Why in the world am I telling you this? All for the sake of what has probably already become a bloated metaphor, but if you've been reading my blog posts for any amount of time, you're likely used to that from me. Anyway, I must admit, I am in a spiritual state right now that is as dry as a box of powdered plaster--so spiritually dry that I fear my parched state could be leeching the life-giving moisture from anything that comes in contact with me. And how did I get this way? By a systematic neglect of Bible study.
When I say Bible study, I don't mean a neglect of going someplace were people meet and discuss homework passages from a LifeWay workbook. What I mean is disciplined, regular study of the scriptures for its own sake, not because somebody might notice I don't have my blanks filled in. I have lately only touched base with my Bible in passing glances, and it shows.
When I think about how neglectful I've been of study, I constantly remember a story I heard at a writer's conference a few years back. The speaker at the conference talked about the home churches meeting in rural China, where they may only have a single page of the Bible, a page that they pass from family to family, and when it's your family's turn to have the page, how everyone cherishes it, pores over it, and memorizes it, squeezing every ounce of wisdom they can from the words. We have enough Bibles around our house to distinguish between the "cheap paperbacks" that we don't even really worry about if our kids leave them somewhere, and the better, leather-bound versions we don't let them take places, mostly because we don't want to have to shell out the $70 to replace them. And yet, with a Bible within fifteen paces of any place I could be in my house, or if some bizarre set of circumstances emerged that every one of those Bibles simultaneously got left on a shelf outside a Sunday school classroom, within a ten minute drive to purchase a new one, I don't pick one up with regularity. It's worse than a shame. I am ashamed.
My solution to my neglect of reading has been to listen to an audio version of the "Bible in a year" that I can flip on when I get in my car in the morning. I'm surprised how well this has gone for me for the few days that I've been trying it, because I am not really an auditory learner. But still, even familiar passages are presenting new nuggets that I've somehow missed in many readings of the same text.