Wow. Where do I begin? Last year (2012), I was all gung ho about reading my Bible, praying, going to church, etc. and I wanted to deepen my relationship with God. Things went well until my Nana's health started to fail. The more ill she became, the further I felt from God. After she passed away, I read one last Psalm, and I have hardly opened my Bible since (except for Sundays during church and Thursdays at Bible study). I seem to have lost all motivation to read it. I haven't sincerely prayed in months. I don't feel like going to church most Sundays. Things that used to bother me (cursing, amongst other things) no longer prick my conscience. God feels like a fairy tale that I used to believe in, and to be quite honest, there are some days where I just want to give up and not believe at all. I turned to hair and technology to be my gods instead. For months, I have been addicted to watching YouTube videos until the wee hours of the morning, staying on CurlyNikki and feeling the urge to post and read nearly every thread, and wanting to fit in everywhere that I could possibly go on the Internet. But then I realized something: I'm miserable. My overly-anxious, melancholy personality has magnified a hundredfold and I feel like I can no longer function properly. I have become lazy, lethargic, angry, irritable, bitter, and inconsolably sad. I keep flip flopping in my decisions, unsure of what to take during the spring semester, worrying about my major...all decisions that I normally have less issues with.
Like I've said before, I go inside myself when troubled times come instead of reaching out. I did that with my professors in the fall semester and my grades suffered severely as a result. And to be quite honest, when I was a younger, 15 year old "super Christian," I never imagined that I would do it in my spiritual walk. Oh, all the pride I had (and still have!). I wish that I'd gone to the Lord instead of material things with my hurt and pain. I don't want the storm of my Nana passing to be the thing that did me in as a follower of Christ; the rabbit trail that kept me from finishing the race like my grandmother did. I can't dwell on my rocky spiritual past, but I can definitely do something about the future.
I'm struggling so much with the sin (yes, sin) of unbelief right now. I know that it's not going to be easy to uproot, but I know that with God's strength,I can be cleansed of my unbelief, have my hurts healed, and find compassion, joy and hope once again. It won't all be rainbows and sunshine, and I know that there will be days where I feel like yelling at God and giving up, but I cannot quit. It honestly feels like my heart is hanging in the balance, and I will not let Satan take over my life.
That being said, I'm committing to spending the next 120 days (from today [1 January] to 2 May 2013) in the word for at least 30 minutes per day (excluding prayer). I'm calling it Operation: Back on Track (OBOT). It will be in addition to church services, life groups, Bible study, and any other Bible-related event/activity in which I participate. For direction in this area, I'll be using books/devotionals from Precept Ministries International; from their 40 Minute Bible Studies series. Each focuses on different aspects of godliness and spirituality, and is designed to be completed in 6 weeks. The ones I plan to complete are:
How Do You Walk the Walk You Talk?
How to Make Choices You Won't Regret
What Does the Bible Say About Sex?
Turning Your Heart Toward God
If I finish those earlier than planned, I can also finish a Beth Moore study in which I left the last chapter undone: Breaking Free.
I hope and pray that each one of them will be helpful in my spiritual growth journey.
In addition to getting back into the Word, my prayer life must be reassessed. I have a wonderful book that I was going through last year called A Young Woman's Call to Prayer by Elizabeth George that I will likely restart. The author emphasizes improving one's prayer life by actually putting down the book and praying, which is encouraging. I can devote 15 minutes per day to prayer and getting back into the habit of doing it, etc.
Total, that's 45 minutes per day that I'll be spending with God. My goal is to be able to do it in the mornings, but anytime will work. My only problem when I plan things out like this is that I get too excited, think that I can do everything, get a big head about it, and then fall flat on my face within a few days. So I already have my first prayer request: humility! :-P And diligence, consistency...whatever you want to call it. I have a terrible habit of putting off for tomorrow what I could've/should've/would've done today. It will be the death of me, mentally.
I didn't mean to write so much, but my heart feels lighter right now. This was definitely something that I needed to get off my chest. I'll report weekly on my progress, what I've learned, my thoughts, where I think God is leading me next, my setbacks, frustrations, victories, good news, bad news - everything.
(I know that not everybody who reads this is a Christian or believes in God, but my faith is part of my life, and therefore, part of my blog. If you are offended by it in any way, please feel free to skip over these posts in the future, when you see them :-) )