I mentioned back in February that I was leading a life group on Beth Moore’s study on the book of James. Beth challenges participants to memorize the entire book. So being the over-achiever I am, I took on that challenge. I posted what I was learning early on in a post titled, 5 Things I’m Learning While Memorizing James.
Since that post, I finished! I actually memorized the book of James. I think I’m still in shock that I really did it.
When I started the process, I would say things like, “I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m gonna try”. Then somewhere around chapter 4 I felt like God was saying to me (more like shouting at me, or it may just have been a stern rebuke), “Stop it! You can do it, you are doing it!”
The more I believed it was possible, the easier it became.
How did I do it?
1. I followed many of the basic things Beth mentioned in the curriculum DVD. She used the acrostic ABIDE as instruction- Ask God, Believe you can do it, Increase portions, Determine a set time, Enjoy it. She recommended to print out one chapter at a time and laminate it.
2. I am a mom of three (ages 5 and under). I don’t have long periods of time staring me in the face. I did find ways to squeeze in 15 minutes here or 15 minutes there- and it worked! I practiced while folding laundry. I practiced while doing dishes. I practiced while driving my daughter to dance class. I practiced while laying in bed unable to fall asleep. In fact, it actually put me to sleep many nights. What better to fall asleep to than the word of God rolling around in your mind? Maybe that’s why I’m sleeping a little better lately.
3. I spent many early mornings alone in my office reciting what I knew. In fact, (this is a little embarrassing) I would stand in front of my bookshelf and pretend my books (or the authors of the books) were faces staring at me so that I felt like I was actually talking to someone. Beth Moore was in that audience too. Whatever works, do it.
4. I memorized concepts more than words on a page. When I learning a particular portion, I focused on understanding the point being made, then it was just a matter of using James’s wording to say it. I didn’t stop mid-section. Some were longer than others, but that wasn’t the point. Having that understanding helps you recall the words much easier.
5. Once I had a section down I would recite it over and over throughout the day. I would recite it to my kids, to my husbands, driving, in the shower. Everywhere.
Up until this challenge, I resisted memorizing Scripture. I looked for ways around it. As a leader you get to set the bar, but I guarantee you that up until now I have never inspired anyone to memorize one verse of Scripture. How could I? I wasn’t doing it. And I’m ashamed to say that I never felt bad about it. I figured it was for the “professionals”. Carrying around notecards with Scripture on it seemed enough. Boy, had I been fooled.
Walking through this journey has taught me so much about the Word of God. It’s come alive inside of me, and it is changing my day-to-day behaviors. I don’t even know if I am fully aware of its affect on my life. I’m still processing it all.
Below is the video of me reciting James to my life group. If you choose to watch the entire video, I recommend that you close your eyes and listen. In Biblical times, the Scriptures were meant to be read. Listening is a different experience than reading, and I think you will hear things that you miss while reading.
I memorized the New Living Translation. I did stumble at the end, and as much as I want to redo it or make an addendum of me doing it “perfect”, I decided not to. I’m not a professional and I wouldn’t want to make it appear so. Memorizing Scripture isn’t just for the professionals. It’s for all of us. It’s for you and it’s for me.
My hope is that it inspires and encourages you. It’s the only reason I would put it up for the world to see.
If you’re taking on the challenge too, let me know. I will pray for you. You can do it!