Why I’m Skipping Bible Study

My Bible and one sleepy pup.

My Bible and one sleepy pup.

Summer Greetings to you, my lovelies…

Somewhere mid-late May I sent the following text to a friend:  Hey, girl…I’m strongly considering not doing our summer study this year. When you get a moment can we have a conversation about that?

I had already been having conversations in my head. Summer study was just around the corner. We’d done it every year since I can remember. Always rich. Always fruitful. Some seasons, a downright lifeline. It has become tradition. Several women from different area churches gathering together under one roof to study God’s Word. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Not a thing.

Only somehow this summer felt different. Plans were already underway and I had every intention of diving in, just as I’d always done. But, coming up for air after Spring travel, something inside said no. What about all those books you’ve been wanting to read, Cheri? They’re stacked here and there in little piles taunting me. A homework intensive Bible study wouldn’t leave much time for extra reading. What will they think if I bow out? I hate to disappoint. They’ll be counting on me. Will someone step up to fill my place?  I had always helped facilitate in some way, whether leading small group discussion, setting up and tearing down, or closing out in prayer. Some wonderful friendships have been forged as well. A sweet camaraderie of Christian fellowship.

But, still, sitting this one out felt right. It’s as if God was writing me an excused absence from summer school. Saying no to this meant I could say yes to other things. I had already declined an invitation to the beach and another retreat this Fall. In seeking the Lord about these wonderful, who-in-their-right-mind-would-turn-it-down opportunities, I found it helpful to make a list. I needed to remind myself what I was saying yes to…

Yes to reading books/Bible
Yes to writing songs
Yes to blogging
Yes to booking gigs
Yes to building up my youtube channel
Yes to ministry prep
Yes to healthy eating and zumba
Yes to church fellowship
Yes to time with my daughter (my son lives out of town)
Yes to time with (wouldn’t you like to know?!)

A couple other specific yes-es and well, you get the idea. Likely you could create your own ‘yes list’ and gain a little clarity about your schedule as well. Not coincidentally, I just finished Susie Larson’s book, Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy. Someone kindly sent me the book and DVD and I watched all six sessions in the comfort of my own living room. She admonished…

“When we’re sloppy with our yes, we miss out on God’s best.”

Looking up that word sloppy in my dictionary app, here’s what I found:  sloppy means not careful or neat, showing a lack of care, attention, or effort. Hmm. Interesting.

Would I haphazardly plow ahead like I’d always done or would I listen to that still, small voice inside leading in a different direction? Would I seek to please man or please God? Would I cave to what Susie calls the ought-to’s and should-do’s, succumbing to “a busyness that drains vs. an abundance that trains”, or could I find freedom and relief in choosing God’s path for me? Even if it looked different than the norm?

I had made my decision. An email to the team was met with grace, understanding, even encouragement. A small act of obedience, yes. But, a tremendous sense of relief followed. Relief and, ultimately, peace.

Before closing, I must add this caveat…I wouldn’t normally advocate habitually skipping Bible study. Those who know me know I’m big. on. God’s. Word. And I love to study it with other women. Please don’t see this as an excuse to take a vacation from The Good Book. It may be that for you, for this summer, you absolutely need the accountability of an organized study to inspire consistent time in Scripture and grow in the faith. To ditch would be inadvisable, even foolish. But for me, for this summer anyway, I get to play hookie.

Daisy's Lamb Chop.

Daisy’s Lamb Chop.

Someone once said, “The devil drives, the Shepherd leads.”  We are His sheep uniquely equipped to hear His voice. What is He saying to you? Will you lean in toward that Holy Whisper?

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27)

Other translations say my sheep recognize my voice or my sheep respond to my voice. Oh, how I want to respond to the voice of the One Who loves and leads me best. And give Him my best yes.

May it be as Paul writes in Philippians 2:13, God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. 

By God’s grace, I will.

Have a sweet and safe summer in the Son. I’ll get with you again soon.

Cheri

14 comments to Why I’m Skipping Bible Study

  • MICHAEL GOSS

    Cheri-
    I’ve always been amazed at how much you do, not only in His name but also for others. I’ve been on the earth a few more years than you and finally learned about three years ago that you reach certain points where you have to take a break and refresh. I volunteered on a committee for 14 years, and finally realized that taking a year off would let me come back invigorated, let alone spend those extra hours with family and other endeavors. I know you aren’t abandoning the Bible, and I didn’t abandon my organization…still attending general meetings. I think God is saying “Enjoy the respite Cheri, you’ve earned it! See you next summer.”

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Thanks, Michael!

    [Reply]

  • Dr. Jim Crowder

    Cheri – Sometimes it is necessary to stop, step back, and recharge. Anyone who knows you, knows you would not do this without good reason. Enjoy your time, recharge your batteries, and prepare for what God has in store for you when you are ready to re-engage.

    In Christ Always,
    Dr. Jim

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Dr. Jim!

    [Reply]

  • Chris Wallace

    Amen sister!! Thanks for the word!(Word)

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    I may not be a pastor, but girl can preach every now and then:) Ha!

    [Reply]

  • Arleen

    I know you recognize what that still,small voice echoes in your heart..You must or you couldnt write all those beautiful words and sing and play them out so perfectly…This will be a very good time for you ( as it is meant to be)…

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Thanks, Arleen. You are sweet.

    [Reply]

  • Sara Olson

    “The devil drives, the Shepherd leads.” Brilliant! Yes! And I love your clarity on staying in God’s word. We’ve walked side by side that way since our kids were in early elementary school! But the voice we must follow has to be HIS! In proverbs it says, “To do the right thing for the wrong reason is the greatest treason.” Amen and amen!

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Love you, friend!

    [Reply]

  • Lea Novak

    Hi Cheri…Not sure how I missed this blog but it all makes sense. Sometimes we spread ourselves so thin that we miss what it is God wants for us! In delivering Thanksgiving meals in the community through the church yesterday we came across a woman who almost slept through the delivery of her blessing. She was sleeping and didn’t want to get up to answer the door. She said she felt spread thin and was very tired. We talked to her about taking a Sabbath as God would have us do. Setting boundaries allowing more time to just be still and know that he is God. Sometimes it is necessary to say no once in a while to re energize and listen for his instruction. Thank you for all you do especially the reminders to focus on Him!

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Hello, Lea . . . Just trying to catch up on my responses! This one’s a little late, but I’m glad you were able to minister to that weary woman at her point of need. Bless you bunches. Cheri

    [Reply]

  • Kim

    So…just found this blog and it’s 6 months later!! Where are you?? That was a long skipping out…
    I love your music and openness about life! Life us hard. God is good. Missing what you have to say…Did I bump into this blog by mistake? Are you done now that things may be better? Rejoice always…Draw near to Him…not only in the bad times…Hope to see you blogging again soon! ??????

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Hello, Kim…Thanks for stopping by. I’m currently listening for my marching orders for this new year and eager to get back to blogging asap! Thanks for tuning in. Always more to share, learn, discuss. Leaning on Him as always…Cheri

    [Reply]

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