Thursday, February 08, 2007

Studying Daniel

In January I began teaching Beth Moore's book on Daniel to the women who attend the Wednesday evening services at our church. It has been a most exciting adventure and though we are only a few weeks in, I'm certain the study has changed my life. I don't say that lightly either. I think the very first video session was enough for me to chew on for at least 6 months! Last night we watched session three and there were several points of application that I'm still thinking through. I'm so glad Beth is willing to do all the work to create these studies. She's a talented teacher and I'm incredibly blessed through her. If you've never checked out anything she's written, you might start with her website.

In the meantime, here's a post I did for our Bible study blog a few weeks ago. I think you'll see what I mean about life changing.

Video 1 : "I am, and there is none besides me"

Oh WOW! I am watching the first video of this series and I just need to say that I have received a giant challenge that I'm quite sure is going to change the way I live. There is so much in the first video and I hope you guys will come on Wednesday night to see it, but I just have to talk about this one point Beth makes.

"I am, and there is none besides me" was essentially the motto of ancient Babylon. Our culture is very much like that. Everything in western culture is all about the individual. We can get things anyway we want them and usually anytime we want them. Babylon was about over-indulgence. They didn't stop till they had it all. Sounds a little like us. As Beth says, "We are overwhelmed in a sea of self-absorption." We don't always recognize it or call it that, but our culture says it's all about us. We've even all been named Time Magazine Person of the Year. It kind of reminds me of the song we used to jokingly change the words to. The real version says "it's all about You, Jesus", but we would teasingly sing "it's all about me".

So as I listened to this session I realized just how true this was in my own life. I wouldn't naturally characterize myself as self-absorbed or even over-indulgent, but God began to open my eyes to the truth. Here's the way I see it now. When I graduated from high school and went on to college, I stepped out from underneath of my parents' authority. With that freedom, I began to do whatever it was that I wanted to do. I did not rebel or experiment with things that I knew were wrong, but I did over-indulge in the little things. Basically whatever I wanted. So in college, if I wanted to buy a box of Little Debbie donuts and eat them for breakfast, I did. If I wanted to eat pizza for dinner all week, I did. Once I got married and started grocery shopping, I bought whatever looked good. I remember Michael saying once that the way I shopped was as if I'd never been in a grocery store before. He said I was awed by everything. I tried all sorts of new things. So all during my twenties I have eaten what I wanted, baked what I wanted, gone where I wanted, and so on. Up until this past year or two, I have also purchased what I wanted as well. Not the big items like cars, furniture, computers, etc., but the little what they sell at Target. I know many of us fall into that category because I hear people talking all the time about how they spent more than they meant to at BJ's or Sam's or Walmart.

Once this became so clear to me, I was challenged by it. I have decided that over-indulgence might have characterized my twenties, but it won't be the theme for my thirties. I turn thirty in June and I want to swim against the culture on this one. I've already started watching what all I put in my mouth. It's embarrassing, but I was eating a lot more than I was truly hungry for. I ate things because I was bored. I ate things because I thought I should. I ate things because I just wanted to! How silly. I bought things without having a good reason for it. I bought things because it was on sale. I bought things because it was cheap and I might need it someday. Again, how silly. I am determined to fight my way back from the influence of our culture. I don't want my motto to be "I am, and there is none besides me".

Does this strike a nerve with anyone else? Do you get what I saying?

1 comment:

gail said...

hi julie,
i'm perusing some of your past blogs and came upon this one. wow! this is wonderful. i'd like to link to it on my blog if that's ok. i've been struggling with this for many years, you are so wise to deal with it now while you are young. my 20's & 30's and even now in my mid 40's i'm still dealing with it. but God is faithful!!!

our church is doing a beth more study and i can't wait to get started.

blessings on you, gail