I am thrilled to be blogging through our Breaking Free study by Beth Moore with Women’s Bible Café. You can find them at http://womensbiblecafe.org/.
I stood in the sticker/planner aisle at Hobby Lobby almost giddy with excitement. Who am I kidding? I WAS giddy with excitement. Give me a new planner and matching clips and stickers and something laminated and I am one happy camper. THIS planner was going to change my life though. It wasn’t going to be for my day to day appointments, or work commitments, or homework assignments. This one was going to be a PRAYER binder. I had seen this so many times in so many blog posts and I just had to have one. I watched many YouTube videos on just how to do it. A prayer binder has a place to assign different types of prayer requests to different sections of the planner. Maybe a different section for each day of the week. Maybe a different section for each situation you are praying over. Or different people to pray for. Or a combination of all of it. The point was, when you were done making the planner you now had a place for a guided prayer time and a place to write prayer requests and the answers to prayer. I loved it. All.of.it. I picked out the perfect cover, the perfect paper inserts, dividers, matching clippies and washi tape for the whole project. And I made an AMAZING prayer binder.
And it sat. On the desk. For months. Unopened. Day after day it was a glaring reminder to me of an ingrained spiritual habit…I was more concerned with creating a SYSTEM of worship and walking with God than I was with actually doing the thing.
I fell into this trap in a myriad of different ways but it always ended up the same way. I would hear about some spiritual discipline and some very well-meaning person trying to encourage me in my walk would tell me how they practiced it. Because let’s be serious here, I wanted all the details. How are you close with God? How did you get to be so spiritual? So they would tell me what their routine was and I would try my level best to duplicate it.
But if I couldn’t duplicate it exactly, I wouldn’t attempt it at all. It had to be all or nothing. It had to be RIGHT.
One of the obstacles we are exploring in our study this week has to do with legalism, or what I call “Jesus Plus.” It’s the concept that in order to walk with Jesus correctly, you needed Jesus plus fill-in-the-blank. Jesus plus the right church. Jesus plus the right translation of the bible. Jesus plus a certain kind of family. How about Jesus plus a certain amount of faith? Jesus plus something…never just Jesus. I didn’t and don’t go to a church that promotes this in any sense of the concept. This is all Dawn, every day. The pursuit of perfection in a place where the beauty of the gospel is that Jesus came for the imperfect.
I sincerely wish I could say that the prayer binder situation was a distant memory from when I was a new believer, but the binder went from the desk to a moving box just a few months ago, 20+ years into my walk. I am so grateful that my eyes are being opened to the chains that I have placed on myself.
Stay in the Word this week dear friends. Keep walking even when it gets hard.
Oh and PS…there is not one thing wrong with an awesome prayer binder! Do whatever works for you. I promise if you show it to me I won’t go over the deep end.