Scripturally Honest

Does anybody else really struggle to get into the Bible? 

After a few rough weeks (or months) of life, I'm realizing that the reason I'm feeling permanently overwhelmed is my limited amount of time spent with Jesus lately.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
        for I am lonely and afflicted.
    The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
        bring me out of my distresses.
    Consider my affliction and my trouble,
        and forgive all my sins.
(Psalm 25:16-18 ESV)

I love talking to God. Prayer is fun for me. I love discussing every aspect of my day with the Lord. I actually trust that when I ask Him to help me find a parking spot when I'm struggling to find one that He will, and that when I ask Him to help me find a few more dollars to make something work, that He will. I also trust that if He doesn't, I probably need to walk a few extra blocks or go without. I feel that when I chat with God throughout each day, it makes it harder for me to feel far from Him because if He's a part of the little things, He'll be around already for the big ones. I feel that God's really given me a joy in this discipline. Sometimes I'll take a morning, and just spend it in prayer. Those mornings are the best.

And normally this works.  My conversations with God get me through along with reading faith based blogs, listening to worship, and conversing about faith with others.

May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
        for I wait for you.
(Psalm 25:21 ESV)

Spiritual maturity is so interesting isn't it? As we grow, we need more. The needing more is painful because the time spent being disciplined takes away from other things - things of the flesh that so often seem to satisfy for at least a moment.

    Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
        according to your steadfast love remember me,
        for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
(Psalm 25:7 ESV)

Honestly though, lately I've been feeling plastic when it comes to religion. My faith is real, and I know God is with me in everything, but life is overwhelming. It's hard to go to scripture and to listen to a sermon, when I know that a glass of wine or a tv show will lighten my mood. Does that make sense? I've had a lot of conversations with friends where they don't act like sin is enticing to them. It's bothersome to me, because I struggle with their authenticity. I'm fully aware that I'm drawn to sin like a moth to any source of light. I know I need Jesus and I trust that temptation resisted will lead to spiritual strengthened.

I've felt convicted about my desires to watch tv amongst other things. I was chatting with a friend this morning about it. I'm trying to sort out if I need to give up tv or something else? Is my issue simply that I'm watching tv, or is there something deeper? There obviously is a deeper root issue, but what is it?

Good and upright is the LORD;
        therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
   (Psalm 25:8 ESV)

It's hard too because getting to the root of an issue doesn't necessarily solve it. There is anther big sin in my life that I recently figured out where it comes from, when it started - but that just means I know where it comes from and when it started. I'm still sorting out what it all means and how that changes things.

Am I alone in this? Do others find Spiritual discipline hard? I feel like everyone I talk with seems to either not study or to study and love the Word.. People always say things along the lines of, "I used to really not be disciplined, and then I got disciplined, and now I can't go a day without it". I get that, and I want that, but it's complicated. How do I get there? Is my guilt a good place to start to get myself into the word? What is the motivation? How do I get motivated by something other than guilt? Guiltism doesn't seem like the best bet.

    For your name's sake, O LORD,
        pardon my guilt, for it is great.
(Psalm 25:11 ESV)

I don't know if this is encouraging or disencouraging (sometimes I like to add "dis" to words - and I'm aware that they're fake words - but try saying that aloud - it's quite fun).

I want to end this with a portion of scripture that I do read often. Psalm 34 (below) and Psalm 25 (portions above) fall under my category of most read most definitely.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
        his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
    My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
        let the humble hear and be glad.
    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
        and let us exalt his name together!
    I sought the LORD, and he answered me
        and delivered me from all my fears.
    Those who look to him are radiant,
        and their faces shall never be ashamed.
    This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
saved him out of all his troubles.
    The angel of the LORD encamps
        around those who fear him, and delivers them.

    Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
        Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
    Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
        for those who fear him have no lack!
(Psalm 34:1-8 ESV)

It's interesting. I added Psalm 25 into the blog once I was done writing what I had before. The amount of comfort found even as I reread my favourite Psalm and copied it in here was great. But is comfort enough? Do I just want to be comforted by scriptures, which I am often in the Psalms, which is where I camp most often? Or do I want to be stretched?

The Lord is my strength and my song.