I Can’t Relate

I was taught how to read my Bible. It’s a learned skill. One I’ve definitely not mastered, but the point is there are ways to approach scripture to help us get the most out of our time.

One strategy is to read a passage and ask yourself, “Self. Who do you relate to most in this story?” And then you answer. Maybe keep it in your mind or journal. Keep the crazy at bay.

Too often, I relate to all the wrong people.

Take the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. They have all they need and more because they often get face time with God. God gives them some rules. One rule. They break it and react in true human form. Finger pointing.

God: Where are you?
Valley Boy Adam: OMG THIS WOMAN YOU GAVE ME. She tempted me with FRUIT. ugh!
God: What’s this I hear?
Valley Girl Eve: Oh Gag me. This guy. (eye rolls) That stupid serpent made me do it. I am SOOO over this.
(none of these words are really in the Bible.)

They never take blame. They never own up. And I imagine them sounding a whole lot like my children when they were preschool aged. Except I would walk away letting them duke it out while I put myself in time out. God probably handled it better. I said it all quietly so they wouldn’t notice, giving me more time to hide.

It’s the hiding that gets me. In the hiding is where my identity becomes muddled. Because in the story of Adam and Eve, I relate most to Adam and Eve.

When I’ve said or done something wrong, my instinct is to figure out who made me do it. Even when it’s my own mouth trying to be funny, but I’ve crossed a line and been funny at the expense of someone’s feelings. I say things like, “They made it too easy.” I blame them for my jerk of a mouth. I relate to all the wrong people in the stories.

In this picture, I find the same is true. On a recent field trip with 26 fifth-graders, I saw this little guy. Look at him. He’s a fighter. Look how dry that ground is. Look how void of life his surroundings are. Craggy rocks and arid dust. An almost barren land with little to offer. 

My students were elbow deep in the Truckee River when I looked over and noticed this little loner. 
“Look at you!” I thought. What an image of contrast. Is my life like this little flower? Am I a fighter in a tough world? Then the thoughts.
“Maybe I am more like this ground. Maybe I relate more to the dusty surroundings more than the flower. Why?”
Possibly because I am dehydrated. Just like this earth.

Jesus said, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

I want to relate to the best parts of life. The loving parts, the giving parts, the less hurried parts. I want to look back and feel content and satisfied, not unsettled and thirsty. I want to read a Bible story and relate to Joshua, not the wimpies that ran back from the Promised Land shaking in their boots. Most importantly, I want never to use the best gift God has given me (my words) as weapons. 

But it won’t happen without a little work on my end. I know what I need to do. Where do you find your thirst quenched? 

Stay strong, little roots.
~ Nonsense