Can I be honest for a moment?
I absolutely dread Bible studies.
For me, they fall in the same category as yoga classes- one of those things that you dread until you actually go- and only once you arrive are you grateful that you did.
They’re great in that you walk out feeling clean and healthy- the same way you feel after eating a really healthy salad. And it’s that feeling that keeps you coming back.
Or at least that’s how it is for me.
I’ve started going to a Bible study every other Thursday, put on by a fantastic woman I work with.
Just like yoga class, I dread it each time (I’m sorry Jess!), thinking of the countless things I’d rather be doing instead. The problem is that the list doesn’t include much more than wearing PJ’s and doing nothing- which is not a good enough excuse to skip it. So I’ve gone- twice.
The first night was incredible- we barely talked- just listening to music and spending time in God’s presence. I walked out feeling clean and healthy and so glad that I went.
This last Thursday, it was the same drill. I didn’t want to go. My PJ’s and my couch were calling my name- but I made a compromise and wore my PJ’s and sat on Jess’s couch. Almost the same thing.
Our assignment was easy: look at the last two years, notice what God’s done and thank Him for it.
I started slowly, jotting down notes every few minutes, slowly warming up as my mind straggled into the room. But after a few minutes I began writing faster, my eyes wide with amazement. I was remembering moments and worries and questions that I had during the past two years and could only now see that each one had been turned out more perfectly than I ever could have predicted.
I sat there, taking in the details of a brilliant tapestry woven out of my disappointments, victories, questions and dreams.
Exhausted from writing and flushed with amazement, I flopped back into the cushy folds of the couch and took a deep breath- understanding in a real and tangible way that God hasn’t left me- not even for a second. He’s been intimately involved in each moment of my life, weaving the story together perfectly.
And then I realized something else.
At various times in the past two years, I’ve been a complete disaster. I’ll spend a week or so feeling shiny and polished, like I finally have it all together, and then something changes. The wind blows differently and I’ll find myself on the ground, sticky and messy and tear stained- having forgotten all about grace and mercy and love.
I began to glance back and forth between the beautiful perfection of the past two years and the tangled mess I’ve been at least 2/3 of that time. There was a piece missing… and it took me a minute to realize what it was.
In the perfection of His plan, the deep, beautiful perfection, my perfection was noticeably absent.
I’ve never had it all together. I can never consistently get it right. I can’t go more than a week without feeling like I am a huge disappointment to God, feeling like He must be in heaven banging His head against a wall as He watches me forget Him over and over again.
But that didn’t mess things up.
God’s plan is not contingent on me getting it right all the time.
God’s will can be done, His good, pleasing and perfect will, in people who forget His love constantly- who try to get it right and rarely do.
And there in my PJ’s, standing victoriously on the firm, beautiful truth of the last two years, I realized that God’s plan is always perfect, even though I’m not.