I am honored to share Anna K Payne’s writing with you today.
Do you have a support network to push you toward God?
Bible studies abound in our culture today. Many of them are great for studying and learning more about God. But it is possible to attend a Bible study or small group and still feel lonely. It feels hard to attend the group. You don’t feel a part of the group. But you don’t have a support network to push you toward God.
My experience as a more introverted personality is varied. I’ve had wonderful leaders who worked hard to include every person. We’ve studied some wonderful things but actually sharing true things about myself made a difference. I remember distinctly the faces of the women around me when I first shared a true and honest thought. They were shocked.
I immediately regretted sharing from my heart, well, after I vented for a few minutes. My story seemed so normal to me. I had homeschooled for years after raising toddlers at home. Then one day my husband pleaded with me to start working again. After months of working with my children before school, at lunch, and after school to help them adjust to public school, I began working. I studied classes on my own and took odd jobs to help pay bills.
By the time my children were in junior high and high school, I had been employed full-time and laid off. I went back to odd jobs, finding a great part-time job with wonderful people. I volunteered at the school for band, choir, drama club, and sports. But, I had one problem.
Since I had been sheltered so much of my life, I had always been able to get along with everyone I met. Even prickly people were winnable, one on one, and we found common ground to work with. But now, I found several people I couldn’t get along with.
I asked my Bible study friends what was wrong.
Possibly it was how I phrased it. Maybe my tone of voice was off. It could be I was sarcastic. I just wanted to know if the other women ran into people they didn’t get along with. Was it just me? Did I change? What was wrong with me?
After the initial shock wore off, the women one by one smiled. My leader spoke first in her quiet, calm way. “What do you think happened?” She looked at me without judgement. I thought for a minute and the answer filled my mind.
I had stopped reading my Bible every day. I had gotten too busy. I wasn’t praying while I drove or listening for God’s voice.
After I spoke this out loud, my leader asked me the next logical question. “What should you do?”
As I looked inward, I knew what to do. I would pick up my Bible and set it next to the bed. I would read just a few minutes every night. Every morning I would take my Bible or a study book with me for a quick quiet time as I prepared for the day. And I began praying while I drove yet again.
Pretty soon, the women I had the most trouble with became my closest friends at school.
God helped me speak in the right way and the right words to invite them into my life.
Ask God to help you be open with the women you know. Seek His face before sleep and in the morning. Open your heart to hear His voice. He is speaking to you today, right now. He’s saying, “I love you. You are mine.”
Amen Anna, God certainly is saying He loves us, each one of us, uniquely and eternally. Thank you for this post. I pray it touches hearts with the truth of God’s love.
Anna K Payne is the author of more than 15 books of devotions, Bible studies, and Christian suspense. Her most recent book is Planted Flowers Bible Study Workbook, a Bible study focused on deepening your relationship with God and creating a network of support, available October 1, 2017.
Find Anna’s work at PlantedFlowersSeries.