Lately I have been a bit overwhelmed, and a few mornings ago when I should have been sleeping, instead I was awake with my mind pondering the phrase “too much of a good thing.” I came into this situation gradually, but also somewhat quickly, since the middle of December.
For years I had rather haphazardly studied God’s Word. It was a study here and there, and certainly was much easier when I had a home church that offered Bible studies for women. I had to be real dedicated to fit in my Bible readings, and complete my study lessons, as life so easily could get in the way. I grew in knowledge of the Bible, but most of the lessons faded away. I was studying things on the surface, and not really taking the time to internalize, to understand, to absorb what was being taught to me.
When I ran across study Bibles, in translations written that I could comprehend, I found a whole new world of understanding was at my fingertips. There, in that Bible, I had a guide, by someone much wiser than me, that helped me to understand the meanings behind passages. I found that I enjoyed looking at many different translations, and examining what respected Bible commentators had to say. With the advent of the internet, I can search for verses and commentaries and have instant access to wisdom that far exceeds mine. I found that when I took the time, I learned so much more.
Once I came out on the road with my husband, I had time on my hands. I missed the connections that I had with other women of faith. I needed to have some interaction, and some really Biblically sound teachings. Space is severely limited so I could only bring one hard copy of the Bible in the rig with me – my trusty John MacArthur ESV study Bible. At first our internet was severely limited so I couldn’t do the research that I wanted, nor could I partake in an online Bible study. Then, that situation changed. We got internet connections that I could use, I could research to my heart’s content. I could really study the Word.
I found online Bible Studies, my favorite is First 5, and I’ve been a member for First 5 since the spring of 2016. Wow! Great! A way for me to connect with other women of faith. I combined my online study with my journaling. My faith, my reflection upon, and my understanding of God’s Word has increased substantially. I find the more I study God’s Word, the more I learn, the greater my faith, and the more I want to learn. I’m loving it, I am writing about it. I got encouragement from God, and based upon my reflections I got plenty of encouragement from others, so my musings then turned into a blog – something I really enjoy doing. Lots of good things there.
One of the things that I’ve wanted to accomplish is reading through the Chronological Bible, and many years ago I purchased one. It now sits at home. Sadly, I confess that I didn’t make it too far in that Bible. So in December 2017 when I came across the opportunity to join an online Bible study that reads through the Chronological Bible in a year, I thought “that’s the ticket!” Just think about how my wisdom and understanding will increase, and also I would be checking off a box in my goals (I like to check off boxes). I thought about it, I prayed about it, and I joined the study. It’s another reading everyday, and a short online teaching video. Good stuff there too.
Then recently, one of the First 5 teachers, came out with a five week Bible Study. I really like her teachings on First 5 and I have not taken a Bible study from her. To have an opportunity to learn more from her seemed ideal. And so I thought, why not? But, I really didn’t pray over doing this study on top of the other studies that I am doing. It’s only five weeks. I can do anything for five weeks. I’ve almost gotten through all of the first week. Really good stuff there.
I am flooding my time with these good things. Three Bible studies at one time. My blog, and another “travelogue” that I do on Facebook. All good stuff, actually great stuff! But, all this stuff at one time, along with frequently driving the rig, and tending to all the book work of our business, has found me with my attention severely fractured. So, no wonder the phrase too much of a good thing was top of my mind this morning.
Being this involved in all of my good things, showed me something really important. When my finger is in so many pots, I am spending nearly all of my time, running from one pot to the next to give each a little stir. I’m getting drabs of Biblical nutrition from the little tastes that I get off of spoons, but I’m not ever able to sit down at the table, and ingest God’s Word so that it truly nourishes me, grows my faith, increases my understanding. My reflections have grown weak and infrequent. The depth of the connection I feel to God and the Word is not there. I cannot have God fill up my cup to the brim, if I am stopping at many places for a drop, or a sip, at a time. Or worse yet, God cannot fill my cup when I am holding a sieve. And right now, I feel like I’m holding that sieve.
I, a person, who has been overcommitted in the past, recognize that I’ve overcommitted myself. Something’s got to give! I cannot handle all these good things at once. I must prioritize just what gives me the most joy. I already know the answer to that! I have found the most fulfillment, the most growth through the First 5 Bible study app, so, that study stays. I have to drop one study so that I can focus my attention on the one I love the best. And, if that doesn’t ease this fractured focus then another one will have to go. By letting go of some of the good stuff, I am able to focus on the best stuff.
How about you? Can/have you overcommit(ed) yourself too? Have you ever given up some things so that you can concentrate on the best thing?