A : On my best days, I wish I could stay in my quiet time spot all day long and read the Bible like it was my job. On my worst days, I don’t pick it up at all, for the day, a week, or more. Oh how I wish all my days were like my best, but I think its the other days that make me cherish the ones where I devour Scripture and can’t get enough.
I love reading in the a.m. And honestly if I don’t read in the morning I don’t read at all. My goal is to wake up around 6:30 on the weekdays and leave for work around 8:45. That doesn’t happen nearly as often as I like, but it’s the goal. Lol.
About 2 years ago I started on You Version “Chronological 1 Year” plan. I am a visual person, so checking off what I read for the day and seeing my progress by percentage completed was really encouraging to keep going and stay on track. For about 8 months, I read almost everyday and if I missed a day I usually made it up! While reading through the Old Testament, I took notes here and there and journaled when I felt like God was opening my eyes to something. The more I read and prayed for God to open my eyes, the more He would show me! I have been amazed that I could read a story or passage I have heard a hundred times with a new, fresh perspective, and pick up on details I always skimmed over! Once I got to the Gospels I decided to slow down and really study those. (I’m still in Luke right now!) There is something so special about Jesus words and ministry that makes me just want to look so closely at it and squeeze all that I can from it. So now, I right out the summary of the passage and then make observations about it and then kind of right what lessons it is telling me. A lot of times I also right out questions, like “I think it is saying this.. is it?” and just pray that God would show me if that thinking is true. I usually end up getting some clarity when I read more and start to understand more of God’s character!
THE TOOLS :
Even though I also use the bible on my phone, I just love to read from an actual bible. I have a few different ones, and hope to start using my journaling Bible once I read “Writing in the Margins” and put those techniques into practice.
You Version App (I-Pad or Phone)
I have been reading the Chronological plan. And I also use it to look up several different versions of the same scripture. I rotate NIV, CEV, ESV, MSG, NLT.
I love writing, like the physical act of it, and taking notes and making outlines is my favorite! (In college, I used to sit in class and make outlines from the textbook, instead of listening to the teacher and if I had one mess up, I’d start all over!)
* I would recommend Gretchen’s “Give Me Jesus Journal” for a more guided notebook on journaling your bible readings. I plan to get one once I finish mine that I’m in now!
66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb
I have spoken about this book before, because I really loved it a lot! For each book of the Bible, there is a couple pages of conversation between a man and & God about the purpose of a particular book. The man asks questions and tells God what he thinks it’s about and the God tells him what point is the book is trying to make and where it fits in with the story as a whole. This book really helped to give me a picture of the Bible as a whole and how all these sometimes seemingly random books make sense together. It was especially helpful for books live Leviticus or Deuteronomy where it seemed like just a bunch of customs and rules.
Matthew Henry Commentary App (I-Pad)
This commentary is pretty lengthy and detailed, so sometimes I just skim through, but it is great to have when I am really curious about a small phrase or part of the story, because it does not skip over anything!
This website has tons of commentaries, so if you look up some verses, you will see what each commentary has to say about it. “Matthew Henry Concise” and “Elliots” are 2 of my favorites.
VMP Prayer Journal
It’s not a part of actual Bible study, but I couldn’t NOT mention my VMP prayer journal :) It’s done wonders for my prayer time and I like to add scriptures that I want to focus on to my page.
(The shop is closed now, but she will reopen in September and launch the new collection!)
THE PROCESS :
Obvious… but when I pray for open eyes, open ears, and an open heart, He reveals so much. It also shows me that it is the Holy Spirits working in my life, and it’s something I cannot take the credit for.
Read through the passage.
Read different versions.
Read the same story in other books (this happens a lot in Matthew, Mark & Luke and the CEV version on the You Version app tells you where else the story is found).
I like to write out the basic sequence of what happens. I try to be pretty detailed, because I know that there are some things I would tend to skip over that actually is useful for teaching.
Next, I write out my observations, questions I may have, or ideas that I am connecting to other things I have read. Depending on the type of passage, I may do a comparison, a chart, an “if this.. then this..” type of thing, etc.
After I have written out what I got from the Scriptures, I like to read the commentaries and see if my interpretations are similar or if they offer any other insight that I didn’t get.
I would love it if this was more regular to pray after I read everyday, but that doesn’t usually happen, as I look at the clock and realize I will be late for work. Lol. But ideally I would pray that the Lord would confirm what He showed me, that I would think about it throughout my day, and thank Him for speaking to me through His Word.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. Reading the Bible has been the most important aspect of transforming my life and my heart to look more like Jesus. Don’t wait! Make the time to do it. And a quick note… I think it is important to remember that books & commentary are great to read and can be helpful to bring understanding, but the Bible is the Word of God and should hold utmost importance. Pray that God would give you discernment to recognize truth and recognize the lies when reading other peoples interpretations of Scripture (including mine!).
Q : How should one deal with the frustration of being single? Going to weddings and showers?
A : The frustration of being single is just like the frustration we experience any other time we don’t get what we want. It is probably our own expectations of what was supposed to happen that put us there and we tend to exacerbate the frustration when we constantly dwell on what we don’t have. It is easy to get to that place, because the world really does put those expectations in our head, but that is something we have to remember… It is the world’s plans for us to be married by a certain age, not God’s.
Depending on what stage of life you are in, you may be SURROUNDED by engagements, weddings, and babies! It probably feels like everyone is rubbing it in your face, but deep down we know that they aren’t. It is an exciting and pivotal time in anyone’s life and it deserves a celebration! Unfortunately, even knowing that, it can still be hard to find the strength to celebrate with others, so here are a few tips that really helped me:
Fake It (At first)
I am a big proponent of “fake it till you make it!”. Not because I am a fake person… I am actually a very open and honest person and will answer almost anything you’d ask (so keep the questions coming ;) ), but I do think that sometimes we need to force our self to act a certain way, before we actually FEEL like it. I think that this lines up with the fact that our emotions should not guide our actions, but truth should and sometimes we need to act based on the truth before we FEEL like it. In this case, the truth is that we should celebrate with our friends the way that we would want to be celebrated. If we wait until we FEEL like it, we may miss lots of sweet opportunities to celebrate our besties.
The more I said “I love celebrating others” and “wedding and showers are so special and fun!” the more I felt those things! If you are constantly talking about how these events make you feel sad and make you feel like you are behind the curve, then you are giving those ideas a hold on you and they will stick around until you force them out. But I get it… because I did it. One of my favorite phrases to say was “I can’t believe I am going to her 2nd or 3rd shower and I haven’t even had one”. Yikes! I said this for a little while and it started out as a joke at first, but then I really began to feel this way and get frustrated with that fact. Once I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and realized that these showers and weddings weren’t going away anytime soon ;), I changed my tune and it made all the difference.
We have got to shift our perspective. Think about if you were in the position of your friends and you had a bunch of mopey bridesmaids, because it wasn’t their turn yet. It would be a pretty big buzz kill during a really special and exciting time in your life. Instead concentrate on your friend and what blessings they are experiencing, not the blessings you wish you were experiencing. I would also say that when you pray, don’t spend the whole time praying that God would give you the strength to “endure” another event for someone else. Pray that the Lord would be a part of the celebration, to bless your friends new marriage or baby, and for Him to be seen in it all. I think we sometimes masks our self focused attitudes by calling it prayer.
I hope that this doesn’t sound harsh or insensitive. I do understand that it can be a struggle to spend your 20’s single, going to weddings and hosting showers for others who are experiencing something you greatly desire. But take it from me… I have been a maid-of-honor 3x, a bridesmaid 5x, hosted over 10 showers, planned 3 bachelorette trips, and actually helped my sister (an ex-wedding planner) at over 30 weddings. I grew to LOVE weddings and I have the best memories from each of those events spent with my very best friends! I miss those times dearly and am so glad I didn’t waste time on myself and I don’t want you to either!
Q : How did you write a devotional?
A : Can I be totally honest and say that I straight up fell into writing “Wholeheartedly” ??? Y’all, I am not a writer. If you read through this and don’t catch at least a few grammatical mistakes or miss-spellings I will give you a $100. Ok ok … not really, but still… I AM NOT A WRITER. I never had a dream to write like my sister or brother and to be really, really honest I never really had a dream of anything I wanted to do or a passion to pursue. But thank God that did not stop Him from granting me this privilege. You can read more about it here & here.
My process for writing was not necessarily organized or very complicated. When we got back from our beach trip, where I decided to write “Wholeheartedly”, I bought a notebook and wrote on the top of the pages the topics I wanted to write about. I kept a running list and added to it continuously. I went back through all my journals, saved screen shots, verses I’d highlighted in my You Version App, old sermons that I had saved, and added these verses, that had ultimately all together changed my perspective on singleness, to the topics that they applied to. I quickly began to see that the Lord had been showing me truths for YEARS about this topic that I was about to write about. I had been doing all that pretty casually and then Val was like … “We are launching Feb 11… you better be ready :)” ! I was freaking out, because I honestly never thought it would ever happen. And it may not have if she didn’t push me. So for about 3 weeks I wrote constantly! On the weekends I spent 10-15 hours in my chair and every single night too. I even skipped work and took a little break from spending time with Josh to get it done. Honestly, the process of writing the devotional was an extremely humbling experience that drew me so close to the Lord. I prayed constantly that the Holy Spirit would speak through me and I’d read over passages I wrote and didn’t know where it came from. I felt the Lord in ways I never had before through this process!
Val designed the devotional, which I was thrilled about, because she did such a great job and made it look so professional. And it was so fun working with her, no matter what she may say :) The plan was to sell it in her shop, cause I had no experience started a business and honestly didn’t think I could handle doing it on the side of my regular job. But we decided very quickly that I should open my own little shop and I am so glad I did!!! I probably wouldn’t have started this blog or been able to connect with you guys directly like I have been able to do, which is seriously so fun!
Thanks for all the good questions ladies ! If you have anymore you can email me, post in the comments below, or use #AskNatalieMet on Instagram!
I’m already working on another post with some of the other questions you asked about make-up and skincare! :)