Making bible study interesting

When you hear bible study what do you think? Boring, hard, work, school, too difficult. Too much. Where do I start?

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I used to feel that way about bible study. Some times I still do.

If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you would say, but Dominique you like to read. True. I do. So that helps. I bet you would like to read if it was interesting and didn’t take a long time. Bible study doesn’t have to be like being back in school. It can be as simple as you want it to be. The internet has made it a lot easier to find a method that works for you.

This is what I do. 

Pray. I don’t mean in any overly spiritual sense. Just ask God to show what he wants you to see.

Think. Think about the things you ask God when you pray. Do you ask God to bless you at work? Do you ask God to help you raise your kids? Do you ask God to help you be a better wife, partner, etc? Do you want to know God’s character or promises? You can start there.

Find. You can do this a few different ways. You can look in the bible app and they have a search option where you can type a key word and it will give you all the scriptures in the bible that relate to that word. So when I wanted to know who God is, I type it in the search box.

Tons of scripture popped up. If you’re old schooling it and reading a physical bible, it hopefully has a topic search in the back where you can look up things by subject. If you don’t have a study bible you should get one. Super helpful. They typically have reading plans to help you get started, so you aren’t just opening your bible and trying to land on something that speaks to you. I definitely used to do that. You could also go to Pintrest or Google and somebody has already did the finding for you, you just have to get your verse for the day.

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Pintrest.com livingfreeindeed.com

Write. Once you find a verse or passage that speaks to what you’re looking for, write it down. It can be in the notes app on your phone, but you want to write down what comes to your head or questions you may have so you can refer back to it later. 

Remember this:

The good thing about studying the bible is that it doesn’t have to be done in any specific way. There are tons of methods out there. 

15 minutes is a great place to start. God just wants your time and attention. Reading the bible is good but it just skims the surface. Devotionals are a great place to start if you don’t have a lot of time.

Pray and write, that’s all you have to do, everything else will fall into place.

The more you study the word of God, unlike Algebra, or OChem, the more you will want to study it and learn more. 

Don’t worry I am here to help. I am going to include  in future posts some more bible study methods and tips that will help.


Resources

Good study bibles-Quest, LifeHack, Life Application  

SOAP bible study method

11 Ways to Study the Bible: Methods, Techniques & Tips

 

 

Waking up

wokeUsing this definition of woke, I think I was half way there. I definitely am fully aware. I am knowledgeable about my community and the world. However, while I am willing to access and critique systems of oppression. I wasn’t really doing it. Not hard enough anyway. I tried for so long to do what the US constitution says about keeping church and state separate. In current day society though, that’s not really a thing. I used my Christian values to let a lot of things slide, but no more.

I don’t know if someone would have asked me would I consider myself feminist. I definitely am not the person blaming everything on  patriarchy.

Beyonce and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Make Feminism Go Viral | KQED

I didn’t really consider myself a feminist either until I heard Beyonce’ say she was. I always thought feminism was a white woman’s thing. 

I don’t need to wear my blackness on my sleeve, its not something I can hide. However in light of everything that has happened lately I wanted to deepen my understanding around Black feminism, the patriarchy, systemic racism etc. I wanted to have the language to speak on things that were happening and use more than just my own experiences. So I have been reading/listening to more books, listening to different podcasts, joining book clubs, just trying to educate myself on some things I didn’t really know that much about.

The experience has certainly been enlightening to say the least. Its great to feel validated and know that you aren’t living in a vacuum. I have also discovered I have my own bias and privilege that I need to process. So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Olu has a whole chapter on checking your privilege that had me shook. Once again I am thankful for COVID-19 because I wouldn’t have time to read/listen to these books if I was going into the office. I would have never read Eloquent Rage by Dr. Brittney Cooper who showed me that the patriarchy is in EVERYTHING because I lean towards fiction when I do have time to read or religious books.

I have been living somewhat in a bubble recently. I used to work in a space a few years ago where I felt like I was the “black representative.” Constantly checking and teaching people how not to be racist is exhausting.

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Once Donald Trump got elected it got even worse. The election of Donald Trump showed me that people are not REALLY ready for change. Once I left that place, I kind of checked out. I thankfully don’t deal with a lot of racism in my day to day interactions anymore. However, George Floyd’s death really changed my perspective on what I thought I knew. I don’t know why his death made things different. Maybe because we are in quarantine and I am at home. Maybe it was seeing the callous and causal look of the police officer with his knee on his neck. 

Whatever the reason, I am glad for this awakening. 

Books I’ve read so far/listened to:

I’m still here-Austin Channing Brown

Eloquent Rage- Brittney Cooper

So You Want To Talk About Race-Ijeoma Oluo

White Fragilty– Robin DiAngelo

Books I’m going to read

How To Be An Anti Racist-Ibram X. Kendi (reading this now in a book club)

Hood Feminism-Mikki Kendall

 I’ll have separate posts talking about these books with what I’ve learned and what I thought.

Accountability partners

I recently wrote a post about using my friends to keep me accountable in my writing and someone in the Christian Writers Network group I am in asked me some great questions.

How do you find an accountability partner?

If you have a network at church I would start there because hopefully you can find like minded people.  If not there then a trusted (girl)friend who respects your goals. You also could try special interest group like the Christians Writers Network that I found on Facebook, or weight loss group, alcoholics anonymous, etc, it really just depends on your goal.

What do I look for in an accountability partner?

I would make sure this person can call you out if you are not getting your goals done. So you want your accountability partner to be someone you trust. You also want to make sure they are not too busy to check in with you about your goals. I would also try to find someone who has similar goals. If you are trying to work out 3x a week, it may not be a good idea to have your friend who doesn’t work out hold you accountable to that goal. I asked my friends to hold me accountable with this blog because they read it consistently and if I miss a post they would say something.

What is expected from both partners?

Both people should be able to check in with each other to make sure they are staying on target, pray for each other and (respectfully) call you out if you start to slip. You should also motivate each other to stay faithful when it gets hard.

Support

I think support is important in your accountability partner too. You want someone who can work out with you sometimes or by the product you are trying to sell, pop in your Zoom meeting or read what you’re writing. You don’t just want somebody who keeps you on track. You want somebody that believes in what you are doing and that you be will be successful.

Reminders

Be open with your accountability partner not just about your successes but with your failures as well. Be open to their feedback, good and bad. This person is just trying to help you grow. Respect any meet ups or check ins you have. If you aren’t going to respect what you all have set up, you won’t be able to get the full benefit of the process.


Additional resources

What is an Accountability Partner — And How to Choose Yours

 

Silencing the inner critic

Do you have an inner critic that harasses you? I certainly do. It can be ridiculous sometimes. I am about to start reading a book, Get out of your head by Jennie Allen to help me deal with this a little better. In the mean time though, I started to research what I needed to do to essentially work on my self-talk. 

I know that if I am more critical of myself I am more critical of other people. I don’t want to be that way. Based on my research this is what I have discovered.

I saw this definition of inner critic vs inner guidance. Wow.

 

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innercriticvs.innerguidance 

I felt both seen and attacked at the same time. This description is excellent. I didn’t even realize that I do some of these things but now that I have the framework I can begin to change my thought process.

The first thing on here is thinks in black or white. I definitely do that. I am not big on seeing shades of gray. Either it is or it isn’t. People have been pointing this out to me recently so I am working on trying to see additional options.

I wrote a post about combating the devil with Gods word.   This a great idea, I just need to be more consistent. I also need to memorize the word. Study it so if you can’t memorize you know what it means. Speak it to yourself. That way as soon as something bad pops in my head, I can tell my inner critic to hush!

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I will also stop rehearsing events. Sometimes after going someplace I would replay things that I said and how I responded to things. Should I have said it differently? Should I have responded differently? This doesn’t help me however because the event has already happened. It does me no good to replay every word I said.

When do you hear your inner critic the loudest?

What books or passages do you read in the bible for comfort?

My inner critic comes out sometimes when I read the bible. That’s not good because I take what should be conviction and turn it in to condemnation. Condemnation doesn’t come from God.  I just read that we shouldn’t just look to the bible for just conviction but also for comfort. Which I know in theory makes sense but in practice is something very different. I have been reading Psalms every night before I got to bed. It has been helping.

The picture below is exactly what is going on in my head. I wouldn’t say that I was being mean and critical to myself. I would say that I just trying to improve upon whatever I am doing. Clearly that is FALSE!

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@justgirlproject I love their page!

 

I don’t mind taking risks but the “putting myself out there” is the hard part. I am learning however that when I am weak, I am strong. I will talk more about this concept in some upcoming posts. 


Resources

https://www.projectinspired.com/how-to-silence-your-inner-critic/ https://thinkdivinely.com/setting-your-mind-on-christ-are-you-ready-to-silence-that-inner-critic/

How are you using your time?

For the month of July I have only been working 15 hours a week so you would thought I would have a lot more time to get things done. Not!

The days seem to go by so fast and I’m chasing down a burgeoning toddler so I really need to use my time wisely. I don’t however. I’m off today so you would think I would have been able to accomplish a lot. I didn’t.

When I wasn’t chasing my son down or keeping him from falling off something I essentially scrolled through Instagram. Not a good look.

I watched a video in my leadership class from this movie with Justin Timberlake in the movie In Time.  Here is a summary but watch the clip. The visual is crazy. Time is currency and he is trying to meet up with his mom. His mom doesn’t have enough time so they are within fingertips of each other but she doesn’t make it. She runs out of time.

The facilitator then asked us, what if the mom was your dream?

Shook! 

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So much time has been wasted on frivolous things, on things that don’t matter. When I think about how much writing and research I could get done when I’m just sitting watching the Disney Channel or scrolling through IG, I know I have work to do. I know we all can do better. Or if you already are using your time wisely, tell us how. I think it goes back to be intentional about keeping commitments to yourself. 

Having accountability partners.  A friend and I had this conversation a while ago about being more productive with free time and I told her how I’m going through all the screenshots on my phone and putting them in folders so I can find them quickly when I need them.

Great idea 💡. When is the last time I did that? We probably had that conversation a month ago or longer. I decided to do it today since I clearly was just sitting here. I didn’t like it much though. It was boring and tedious. I have over a 1000 screenshots on my phone. Its going to take me forever to sort through them all.

Is there an app for that?

UPDATE: I did discover that I can tag the pictures and put them in different categories then I can search when I need them later. Super helpful.

Use your time wisely. With us STILL being in at home its easy to just waste time because all the days seem the same. Don’t do it! Try anyway to push through. Time feels infinite but its not. We aren’t behind. However we could probably be doing more. 

Don’t just chase your dreams, do the work to catch them.

 

Bible in a year plan…again

I knew I needed to do more listening to God and less talking and the easiest and fastest way to do so is reading his word. I decided to read the Bible in chronological order. I have read it through in the traditional sense and wanted to try a different way that would keep my interest. By reading it in chronological order I’m going to get some historical context that I didn’t have previously. I found a great article that talks about six benefits of reading the bible in chronological order.

First thing I noticed in reading it chronologically is that Job comes right after Genesis. In the traditional or thematic bibles I’ve seen its not like that. After Job comes Psalms which you’ll definitely need after reading Job lol.

I’ve been reading it chronologically for a week now and its rough. I wanted to read it in a different order to switch it up and get a different perspective. Unfortunately I see myself running into the same problems I did when I read the bible in a year plan in 2019

In chronological order you get 12 chapters of Genesis and boom you’re hit with Job. Job is like 50 chapters long. It’s a hard read. Job and his friends are talking for most of it and God doesn’t even come in until the book is almost over.

I don’t want to give up, no matter how hard it is. God’s word will never return void.

I am going to try and follow these three steps.

  1. Pray before I start and ask God want does he want me to get out this reading. 
  2. Try not to read so fast. If I only do 2 chapters at a time, I can better digest what I’m reading. I can read 2 chapters in the morning and 1 or 2 at night before bed.
  3. Take notes as I read. Taking notes will help me retain what I just read and be able to recall it when I need it later.

These steps will help if you are reading a lot of the bible at once or if you are reading a short passage.

 

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I found this on Pintrest.

Pray for your friends

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.2.1.NLT

 

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:10 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/job.42.10.NLT

 

I saw a IG post that says pray for your friends because you don’t know what they are going through. Very good point. One of the things that I asked God for was to help me pray for my friends and not worry about them as much. I find myself worrying about them even more now because we are in a pandemic. I will say, because we have been in a pandemic and not able to go many places I have seen them a lot more often than normal circumstances. What about you? Have you seen your friends since you have been in pandemic? 

I realized recently that I was not really praying for the right things for my friends. I was praying for Gods will, but it was all surface stuff. Help in finding a job, help in a dispute with a boyfriend, peace for a death in the family, but I should have been doing more. I should have been praying for their souls more. For them to know God, for Him to give them wisdom, and peace beyond understanding, for endurance in their trials, for comfort to get through another day.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3 NLT 

I didn’t give thanks enough for them either. My friends are all awesome. They all exude #blackgirlmagic. They are smart, funny, businesswomen, creatives, loyal, patient and kind and I wouldn’t be the woman I am without them. I love my husband but there is nothing like my girlfriends. They build me up, call me out, encourage me, listen to me complain and inspire me. I’ve known the majority of them for years and even the new ones have moved into my life and inspire me daily to be a better woman. 

I don’t want to be the person that says I’ll pray for you but it doesn’t really happen. I don’t want to be the friend that needs to know all your business before I can pray. We are intercessors on the Lords behalf, sometimes we may be the only praying that happens for someone that day. 

The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Remember that as you are having your prayer time. Pray not only for yourself but for your friends as well. 

the cover image is from Dictionary.com! 

6 steps to finding your passion

1. Ask God to help you. The very first thing you should do is pray. We will talk later about taking assessments and quizzes but none of that really helps if it isn’t what God wants you to do.

Lead me in the right path, O Lord , or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. Psalms 5:8 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.5.8.NL

2. Think about what you’re good at. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? When I asked God to help me find my passion the first thing that popped in my head was writing and reading. I didn’t think those things could be gifts because they weren’t hard. I didn’t have to work at them. I went to see an author speak at a high school in my area and when she talked about how she got her start it was from journaling. I was amazed! I journaled everyday for years. If this lady could use that as her jumping off point to a successful writing career then so could I. I never thought it could be that simple but it is.

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.2.6.NLT

3. Take some aptitude tests if necessary. I have done three different types of assessments, spiritual gifts, Strengthsfinder, and the Enneagram. For me, all three assessments were important. I wanted to do the spiritual gifts test because I wanted to know how what I have could used inside the body of Christ specifically. I do feel like most of the things I discovered were similar but that isn’t a bad thing. Finding some of my skills were similar gave me confirmation that I was moving in the right direction.

https://giftstest.com/

Spiritual Gifts Test – Adult Version

https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/strengthsfinder.aspx   (Strengths is not free, but very informative. You could see if your job could pay for the test.)

https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test ( This is free and I felt it was the most accurate when describing the type of person I was.

4. Think about your experiences good and bad. This can help you develop your passion by thinking about how you would recreate those experiences for other people. Everything we go through can be used for good not only for us but for others. When I decided that I wanted to take my writing seriously, I wanted to write the things I was searching for and not finding anywhere. I want people to type in a key word or hashtag and find my blog. Eventually, I want to write the books that I have not seen written for people my age.

5. Try something new. Is there something you have seen online that looks interesting? Is there a master class you want to take? Is there something that you always wanted to try but have been afraid to? 

6. Don’t worry if the thing you already want to do is being done. It doesn’t matter how people are doing thing you do. There is someone that needs what YOU have to offer and nobody does it like you. We are each unique and designed with a purpose. A good friend of mine told me to think about how many different types of bread are in the store. Tons! Has that stopped people from making bread? Nope! 

Pursing your passion is going to involve taking a risk. God has put everything inside of you already that you need to succeed. Don’t let fear or fear of failure stop you from giving your gifts to the world.   

 

 

Dear Future Me

July 9, 2018

Hey girl! How you doing? Life is treating you pretty good right now huh? You finally have the kid(s) you prayed so hard for. You have a new job and Jesse has one too. Did you see how God worked all that out for your good? How all the rushing and plotting and planning you were doing didn’t speed anything up? How even after you got what you wanted you still weren’t 100% ready? Do you see how everything God had you go through was preparing you for these moments you are experiencing now. There is no room for selfishness as a mother. Shouldn’t have been any as a wife but you let that slip by you. You have people who depend on your every mood now. You thought you had to be perfect at everything but do you see how that is holding you back? Nobody is keeping score but you. Does it matter what anyone thinks outside your house? No it doesn’t. I’m telling you these things now because you think you’re over some things but you aren’t. You are pushing forward like you don’t need help but you do. Ask. Fumbling along is not doing anyone any good. Enjoy each moment you are in now. Life will give you ups and downs.

Today is July 9, 2020. All these things did happen, even the not being 100% ready for the blessing. As I reread this letter to myself, I think the biggest thing I notice is that I am being a little hard on myself. I definitely remember this time in my life vividly. I was still trying to get pregnant and having no luck, but I could sense that God was making a move in my life, I just didn’t know what and I wanted to be prepared. I was starting to relax and have more genuine fun. I wasn’t so worried about when I was going to get pregnant or what the future held. I wanted to enjoy life and God in the present and worry about the future later.

I wrote this letter when I got back from visiting one of my best friends in Chicago.

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3 months and 1 day later from my writing this I would find out I was pregnant. I never would have thought. I write all this to say, prepare for the blessing you are praying for, but allow yourself grace as well. God sees the work you are doing and He is pleased. Remember also what is for you, is for you. Nobody can mess that up, not even you. God doesn’t want you to be perfect, He wants effort.

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Update

Last month I said I was going to do a post every Friday and I asked my two best friends as well as few other people to keep me accountable.

I am happy to report that I did a post every Friday in June. I did not do a post the first Friday in July but I did a post on July 1. I am very pleased so far. I know that I have definite work to do. I have been Keeping commitments to yourself.

The first week of July hit hard. A few days I was tired so I didn’t write, like I should. Or I wasn’t on top of my reading and research so that made it difficult for me to write. My son is going to be home more days in the month of July so maintaining a writing schedule is going to be more challenging. As I write this write now, he literally is holding on to my leg and trying to also type on my keyboard.

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My son will take up some of my writing time but I know I could do better with managing my time in general. I am going do a post soon about managing your time more effectively, but needless to say that I have growing to do in this area as well.

Please continue to check every week for new posts. I am trying to build back up to post two or three times a week but I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I want to continue to be consistent first.

Thank you for holding me accountable. I appreciate each and every one of you for reading.

Have a great day,

Dominique