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Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Ways To Examine Your Life (If You’re Into That Sort Of Thing)

I have a confession to make. It’s really weird. (Or at least I would have thought it was if you told me you were doing it.)


(You may or may not suddenly imagine Charlton Heston as you read this.)

I’ve started reading the 10 commandments out loud every morning.

I bet you’ll have one of three reactions to that statement.

  1. “How archaic and weird.”
  2. “Oh no. She’s gonna give me one more thing to do, that I don’t have time do.”
  3. “Yes, of course. Doesn’t everyone?”

Wherever you find yourself, I hope you’ll give me a minute to explain.

At the beginning of this year, I ran across my Grandmother’s Bible on my shelf. I carefully sat down with it, cross-legged in my floor and felt a deep connection to her as I thumbed through the pages. There was a reading assignment for each day of the year, starting with Genesis, ending with Revelation.

I have studied the Bible in sentences, stories, chunks, and chapters in my life, but never actually sat down and read it front to back. I’ve tried at different times, but quickly got lost and/or grossed out and/or overwhelmed and/or bored.

But as I held the thin pages of Mimo’s Bible between my fingers, something was different. I wanted to read it. I wanted to know the whole story- start to finish.

So I began.

Five months later, I’m still going. Currently, I’m in the deep, dark middle of “Job,” (which is not for pansies).

But if I take the 30,000 words I’ve read so far and summarize them for you in just 23, it would be this-

Things work out infinitely better when people do what God tells them to do. When they don’t, life is a giant shit sandwich.

Every day, it grows increasingly clear that I don’t want to make the same mistakes.

So I started with the 10 commandments.

At first glance, they can seem stale and stoic. But I wrote each one in first person and they served as a magnifying glass for my life.

Dear Lord,
I will have no other gods before You.
I will not make for myself an idol of any kind.
I will not use Your name in vain.
I will remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
I will honor my father and mother.
I will not murder.
I will not commit adultery.
I will not steal.
I will not lie.
I will not be jealous of any other person’s life, but be grateful for the one You created just for me.

I rolled a few off my tongue with certainty- “I will not murder; I will not commit adultery; I will not steal; I will not lie… but I stumbled over others.

I don’t want to have any other gods before me or make idols, but sometimes I obsess about money, time, outcomes, disappointments, relationships, work, wrinkles, weight, wine consumption and other stuff.

I don’t want to forget the Sabbath, but some Sundays I am more concerned with productivity than peace.

I do want to honor my father and mother but get self-absorbed and forget to show them how much they mean to me.

I don’t want to be jealous of other people, but sometimes I totally am.

These problems don’t destine me to a life of shit sandwiches, but they do reveal that I have lots of room to grow. The wild and wonderful circle is- these commandments teach me where and how.

When faced with all kinds of circumstances, these words rise up and tell me how to choose well. They remind me Whose I am and who I am becoming.

Saying the 10 commandments this way, out loud every day… is changing me in the ways I long to be changed.

We can complain that we don’t know what God wants us to do. That our lives aren’t working out well because we can’t hear His voice or because we don’t know His plan for our lives. But actually, we are the ones making it cryptic and confusing.

God doesn’t make any bones about the basics. And the more we let the basics shape our lives, the more we can experience God leading us.

If you want to examine your life, read the 10 commandments in the language above. See where you stumble and let God work with you there.

I always guinea pig the stuff I suggest here. And I promise, reading the 10 commandments in “I” language each day will move you quicker and closer to your purpose than anything else you can do.

So, what do you think?

Email me or leave a comment on Facebook.



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