This is my last post for our Beth Moore LBY study — I think we were supposed to end last Friday — but I fell further and further behind. The end of the school year filled up my “spare” time (as if that even exists), and we also took a family vacation last week. My mind was on packing up our family of seven for the beach — and even though I wrote a few posts ahead of time, I just couldn’t get this one written.
Overall, this was a great study — Beth Moore is one of the most incredible Bible teachers I’ve ever heard. I finally realized what it is about her that makes her so effective — it’s her stories. I don’t know if she just has a fantastic memory or if it’s her preparation before each lesson (probably both) — but she never makes a single point without fleshing it out with half a dozen well chosen anecdotes. She tells stories about herself, people she knows, and of course she brings to life heroes and heroines of the Bible, making us feel like we know them personally.
Before each lesson, Beth reviewed the sign language for the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit — and she gave us a little phrase to remember for each one:
Love never fails.
The last two sessions covered the topics of gentleness and self-control. Honestly, I was surprised at where she took the topic of gentleness. I admit that I’m a little squeamish about the word “meek.” I don’t consider myself a meek person — though my husband reminds me that the Biblical form of meekness connotes strength. Beth focused on how “the way up is always down.” As we learn to bow before Christ with humility, we can learn to follow His ways. She spent a good deal of time discussing the story of Job, and how his trials were deeply wounding and emotionally charged — similar to those of Jesus Christ.
Several points stuck with me — but mainly she said we need to slow down our pace of life and “Be still before the throne of God” so that He can heal us. If we’ve been hurt or have raw, jagged wounds from something, we can’t expect them to be bound (healed) without time. “Wounds need binding, and binding take time,” she said. Even though wounds may eventually be healed, sometimes there are scars — the same way that Christ had nail scars in his hands. These scars remain so that others can touch them — and see that since we survived, maybe they can too.
The final session of the study was on self-control. Beth’s teaching focused mainly on our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. She said there are two extremes — we can either neglect our temples, or become obsessed by them. In the Old Testament, this is what God was constantly having to chastise His people for: neglect of the physical temple — or idolatry.
I was shocked when she said this: the three or four generations of people that occupy our planet today are the first media-driven culture ever. “This is huge,” she said. “We’re basing how we view ourselves on something that’s not even real.”
I’d never really thought about it — but my great-grandmother did not have to stand in the check-out line at the grocery store and compare her body to women on the front of magazines. Even at Publix, which covers the sleazy ones up (thanks to one of my friends talking to management), it’s still easy to compare how you look to those models on the magazine covers and wonder if you too should be “sexy after 40.” I don’t think my great-grandmother thought much about toning up her abs so she could wear a midriff-bearing tank top!
Beth told a story about how she was with some models waiting to go on a TV show, and they were flipping through a magazine looking at some of their own photographs, and one of them said, “Look at this! Here’s my face, but those are NOT my legs!” So what we’re seeing in the media is digitally doctored and not even real. No wonder so many women struggle with low self-images. Beth Moore says it’s nothing but idolatry, and in her best Texas drawl she implored us to “Learn to do what we need to do, then GET ON WITH LIVING.”
There are so many more stories she told — but the main idea I got is that we need to recapture the “lost art of moderation.” Moderation! We shouldn’t go to the extremes of neglecting ourselves (letting those love handles get thicker every year) — and neither should we become obsessive and make our diets and exercise into a false god.
The study ended with her praying for us all — that we would dedicate our temple (our mind, body, and soul) in its entirety to the “living fruit of the Word of God.”
I’m Almost Done!
This is a long post — but I have to add a few more things about the format of this study because I’m not sure if it’s ever been done in this way before! We started out with a group of 30 women bloggers from all over the world. At first, I was so excited about the study — and I knew this is what God wanted me to be doing. In fact, I thought maybe the whole purpose for my blogging was because of this study — since several people who read about it here joined the group and told others about it on their blogs. The more the merrier, I thought.
Our instructions were to watch the video on Monday, do the homework throughout the week, then post about what we learned on Friday night or Saturday. We were also encouraged to go visit and comment on the other women’s blogs in our group to show support for each other.
I did this faithfully the first few weeks. I posted on time, then I spent a couple of hours throughout the weekend visiting and commenting on other blogs. But after visiting about 15, my head began to spin. I couldn’t always come up with a unique comment when several people already commented before me. I resorted to exclamation points and smiley faces to fill up for my lack of words. I sincerely wanted to encourage each blogger who took the time to share her heart. And wow — there was a lot of deep soul-searching in these posts.
I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to keep up — it’s one thing to sit in a room of people and make comments on things you’re learning — yet it’s something entirely more terrifying to voice your thoughts out for anyone in the world to read — ZIP! As soon as your words are sucked up by the latest RSS feeder. You can’t take them back or change your mind. After a few weeks, I began to lose steam.
Others did too, it seems. We’re women — busy tending our households, jobs, families, little league games, moving, teaching at retreats, traveling, sharing recipes, making summer plans, etc. None of us knew how to hold each other accountable — I mean, in a group that meets in person, you can just say, “Hey, I missed you last week — is everything OK?” But with a blogger, you might feel like you’re being nosy or critical if you ask why they didn’t post about it.
Yet so many positive things did come out of this study — for me and for others as well. And I’ve only begun to grasp these concepts on a deeper level. I’ll be doing this study again in the fall with a group of moms who have our children together in preschool. We’ll have refreshments of course and lots of laughter — and through meeting together, we’ll learn and grow — and pray for each other.
I think this would be a wonderful study for teenage girls — they need this wisdom NOW. If you have a teenage girl in your household, this would be awesome for her and a group of her friends to study together. You can learn more about Beth Moore here at Living Proof Ministries (including an update written by Beth about her recent health scare.)