I have “dropped out of my email bible study”. I expected to encounter differing opinions in our study as those participating were from various Christian denominations. I thought a group of Christian mothers studying the bible together would be a great opportunity. It was. I am disappointed to not continue, I learned a lot and those involved are faithful women. The difference of many Christian beliefs was becoming more evident each week. The direction of the study was changing for me. So after weeks of spending hours researching to contradict a comment or a referenced website, I realized instead of a bible study this was going to turn into a battle of religion. Was I up for the challenge, oh yes! I was furiously looking things up making notes reading the Bible, the catechism, cross referencing information. I was on fire and preparing to strike.
James 3:5-10 ... Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna (hell). For every kind of beast and bird of reptile and sea creature can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers.
I will tell you what I was NOT. I was not loving, kind, or patient. I snapped at my children and husband because I was so focused (obsessive) with my mission. I ignored them, I felt ill thoughts of others and anger was boiling inside. It was poorly affecting me and my family.
Monday morning I thought of an article that was sent to me just before I began my blog last year and pulled it out to read again. It now hangs back on my fridge for a daily reminder. Hopefully I have shared it before, if not, I am sorry for missing that opportunity search, Motherhood as a Mission Field by Rachel Janchovic . This article has refocused me so many times. The whole article is a must read for all mothers in my opinion. I will share a few of the quotes that really stood out to me and in the end helped me come to my decision of “dropping out”.
Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. - From Motherhood as a Mission Field
My most important responsibility in being a living example of love and kindness, in deed and truth as God wants is the example I live in front of my children.
1John 3:18 Children let us love not in word and speech but in deed and truth.
As much as Galatians 6:1-5 was feeding my desire to continue to fight the battle. A couple words kept holding me back “gentle spirit”.
Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted. Bear one anothers' burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself. Each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason to boast with regard to himself alone, and not with regard to someone else, for each will bear his own load.
I had to find the balance, just as in so many things. Why was I fighting? Was this the best time? How should I fight the battle? The size of the battle was HUGE and snowballing for me. I was going to change the world while forgetting about my world and my responsibilities of faith in it, my family. My balance was off and my spirit far from gentle for the study and at home.
You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive. - Motherhood as a Mission Field
My conclusion, to find peace here, I had to get out of the study, at least for now. My personality could not allow me to half heartedly participate in the study and overlook the ideas I did not agree with. If I stayed with full heart my home life would be affected, not by the cleanliness of my house, but the cleanliness of my heart. As so many other times I found myself becoming distracted with things that seemed more important than my simple daily duties, the problem is some of those “simple” things that are being overlooked are big things in the world of my children. I could not continue in the study if it was not returning a better me to my family.
I encourage all to participate in a bible studies. If you do participate fully, know the information is from a reliable source and it is supported by God’s word. If you are surrounded by more than you heart can handle, as I was it is OK to remove yourself. It does not mean you are giving up on learning about God. If it is God’s work you WILL see your role and it will have a positive impact and it will NOT draw you to neglect your full life in Christ and the blessings he has given you.
I have not ignored the passion I have to share what I learned in my chaos of searching over the last few weeks. I have pages and pages of information I hope to share at the right time with for the right purpose. I hope to share with a calm spirit through information, not argument. This will be a challenge as argument comes easier to me. The other challenge will be to find the proper balance of time to be sure it does not draw from my foremost responsibility in my life as a Christian parent, the evangelization of my children, which includes the daily example they see me display each day.
Gal 5:16 I say, then: live by the spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
So though I would insist my children finish what they start, I have realized I must take a step back before moving forward. I guess I am recovering from a training injury. I am not planning to sit on the couch I am still reading my bible and participating in my education class at church. I am just water running for awhile until I can come back prepared for competition with patience and kindness. So I can run the race in a way I would want my children and God to see.
Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1Pet 3:15