When Bible Time Is Boring
I love God's Word. I really do.
But sometimes, I'm just not feelin' it.
When you break it down, reading the Bible is not hard. Set a time, you set a place, brew your coffee or pour your tea, and start right in. Or maybe it's even simpler: you just start.
More often than not, however, I often find my mind wandering, and wandering for a host of reasons. I'm tired. My mug is empty. It's dark. This doesn't make sense. This does make sense and I don't like it.
And all of a sudden, I am aware that my mind is hungry, but for anything but what lies before me on the kitchen table.
The God of the universe is talking to me, and I'm bored.
It seems to come in seasons. Sometimes, I'll be learning a ton, feeling completely absorbing in God's Word, so blown away by what He's done, amazed by His character and gracious disposition towards people who generally don't give a flying fig about Him.
And yet other times, reading the phone book seems more interesting.
We Don't Need A Trick List. We Need Jesus.
When we're frustrated and bummed out and struggle to pray and read, our greatest need is not a list of tips and tricks to "fix ourselves." Because we can't. Our greatest need is described in the pages in front of us.
We need grace, and God gives it at the cost of His Son, who succeeded in perfect communion with His Father. Because of Jesus, we have a perfect Bible reading and prayer record, and it's as if we'd done it for all the right reasons. Because of Jesus and the new life we have in Him, we actually can enjoy reading God's Word.
However, Bible reading and devotional time is still a struggle at times, and it will continue to be this side of the Second Coming.
Here are some things that seem to at least help me when I'm discouraged with my lack of devotion.
Yeah, I know. Total Sunday School answer. But it really is true.
Prayer is talking to God. It's reflecting on His holiness and telling Him so, wanting Him to be worshiped above all things. It's asking for His way in heaven to be the way things are here, His glory revealed in this broken world of ours. It's acknowledging our brokenness and our need for His grace and mercy in Jesus, and asking for things so that He would be glorified.
God wants to be glorified. He's the best there is. He loves you, wants you to delight in Him, and wants you to grow and become more like Jesus.
Honestly, praying towards that end may or may not lead to better Bible time, at least in terms of experience. But prayer reminds us that we're needy, and acknowledging that we don't have the focus or strength or determination in ourselves is often what we need most when we're struggling to read the Bible.
2. It's Better to Feel Frustrated Than Not to Feel at All
Humans need sustenance. It's hardwired into us. Without food or water, we die. And so, we hunger and thirst. It's part of being human.
When it comes to scripture and prayer, being frustrated that you're not hungry or thirsty for what you know you need is a good thing. That means you're alive.
As we said before, pray that Jesus would become sweeter to you and that your love for Him would grow. But take comfort in the fact that you actually care.
3. You May Not Be Doing Anything Wrong
In a world where so much of what we get is based on what we sacrifice, it can be easy to take boring Bible time as an indication or sign of sin in our lives. And while we all sin, that may not be the best assumption.
God is smarter than us. He knows what we need, what we feel, what we think before we think it. It may be that, in His wisdom, He causes us to feel a bit disconnected so that we learn something that we wouldn't otherwise.
God can be displeased with us. God disciplines us, another extension of His wisdom. In times where we feel disconnected with God, we need to remember that we are connected to Him in Christ. That lets us, without fear of condemnation, ask Him and others if there's sin in our lives that we can't see, and then joyfully turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
But boring Bible time could just be a season of life, too, where we need to learn to trust God to give us what we need, even if it doesn't feel awesome to receive.
4. Just Keep Trying
Often when I'm sick, I lose my appetite completely, and the very last thing I want is to eat. But even if I can't keep anything down, it's generally better to eat even nibbles and crumbs of crackers and sips of Sprite than to have nothing at all.
Keep pressing into what you know you need. Know that God is good, that He loves you, that He wants what's best for you.
Know that there's grace to fail and strength to continue.
Even when we're just not feelin' it.