Discouragement and Hope

Writing a Bible study has been my dream for a very long time. Thirteen years to be exact.  I never knew what I would write about. I never had a topic in mind.  I just knew I loved studying the Word and I loved communicating what I learned in study.

I was the nerd in high school who looked forward to the research papers.

I’m the one who asks for concordances, dictionaries, and commentaries for Christmas.

I can’t help it. I LOVE it.

When I began to feel that God was leading me to write this study on Isaiah 58 as a jumping off point for a mom’s mission in our neighborhood, I can’t express my excitement.  One day as I was studying, I took a mental picture of my laptop, Bible, commentary, concordance, and of course, coffee, and thought this is my dream.

But as my writing took shape – in the form of thirteen single-spaced pages for five verses, I began to doubt.  This doesn’t look like a professional Bible study.  You don’t have any training in writing.  You are struggling to make this concept connect. 

An article I read a few weeks ago about how my generation was taught to believe that we could be anything we wanted to be haunted me.  Have I been blind all this time?  What made me think I could write a Bible study better than the thousands of women who are actually studying to do just that?

My doubts threatened to cripple me over the past few days.  Then, getting ready for the first Isaiah 58 study, I found out two of the few people who I thought were coming weren’t going to be able to come after all.

I lost it.

My mom called me as Alyssa was being sweet enough to bring me tissues.  Mom tried to talk me out of my self-pity and reminded me that wasn’t this what I felt God led me to do?  Yes.  Then I don’t need to be discouraged.  Maybe the group needs to be small for whatever reason. I needed to trust that God still had a plan.

As I slowly lifted my eyes, searching for God’s direction, he slowly started showing me some areas in myself that he needed to deal with.  Insecurities he needed to point out. Wounds he needed to heal. Sins I needed to turn from.

I also started looking at the study as a realist.  I had always thought writing my own Bible study would come naturally, but why would I ever think it would come without cost?  Cost in working hard. Cost in searching for help.  Cost in taking constructive criticism. Cost in seeking feedback even if it’s not positive.

I had always prided myself that my academic success in college was not in my intelligence but rather in my hard work.  What made me think that doing what I felt called to do would be any different?

I read in a blog this week a statement that struck me:

God is a God of the process.

If that’s the case, I’d better buckle up.  Because if the rest of writing this study is going to be as painful, stretching, and emotional as the first part, I’ve got quite a ride ahead of me.

Thankfully, I know God loves me.  I know that only by his grace does he choose to use me.  I know that because of his love he reproves, disciplines, and prunes me.

I’m his, and even if I must be broken, it’s only in my brokenness can I be made whole.

I sat down this afternoon to write the next part of my study, just as in love with His Word as I was thirteen years ago.

2 thoughts on “Discouragement and Hope

  1. Jill, you are quite right that writing a Bible Study is not an easy process. Having recently written and published FAITH Joseph’s Story, a novel and Christian Bible Study, I can assure you that the process is not an easy one. There were many days/hours that I thought the same thing thoughts. After all “who am I to write a Bible Study”?

    God gave me His answer. I am His child and If He tells me to write the study, I am to do so in obedience. Simply, it is His study not ours! It belongs to Him and we are His vessel. We are all working to do what He leads us to do remembering that we are working for Him and not for ourselves.

    Each time you sit down to write, pray that His words will flow through you to your fingers on the keyboard. Prayerfully seek His wisdom and guidance in your writing/ministry and He will give you clearness of thought and just the right words to say. And when you press the send button, pray that the message will be for His glory and His purpose.

    • Thank you, Sandra. Yes, it took me a while to realize these things. And I’m sure I’ll have to re-remind myself through the process. I may be calling on you for advice as I go on. 🙂

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