One of the unexpected joys of the internet is the opportunity for Online Bible Study. Some of us don’t live relatively close to our church and have numerous and regular outside-the-home commitments on top of our commitments at the home. Some of us are introverts (Hi There), and yet God plopped us in the middle of a bustling house with other people. For some of us, the thought of more conversation by the end of the day–with makeup and “good clothes” on makes us want to curl up in our closet. And sometimes, it’s just that kind of season in life, where you want some community, but on your own terms.
If you found yourself shaking your head in agreement with anything I said above or if anything above resonated deep in your heart and soul, an Online Bible study just might be for you. And let me say, just because anything or everything above resonated, doesn’t mean this season you’re in is a forever season; it might just be a “right now” season in your life.
An Online Bible Study Solution
Maybe around five years ago when I was really struggling with my mind, I came across this verse found in Sirach 30:21-23,
Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not distress yourself deliberately. A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span. Indulge yourself and take comfort, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and no advantage ever comes from it.
I realized the truth in it…I was part of my problem. There were some extenuating circumstances that needed to be addressed and resolved, but the thoughts I allowed to roll around in my mind were keeping me hostage to anxiety, depression, and fear as well.
I started searching for tips, tricks, and tools to help me get out of this rut of destructive and negative thinking. At one point I remember thinking, “I’ve tried the methods the world and society say will make me feel better, and they don’t–and if they do work, it is only a temporary fix.”
I keep searching, frantically at times because the emotional pain and sorrow were overwhelming at times. And then I found it! I found a soul-healing, heart-mending fix that didn’t go away when my external circumstances changed. The Bible. Yes, my Bible–my rarely used, underappreciated, hard-to-find, dusty Bible–turned out to be one of the major helps in overcoming my mind. (The other was The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life by Tommy Newberry)
Now, how to use it? I needed guidance, encouragement, and support but I also didn’t have the time or honestly the inclination to go somewhere. I was struggling with daily life in a hard way. The thought of dressing myself up and being company ready…and bringing snacks no less, not only didn’t appeal to me, it seemed absolutely impossible in my current state of mind and emotions.
Although I looked–Google search after Google search–I could not find an Online Bible Study that addressed the problem I was ready to break free from, had a “come as you are” atmosphere, and a “go at your own pace” feel. I seriously needed the comfy pajama-in-bed feel and I just couldn’t find it.
What I could find were “Scriptures about Depression,” or “Depression Scriptures,” but nothing that addressed the problem biblically and then taught me to use those scriptures to fight the bad thinking habits I had become accustomed to. Listen closely, I am not saying or even implying depression is just a bad thinking habit. I’m telling you, that what I was struggling with at the time: anxiety, fear, and some depression was being fed…and boy howdy did I feed it well…it was being fed by my bad thinking habits.
I would feel bad, so I would sit around and assess how bad I felt. And I’d think about how bad I had felt the day before and how bad I was probably going to feel tomorrow. I would read the scriptures of the broken-hearted, the lost, forsaken, and desperate. But that’s where it ended–I had no idea how to actually use these verses to help and heal. After coming across the verse, I started searching out verses about “Delight,” “Gladness,” and “Rejoicing.”
Without realizing it, I was creating my own little Online Bible study, just me and my computer. Good, good, it was a start. But it was still lacking.
I would love to say it was easy to just sit down, read happy Bible verses, and then feel happy. It was not easy. But it was simple. All I needed to do was make time with God reading His Word. The more time I spent with God in His Word, I noticed some of those old thinking habits changing. Again, a great start, but still lacking. We are made for community. Our Lord lived in community and founded community with His apostles and disciples; community matters!
How to Find an Online Bible Study Community
I knew I needed to be in and using the Word of God–check! But the community was part was still lacking. As a worn-out, highly sensitive, introverted, stay-at-home mom, knowing I needed community was a little intimidating. And I’m not ashamed to admit I tried to ignore the pull. But God…it finally got to the point that if I couldn’t find the community I needed, I was going to have to…start one.
And that my friends is how our Online Bible Study Community was born. From the desperation I felt trying to “get better”, to the continual nudging from God, to the conversation I had one day with a blogging friend who told me, “Maybe you’re not just a blogger anymore? Maybe the Lord wants to use you to form an Online Bible Study Community?”
If you’re interested in learning more about the hows and whys of our Online Bible Study Community, I’m offering a peek inside the end of this month. June 26-30 we will be reading, writing, praying, and studying “Community in the Bible.” Click here to get your free printable worksheets with a Scripture Writing Plan and a Journaling Reflection sheet. There will also be a private Facebook group where we will meet in community.