That is, I am guilty. Of a terrible, horrible, shallow practice that I would like to take this opportunity to commit to both condemning...and changing. And that practice is this:
I'm in the middle of this chapter in Prayse. And let's be honest - I've been there for a week or so now. Staring at the same spot. The chapter is built; there's this note to myself somewhere in the middle about going through and finding the examples in the Bible to back me up. Not because I need it, but because that's how God's story works - it weaves itself through time, and there is something powerful about seeing these things happen in the lives woven in His word even as we connect them to what we're staring at in the mirror. The examples I've been looking for - I kind of know them. Kind of. They are in my heart in a shorthand, cliff's notes kind of way. The key pieces, what I've taken, what means something to me, a way to remember, a story to tell. They are in there. But in writing, I want to make sure I get it just right. Get the right background. Set the right stage. Use the right words - their words.
But research is research, and when I'm in the flow of writing, it's hard to break and go look such things up. I might lose where I'm going for sake of the details of getting there. And as in life, that's not a good tradeoff. So I make a note to go back later and grab what I need, then work it in to tie part A to part C through the invitation of Part B (or Part Be). It's how I work.
Sometimes, though, the drudgery of pulling out that Bible and scavenger hunting isn't really energizing. I look at my note to myself, and I know what I want and where to find it...generally. But getting into those pages and digging it out..I'd rather be writing. Yet I know it's crucial to the story. So I get where I have been - staring at it for a few days, a week, trying to craft that section out of what's in my memory already, confident then not too confident that I'm pretty close to maybe accurate and that most people might figure out what I'm talking about.
Then caving in and hitting the internet to "look it up."
There is a lot, a LOT to lose when you try to Google something you're looking for in the Bible.
Google doesn't have the context. It might have 400 translations of the Bible. It might show you the whole chapter if you can get close to where you think you're going. It might have the words. But holding God's story in your hands, flipping those pages, scanning and skimming and letting your eyes roll over HIS words instead of key words - that's where the context is. That's where you have at least a chance of a happenstance encounter with God. Something new He might want to show you. A piece of the story you've missed. A story completely unrelated but you find it anyway and can't put it down.
While staring at a note to myself to look it up later is boring, yawn, holding the actual Book in my actual hands and searching for the story and finding...finding GOD in those pages...that is energizing. That is where it happens. That is where I see not only what I kinda sorta knew that I was going to use anyway, but I see new ways to look at it, new words to use in talking about it, new ways to connect it. And that's where I see beyond - to this incredible love story God is weaving not just in those pages but in my life. In my work, I hope. In the things I'm doing and all I'm living and all I'm loving and all He is.
Google doesn't have that. Google makes it fact. It makes it footnote. It makes it this quotable resource to make a point.
God makes it foremost. He makes it front page. He makes it this beautiful storyline that transcends time. He makes it this unforgettable narrative, an invitation to living.
He makes it this new problem....which is, I can't get out of my Bible to get back to writing. But I suppose that might be a good problem to have.
(For the record, I hit the pages in the Good Book this morning and finally broke a week's worth of writer's block while also invigorating myself and finding the energy to continue to press into His work for me and beyond. He comforts, strengthens, guides, and encourages me through those words. Thank you, Lord.)