One day last summer, I became increasingly frustrated with my life and decided to do something about it once and for all. One specific event triggered this epiphany, but it wasn’t about what happened, as much as it was about what was I going to do about getting my life where I wanted it to be. So I did the unthinkable: I joined a small group bible study at my church. Actually, I joined two.
Pissed off at myself, riddled with guilt and confusion, I figured I hadn’t given bible study a chance in my history of being a Christian, so I thought, let’s do the opposite of what I’d normally do. I tend to do “opposite things” related to my faith when I am most fed up:
- I force myself to read something in the Bible when I’m most pissed off at God (because I don’t read it regularly)
- I go to church in the pouring rain when I am really pissed off at God (like I did yesterday)
- I make fairly audacious prayer requests when all of my Genius Plans have failed me
This time, I’d show God: I was going to join a bible study group. Hmph.
My dad led bible study groups at his church in LA, and a friend said she loved her bible study groups and seemed to become Miss Popularity at church as a result of attending them. But me? The thought of going to bible study seemed…uncomfortable and bizarre. I have problems enough reading and understanding the Bible as it is, what help was it going to be to sit around with 15 other people pouring over the Scriptures?
A few years ago I tried to attend a small group bible study out of support for a friend who went to another church. While I liked the leaders and thought the ladies were nice, I couldn’t help but feel out of place. I’m not sure if it was because all of the women were white (nttawwt), at least 15 years older than me, or that they all went to another church. Either way, I wasn’t feelin it. But, I went to support a friend until she also dropped out. Then I dropped out.
Anyway. This past summer I decided I would join two women’s groups because it would keep my mind focused on being a more committed Christian. I decided I would go every week, to make sure I gave this a solid try. It turns out small group bible study isn’t so bad. It’s more like a book club, where we read those Christian books you might buy but never read. By the end of the summer I was so happy I’d made the decision to do this. I really enjoyed my experiences. I’d met several women and now they are faces I recognize, and names I know when I attend a service on Sunday. I like that I was able to meet women of all colors, ages, and walks of life. Mommies, single women, pastors and professionals.
Imagine my surprise when I was invited to lead a bible study group for the Fall season. While my ego smiled a bit, I was apprehensive. Being a leader isn’t something I shy away from, but being a leader at church? If only they knew how imperfect I am and have been. Who am I to help guide people to God, I thought. But, I was feeling ballsy and well, this bible study thing was working well for me so far, so why not? Besides, all Fall groups read the same book and have discussion questions, so it couldn’t be that difficult.
Leading a small group isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I have felt insecure many times during this process, and I am sure there are some things I could have done better. But, I would definitely do it again. I had a lot of support from church leaders, and I asked my dad about his experiences, which helped a lot. In fact, I’ve decided I am doing it again: next semester I plan on leading a women’s group for the book Boundaries in Dating. I feel a bit weird leading a group about dating since…I have the worst dating life ever…but it is what it is. Much like I am an imperfect person looking to grow stronger in my faith, I am an imperfect dater looking to improve my dating life. Plus, I think it would be interesting to see what some Christians think about dating besides NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE, which by the way? Not really practical or helpful advice.
Tonight is my last meeting for my Fall small group. Our last meetings are always fun activities, so we decided to go to an Irish Pub for trivia night. I will miss my peeps, but I am happy that I was able to get to know them this Fall
P.S. As for those “Opposite Day” tactics I listed above, God always has a funny way of getting the last laugh. Yesterday was one of my better church days ever, after having spent all Saturday fuming at God and asking WHY ME LAWD?; my forceful reading of the Bible always tends to be exactly what I needed to read even if in the moment it seems insignificant; and those audacious prayer requests came true eventually, plus more.