September Discipline: Study/Reading 09/23/2009

Posted by Dave Clayton on

I typically give studying a bad rap because it takes time, discipline, and quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of reading for understanding. I’d much rather be talking with real people.

I’ve thought really hard about what it means to me to “study”.  There’s definitely more to it than just reading.  One thing that’s really fun about studying is how you can read something one time and it means nothing. Then, when you read it again, it means something so powerful it moves you.  I often try to interpret what the Bible says and apply it to my life before I even understand it.  So my first mission while reading ought to be determining what it actually says.  Only after I understand what it’s trying to say should I even attempt to ask what it means to me. I had heard of people going on personal spiritual retreats, but had never done one myself.  Preface to this story: I am in no way a Bible scholar or a mountain of spiritual knowledge.

This past weekend I spent two days at a monastery called the Abbey of Gethsemani.  By myself. No phone. No iPod. I had only my journal and the books Crazy Love, Fathered by God, and the Bible.  Over the course of a normal business day I probably send and receive over 100 emails, 100 texts, and spend upwards of 6 hours on the phone.  This Abbey was quite the contrast to my life. I was silent for two days.  I read intently, took notes, and prayed.

It’s so tough getting past your own sin to concentrate on the word of God when you’re in that intimate of a setting. I prayed and confessed to God on the drive there, and it was pretty relieving to feel that slide away as I read scripture. I wanted to give Him my time, not Satan. To combat the tendency to wander I had a separate sheet just to jot down stray thoughts and get them off my mind. While I read, I wrote down explanations of verses and thoughts of what they might mean.

It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.  Getting away from my apartment and Nashville was definitely instrumental in the whole process.  It was, however, difficult to commit and say I wasn’t going to all the happenings in town. Study has a whole new meaning to me now, and I’m so happy I was able to leave normal life, if only for a brief moment, to hear some of what the Word is trying to say to us today.

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