Word Hiding & My Date With James
You have until midnight tonight (Thursday) to enter to win a Cecil Murphy scholarship to our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference coming up in July. So, if you are interested in speaking, writing, event planning or any aspect of women’s ministry, scroll down to my last post to enter! My panel of judges (had to recruit some more of the speaker team due to the number of submissions) and I will choose the winner over the weekend and announce her on Monday.
Last summer I was very convicted that I memorize all kinds of things, but scripture.
Give me an 80’s tune and I know most of the words.
My friends’ phone numbers? Why, I don’t use speed dial. I want to keep my mind sharp and ward of the ole’ Alzheimer’s.
I have big chunks of Broadway musicals committed to memory. Even plays from college in which I had a role.
Why then do I not have big chunks of the Bible committed to memory as well?
Oh, I have memorized several single verses over the years.
I even memorized Psalm 1 in college for a class and can still recite it.
Last summer, I worked on getting an entire chapter tucked away in my brain. It took a while, but I was able to recite it to my friend Whitney in its entirety.
Now beyond these, I have tons of what I call “sorta scriptures” memorized. You know, where if you start the verse, I can sorta finish it. Not verbatim and I can’t usually tell you where it is located.
I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and I don’t make hiding God’s word in my heart a top priority.
What a shame.
So convicted did I become of this chosen weakness of mine that last year, during my main stage message at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference, I told 608 women that my new goal was to memorize an entire book of the Bible– James–by Christmas.
It meant memorizing and entire chapter every 4 weeks.
Talk about a grandiose goal.
However, I meant it; with every fiber of my being I meant it.
I started out of the chutes pretty well.
Chapter one was right on target.
But then life happened and school started and I had lessons to teach and speaking engagements to prepare for and devotions and magazine articles to turn in and a book proposal that needed to be entirely re-written and on and on and on….
By the week before Christmas, I was crammin’ like a mad woman trying to get it all down.
When Christmas morning arrived, I went out under the tree before anyone else was up and I attempted to recite the book of James as my Christmas present to Jesus.
Oh, I got about 2/3 of it right, but I had to look at my Bible when I got stuck for the next phrase and many of the verses were not word for word—a high bar I had set for myself.
It was then that I realized, like so many things in my life, I had turned this into a performance; a performance I must do perfectly. (we’ll talk another day about why some of us women feel we need to perform perfectly in order to be accepted)
I tried not to be upset but feared I failed miserably.
Later that night Jesus & I….. well we had a little talk.
Well mostly I sulked and He whispered.
He whispered one of the verses I had memorized many years ago:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Is it good to memorize Bible verses, chapters and chunks?
Had I grown weary?
It was then that I realized it is not about performance. God is not looking for perfection but persistence and progress.
So, I got up and at ’em again.
I’m happy to report that I recently was able to recite all of James.
Oh not in the way I’d hoped–flawlessly from start to finish. But one big chunk or chapter at a time.
Then I’d pause, look over the next big portion, hand my Bible back to my hubby or son and recite the next section.
Now, I’m working on stringing more of it together—say two to three chapters— without stopping and refreshing my memory before going on.
And without having to have one of my guys give me the next few words to jog my memory. (Do you know how many times verses in James start out with “My dear brothers…” or something similar. It throws me off so many times!!)
Someday, I’ll post about the tricks I’ve come up with for tackling this project.
In the mean time, let’s answer the most important question about this whole affair.
Why in the world would anyone memorize scripture and what could that possibly have to do with what I am supposed to be talking about on Wednesdays which is weight loss & health?
Here, let The Word speak for itself:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
“I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
Scripture is our ally; our voice of reason; our centering tool allowing us to come to our senses and focus; indeed it is our weapon to wield.
It can keep us from making a sinful choice with dire consequences.
Or it can keep us from running to food instead of to God.
Or it can stop us from being stupid and snap us back into reality.
But this little James memorization project has taught me something.
It really isn’t about word-for-word flawless perfection. (Although I am continuing to work on reciting the whole book without needing to stop for help)
It isn’t about just saying the right words in the correct order.
It is about internalizing the message of the meaning; about knowing the heart of God as He gave us these life-guiding words.
So sweet cyber sisters, what about you? Will you commit to Bible memory?
Not to pursue verbal perfection, but to do a little word hiding for those times in life when you need a dose of reality, a “snap-out-of-it- already” redirection or a “put down the brownie” voice of reason.
Although I haven’t quite gotten the entire book of James down from start to finish with no “cheats’ (as my boys use to call them when they were in a Bible memory program at our church) there are already so many messages of James that are resonating with me.
Like don’t show favoritism.
Or boast about the future.
Or use your tongue improperly. (ouch!)
Or how to get through trials.
Or how and why to pray in faith.
Or why we have fights and quarrels among us.
Oh sisters…..internalizing scripture is powerful.
Will you try it? Will you commit to memorizing something from now until the first of May?
We’ll check in with each other then.
No matter if you are a Weight Loss Wednesday gal or just a simple cyber friend, I promise you–you will be blessed.
Okay WLW gals (or new ones who want to join us), when you leave a comment, let us know how you week was. Mine was great. Although it included eating out three times and a fabulous coconut angel food cupcake I treated myself to for my birthday, I still saw the scale go down a tad. How was your week?
I just finished reading your words on memorizing James. I started a Bible study in January by Beth Moore and as a part of the study we had the choice to memorize the whole book. I felt led by the Lord to do this. So the New Year began with my strong commitment and hope filled my nearly 66 year old heart. I was beginning to get discouraged when I came home from a family ski trip with a torn MCL. My mind was not alert, pain pills and anti-inflammatories coursed through my body which was unaccuatomed to taking medication, I was pre-occupied with trying to do even the simplest things while on crutches and I had begun to forget why I had committed to memorizing this book of Scripture. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. ” Ps.119:11 Days went by and I hadn’t done any memory work. I had definitely begun to get weary in well-doing and almost gave up. Reading this today has given me renewed hope and a desire to get back to work. I truly want to internalize the message of the meaning and to know God’s heart as He gave us His life-giving Word. Certainly I am learning to internalize the verses about “perseverance must finish its work so that I will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I was wondering how I might find out where the tips are that you used to help you in the memorization process? (You said you might post those at a later date) I will not give up. I have renewed hope and confidence. and want to have James memorized by the end of May! I have three pretty nearly memorized and will start chapter four soon. Thanks for the encouragement!
I came over from Ann Voskamp’s where we are working on Colossians in a year (two verses a week only I took this week off for spring break). Falling to busyness. Fear. Yet, the hope stored up for me in heaven, that’s worth remembering!
A long time ago I challenged a friend and we were working on memorizing I John together. Got through two chapters I think, and that was many years ago. Now and then I try to refresh.
Also I homeschool and memory work is part of our day, only if I let it slide, it’s a shame. So thank you for the call to continue. Yes, thank YOU! “God is looking for persistence and progress, not perfection” is going up on my wall!
Grace and peace.
My dream to be a speaker started about 2 years after I accepted Christ into my life in 1995. I was at a conference where Anne Graham Lotz was the guest speaker. I remember looking down from my row way at the top of the theatre thinking how much I would love to encourage women the way that she does. I suppose one could say that I felt the call from God to be a speaker at that moment and in many moments thereafter but , of course, being a relatively new Christian at the time, I had reservations about being altogether enough in my walk with God to even offer any kind of encouragement to anyone. I allowed self-doubt and discouragement from, yes, believe it or not, Christian friends to put out the fire for this calling. Over the years, I have often dreamed about being a speaker and writer but for one reason or another have pushed this desire to the back of my mind. The Lord is patient though and with His gentle nudging has brought this desire to the forefront time and time again to the point that I finally get the message now loud and clear! Perhaps I had some life lessons to learn before going public with what He has put on my heart to speak about.
I have a huge desire, more like a burden, to speak to women who live with alcoholics. I want to encourage them, let them know that God loves them, cherishes them, and wants the very best for them and their children, and spouse. I want them to know that even though we cannot change our spouse in our own strength, we can certainly influence him by our gentle spirit, firm boundaries outlined in God’s truth, and our fervent prayers, all fuelled by the Holy Spirit. There is hope and, oh, how I want to share that with women who have such a heavy heart of despair in what can often times seem to be a hopeless situation. I want to share how God can redeem a life, marriage, and provide a beautiful spiritual heritage for our children and their children’s children.
I would love to attend the She Speaks Conference to learn how to effectively speak to a large group. I certainly do love to talk but there is so much to learn about organizing thoughts and relaying ideas to a group. I believe I will learn those skills plus many, many more at this conference. I want to learn from those who have gone down this road already. I want someone to come along side me and say, listen, here are some valuable tools for you to apply to your own journey. I want to powerfully share my experiences and how God has moved in my life to encourage others and I believe that those skills I would learn from the conference would powerfully assist in my journey with God to become a valuable speaker for His glory. But most importantly, from what I have read from previous testimonies of those who have gone to the conference, God shows up in a big way and He is the one I want to hear from most of all. I want to be a part of something that God is involved in and it is so obvious that His hand is upon this ministry and conference.
I hope that you consider me for this scholarship. I thank you so very much for this generous opportunity.
Love your honesty and transparency. I can so relate to those “sorta scriptures”, I know lots of those. I have been working on memorizing more scripture this year, I started well but have let it slip the past few weeks. Thanks for the encouragement to keep at it.
I’m a newbie to your blog so I will have to check out the weight loss topic. I just started reading Made to Crave and it is doing my heart a lot of good! I’m kinda nervous about this weight loss journey…I hope I can do it well.
Karen–I have no idea how I got to your site today, but I did, and I’m glad! I have just begun the 21 day challenge from Lysa TerKeurst (Made to Crave) and I have been a-slippin’ and slidin’ already, but today has been the best day yet (out of my first three). I haven’t lost any weight, but I have resisted to temptation to eat tons of chocolate and eat lots at night. Sweet progress only made possible by the help from the Lord, from Lysa, and by my being more steeped in the Word than I have ever been in my life. At the beginning of the year, I signed on to do Beth Moore’s Scripture Memory challenge, so I’m on verse #6. It’s been a struggle at times, but it has been such a huge blessing to have those words in your brain and on your tongue when you need them most!
From the very beginning of my journey with Christ certain scriptures have stuck with me. While I have tried to keep my focus on the meaning behind the scripture and the impact it is meant to have rather than the order of the words/reference; I have been in the same boat in not always having the right motive to memorize i.e. wanting to memorize so people who have been “doing this” for years won’t look at me weird for not knowing “popular” scripture or so that when I pray in front of others I can include scripture and sound like I know what I’m talking about. But God has been working on me regarding that and like you, I am recognizing that God has a desire to imprint His Word on our hearts so that it can transform us from the inside. That eases the pressure to memorize word to word and the exact reference every time but to focus on how God is speaking to me through that particular scripture and how it will transform me.
I am doing an online Bible study that challenges me to memorize at least one scripture from each week’s lesson which is a great motivation for me. I have memorized James 1:2-5 and Proverbs 15:2 so far! :)
Thanks for a great message as always, sister!
Thank you for the drink of encouragement in this post. I have been memorizing Colossians and needed your words today.
Can’t seem to spell today :)