Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Women Living Well- the book study: Chapters 1-3 discussion


How was your first week of reading Women Living Well? I can't wait to hear!!

I'll go through chapter by chapter and highlight some of what stood out to me, and then we'll discuss our ideas down in the comments section of this post!

Introduction- The Voices

I love this way of introducing the book- there are so, so many voices that call to us everyday- many from the outside world. For me- voices that seem to distract me are not necessarily the news or people calling me- it's more like the voices of the world telling me "you're not enough."

The voice of Pinterest calls out to me and says you could do more things yourself- like build that gorgeous table or you could make that skirt yourself instead of buying it. Twitter calls me and says you should speak up more and tweet more often. Email calls me and says you should respond more often or more quickly. Magazines and store websites call me and say you should look more like this...

More, more, more of things that will never satisfy me. Ever.

What if instead, I long for more of Jesus, to become more like Him? He is the only one who can still the voices and fill up the calling for more. Like Courtney says- He is the living water- the source of life.

Chapter 1

But how do we become more like Him?

We get to know Him- and Courtney tells us how we can connect with the Lord- by slowing down and getting away from the voices to hear the one Voice that changes our lives. I loved this:
Sweet reader, when we do not slow down and rest, we miss God’s voice {emphasis mine}. We tend to feel overwhelmed, irritable, frustrated, and unappreciated. Emotionally we can lose our way. We have been deceived into thinking that more is better: more food, more clothes, more toys, and more decorations. More, more, more falsely promises to make us happy. Even when we are pursuing something noble, such as serving others or volunteering, the overactivity threatens to bring chaos to our homes and families.
I know for a fact that quiet time with Jesus makes a huge impact in my life. When I go for extended periods of time without being alone with God, I feel anxiety and sinful anger or irritation build in my chest, and I start to let it out on those around me- especially my family- before I even realize what I'm doing. The battle in my spirit goes from trying to seek the Lord for help and ends up with my setting my eyes on silly temporary things like how messy my house is and how big my list of things to do is.

The Word of God is so powerful- and pouring out my heart to God and seeking His will for each day before it begins doesn't always change my circumstances, but it does change my heart. The kids might still make a huge mess with cereal before I can even walk in the kitchen, but when I've met with the Holy Spirit before I go into my day, I seek His help when I feel overwhelmed instead of acting sinfully angry toward my children.  

I loved this section at the end of the chapter on page 11- it rang so true in my experience:
God wants us to drink deeply of His living water every day. He wants us to find refreshment, comfort, and satisfaction through His Word. David used the analogy of a deer: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1). 
Are we thirsting for Jesus, or have we made ourselves so busy that we don’t even know our soul’s greatest need—solitude with God?

Do you want to be a better wife? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better mother? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better homemaker? Study your Bible.
It's all in one place- the Word of God. We just have to seek after Him there in it.

Chapter 2

But what if we can't find the time?

I think we all have those hard seasons where time alone is rare! That season has just happened to me this very year. ;)

After 3 years of wonderful longer devotion times alone in the morning, I had a new little one in August... :) And like that, I'm tired and just want to sleep through the morning when Zane is actually really sleeping. He wakes up several times a night to nurse, and I'm a very light sleeper. So quiet times have been random and not always possible after I get up running to get to homeschooling or church most days. 

I miss it so very much- and I'm excited to tell you this week was the first time in forever I got to sit down in the morning and drink coffee! The baby was still sleeping when I woke up, so I had some time alone with Jesus. And that time was so precious to me! So, so sweet.

I've been making it a goal of mine for the last few weeks to do devos at lunch- but long quiet times are still not possible for long with a needy baby and a short homeschooling break. But like Courtney says on page 14- my hunger and thirst hasn't died, and Jesus has thankfully been in my thoughts all through the day.

I love her ideas of memorizing and meditating on the Bible by leaving it open on the table or using sticky notes and index cards with verses throughout the day. Seeing God's Word has always been one of the best ways I've been able to keep my mind on Jesus through the day!

One of my favorite ways to meditate on the Bible is to post it all over my house in different places. Sometimes it's printed out on the fridge, sometimes it's right behind my computer screen on my desk, sometimes the verses are just pictures of my actual Bible on my walls! 

Another way I love to meditate on God is to sing praise songs and have them playing in the background. And did you know you can have the Bible read to you as you work? In the summer mornings, I started playing YouVersion aloud on my phone for the kids to listen to with me- and oddly enough they all became quiet and started listening to chapter after chapter! Just hearing the Word of God spoken can change the attitude of those listening- even your kids. It's crazy!!

I'm convinced that if you ask the Lord to give you a time to get away with Him, He will provide it. I'm convicted this week to ask Him and to seek time alone with Him over choosing the internet or entertainment for myself. I want to walk with the King, more than the world. Every single day.

Here are some resources for meditating and memorizing the Word:

Good Morning Girls Online Bible Study {Women Living Well's sister site}
YouVersion
Hide God's Word {website for Bible memorization}
32 Ways to Memorize Scripture {article}
Printable Scriptures for your walls {click on the picture}:

 

A daily tool for planning daily devotion and meditation in your day- the plan:



Chapter 3

Even when you get alone with God, do you find yourself thinking about other things? I know I do! I have found asking God to protect my thoughts so helpful to fight distraction in prayer. My flesh is weak- and it's always so evident when I can't even pray to my Savior without thinking about what I have to do that day. I've occasionally journaled my prayers, and I'm encouraged by this chapter to try that again!

I love the idea of whispering your prayers for your family as you go about your day! It's such a great way to practice praying without ceasing {1 Thess. 5:17}! Doing the laundry is one time I usually talk to Jesus on a regular basis. I just pray about anything and everything as I sort out the clothes. I've also used these ideas in the past for each task to meditate on God during your daily activities- like praying specific prayers when you're applying makeup! :D I want to add more prayer to my daily tasks!

I find the more I pray and seek God, the thirstier I seem to get for Him. Is that true for you too? It's like He quenches the thirst, and makes it stronger all at the same time. I long for Him- I can't get enough of Him- and yet in seeking Him, I'm so full of thanksgiving and joy because of who He is. But at the same time I want to know Him more- to love Him more- to be with Him in eternity. I feel David when he says he pants for Him- I want MORE of God. Do you know what I mean? For now we see through the glass darkly- but then we will see Him face to face. Oh, that's the day I long for!

I have not fasted in prayer yet- but I can understand why you would and what it would do. Have you ever felt something so heavy, it was constantly on your heart, and you just felt the need to be face down on the ground seeking the Lord because you felt so inadequate and you needed Him so much? I would imagine that would be the time to fast. I'd love to hear your experiences with this- what caused you to fast, and what was the outcome? I'm also reminded of Dr. James Dobson who fasted every Tuesday for the salvation of his children- what a great thing to fast for!

Summary

So to summarize these first three chapters- remember: the voices of the world are constantly calling both you and me to move away from the King. We have to realize that we are in a battle and strive to fix our eyes on Jesus! I love how Courtney gently reminds us to realize that we need a plan in place {p. 17} and the help of our God to meet with Him on a constant basis. :) 

In our homes, we can look for quiet times to escape the noise, but even in the noise of regular life we can still pray for our families, we can study and meditate on God's word, we can memorize it, we can fast in prayer, and we can come before the throne continually throughout our day to quench our thirst for the Living Water. Thank you Jesus, for giving us ways to meet with you through the day!

Oh Father, we love you and praise you for your goodness- thank you for giving us a new heart that seeks you- a heart that longs for your voice out of a million others. It's only because of you that we could ever hear it at all- and you have shown us mercy in giving us salvation by which we can see and hear your voice through faith in your Son. Please hear our cry for you Lord- please help us to fix our eyes on you instead of anything else. Please give us a way to meet with you each day- so that we can find our joy in you and nothing else. We love you and we praise you for your Word. Please let us increase in the knowledge of your will for us and please allow us to shine your glory to those in our homes and around us. I thank you for these women and I pray that you will bless them as they strive to become more like you. We love you Jesus. 

Let's Discuss!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about the first three chapters and your study guide questions in the comments below! Here are my questions for you- but feel free to ask questions or kindly reply and share your thoughts too with other girls in the comments!

Have you made a plan to meet with the Lord each day? 

How do you quiet the voices of the world so that you can stay fixed on Jesus? 

How has your quiet time changed your walk or even your week?

How has not having a quiet time changed your attitude in the past?



here are the previous posts about the WLW study:
Women Living Well: the book study {intro}
Women Living Well book study: Week 1 Assignment and Study Guide


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