I can't believe I am in week 6 of the Tour of Duty Bible Study. Below are the questions for Chapter 5, along with my answers. Even if you aren't participating in the study, still feel free to comment.
1. We’re in our sixth week of this study – only 2 weeks left!! What has God taught you recently through the journey of deployment? It can be big or small.
Although I am not going through a deployment right now, I feel that God is truly preparing my heart for one. I am learning so much: don't lose heart, God has a plan, and although not everyone will understand, I am NOT alone.
2. What did you think about this chapter this week? Have you found yourself on a Mountain for One recently? If you feel comfortable, share what that’s been like.
With any season of life, I think we do find ourselves on a Mountain for One. I think it is only natural for us to want to escape and even do so a little. It may be even a little "healthy" to do so with the right perspective. However, we must not stay there too long.
1Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour."
If we stay on our Mountain of One and in our Cave too long not seeking a way out, the devil will devour us. Although we need some down time, too much is a bad thing. I'm finding more and more we need to find balance in our lives.
3. If you feel comfortable, share your response to the question on page 75 regarding a time when you wanted to give up.
This is totally not military related, may even seem a little petty, but...each year our church holds a block party. We have food, games, prizes, inflatables, music, and a cake walk. This actual event drew my family to the church a few years earlier. Each year the "help" gets smaller and smaller. Last year, I did almost all the work. It was very frustrating. I was just a committee member and took care of most of the planning. Even some people didn't want to get the big tent for our meal because of the cost (those same people sure enjoyed that tent though!). At the end of the months of planning and the actual event, I told my pastor I wanted off the committee, that it wasn't my job to do it all, and I didn't even get to enjoy the event with my family because I was too busy working it. God got me then. It wasn't about me, but I made it that way. The whole event is about Him and I forgot that during my pity party. I later apologized to my pastor for my attitude and told him I would love to continue to be a part of the event.
4. To which CAVE do you most often retreat in hard times?
I think I retreat to the CAVE of Self Pity. It is mental though. I don't normally talk about it. I gripe to myself. I don't share my heartaches too often. I usually just quit keeping up with my responsibilities for a few days until I get over myself.
5. What has God already done in your life that you missed because you weren’t looking?
I think I missed out on things due to fear. My middle school music teacher encouraged my to be in the high school color guard, but I didn't feel like I was good enough. I even backed out of living in the dorms in college due to fear, of what, I don't know. I just chickened out. When you lack self esteem fear grips you and you miss out on what God can offer you. Those things could have built my confidence and provided great experiences.
6. Read Philippians 4:8 and discuss your thoughts. What other verses has God used to encourage you?
When I read Philippians 4:8, I am reminded that whatever we set our thoughts upon is what we become. We can make excuses for ourselves about many things to make us "not look so bad." When we do, that becomes our lifestyle. One thing I am seeing now is that some women that I care about are convincing themselves they need a break from their husbands and children, so for them it is ok to go out to clubs just to get away. I think that is asking for trouble. I don't see anything wrong with some moms taking time to go to dinner to hang out to talk, but going out drinking to places where others are there to hook up, not so good. We have to be very careful of becoming worn out. We shouldn't view our families, our lives, or the season we are in as a burden, when we do, that is asking Satan to come on in and take over.
I love Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. It reminds me that each day is a gift. We are not promised tomorrow, so we should make the most of today.
7. Like Elijah, what action is God telling you to do?
I think God is telling me to be in his presence. So many times I find myself slipping away from Him because I have made my life so busy and so unorganized. I need to focus on Him.
8. How has God been whispering encouragement to you this week?
I think he is whispering, "Balance. Me first, then family. I'm with you."
9. How do you make reading your Bible a priority? When do you do this? What tips can you share with other women in the group?
Unfortunately, just sitting down reading the Bible, doesn't always happen. Like many, I make excuses on why I don't: busy with responsibilities, tired, you name it, I probably said it. However, I love a group study. For me, at this time in my life, it works for me. I have a group who is holding me accountable, I can discuss and get other perspectives, yet still hold to what God is telling me.