to do these things, but they aren't going to happen in this current life stage.
Then there are other goals that lean toward things I think I should be better at doing. For instance, I've had 'put clean laundry away instead of having my kids get dressed out of the laundry basket' on my list of goals for years. At this point, it's not really something I care too much about and is only on my list because I think I should work on this. So I label it a stretch goal and own the fact that it's probably not going to happen.
But then there are the realistic goals -- the ones that resonate with my soul and I can't wait to accomplish. Goals that when I write them down, I think "Yes, this. This is something I want to work on or work towards.". Things that, even if I don't accomplish, I'll feel better just attempting them.
On this list perennially, are three things: 1. Pray and read my bible daily, 2. Work out 16 times a month and 3. Eat clean, healthy foods. Finding the right gym and workout program for me has helped me with number 2 and being in better shape has made me want to do number 3 more consistently. But for some reason I continually struggle with number 1. I've started a lot of Bible studies on my own, own several amazing daily devotionals and have at least four different 'read the bible in a year' guides, and yet I still tend to lose momentum after a few weeks. Which is truthfully embarrassing to admit here, of all places.
Jesus gives us such a great example to follow in Mark 1:35: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." But I still find myself struggling to spend daily time with God.
This is where the accountability of being in a Bible study comes in. By joining a weekly study, I have a group of women doing the same workbook and reading the assigned passages, and it motivates me to dedicate time and space to getting my homework done.
If you're like me and the idea of a community of women studying the Bible together is attractive, or if you already spend time in the Bible but the idea of learning together with other women appeals to you, I'd like to invite you to one of the Bible studies that is starting this September. There are groups meeting in the morning and evening on just about every day of the week, and they're gathering at both Willowdale campuses as well as other local places. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, you'll be able to find a group for you.
I have gained so much more than I realized I would when I nervously attended my first Bible study six years ago. I have found friendship, support, community, laughter, and, most importantly, I have grown in my relationship with Christ. Jesus encourages us to join other believers when he says, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Mark 18:20).
I'll be in Jennersville on Tuesday mornings with my new pens, notebooks and an anticipation of what I'm going to learn. Won't you join me?
We're having kick off gatherings at both the Kennett and Jennersville locations of Willowdale Chapel on August 23. Please follow this LINK to register for the August 23 kickoff events. CLICK HERE to learn more about the studies being offered.