Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Stroll Through the Garden

Ever since I can remember, I've dreamed of having one of those beautiful English cottage gardens. I can just imagine heading out in the morning, while the dew is still wet on the leaves, and strolling along the pathways, cup of tea in hand. I'd stop to deadhead a few flowers and pluck a few weeds, then head for my garden swing under the arbor to sit and meditate for a while. Amidst the fragrance of the morning, I'd lift my heart in prayer to God.

In actuality, my gardening consists mostly of a series of must-do's: must buy and plant annuals, must mulch, must tear out dead stuff, must plant bulbs now - you get the idea. Since my flower garden is just a patch on my front yard, it's easily maintained but I don't spend nearly enough time enjoying it. Not much is visible from my front window, and it even escapes my view when I'm sitting on my front porch. Sigh - my only hope is that the neighbors might enjoy the display!

There have been times in my life when I've read the Bible daily, almost proudly checking off the requirements on a little chart each day. Other times, I've taken my time, meandering my way through a book or even just a passage. Last summer I took several months to read through the book of Acts. At a minimum, I read each chapter twice, usually in a pattern of chapter 1&2 one day, 2&3 the next, etc. Sometimes I read the same chapter several days in a row. Right now I'm reading through I Corinthians, using my Kay Arthur's inductive study Bible. With my current work schedule, a daily reading was getting to be a chore, and I felt unable to give God my undivided attention. Instead, I'm enjoying getting into Corinthians for several good sessions each week. On the other days, I've been reading from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, or working on a Bible study I do with several friends.

A few years ago, I learned an unusual journaling method. The front 5-6 pages of my notebook are reserved for an index of sorts, with columns for the date, Scripture passage, title and page number. It's an easy way to look back over the weeks and months and at a glance, remember that God has been teaching me. I don't feel obligated to journal daily, which makes the times I do more enjoyable.

When it comes to personal Bible study and devotions, it really is different strokes for different folks. The plan you follow is not so important, as long as you take time to "smell the roses." Are you enjoying your time with God? Is it a stroll through the garden of His presence or a meaningless list of must-do's?

1 comment:

Peg said...

I have been neglecting my time with God and I really miss it! Thanks for your words and reminder how special and important that time is!