Why I'm So Glad I Stepped Out Of My Comfort Zone

When it comes to memorizing a verse, a passage, or even a book of the Bible how does one decide what to memorize? I’ve heard the wise advice to choose what interests you most for the season of life you’re in. Makes sense. If you have a lot of decisions ahead of you: wisdom verses—perhaps from Proverbs or James—might appeal most to you. If you are a wife and mother, passages on marriage, parenting, and Proverbs 31 may speak the most to you.


The idea is pick a passage, book, or topic that interests you the most so you will be motivated to want to learn the verses. Good advice.  However, I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and pick a verse, a passage, or even a book, that you wouldn’t have otherwise chosen to memorize. Let me explain.

When I first learned the Hide His Word group at Do Not Depart was going to be memorizing Psalm 71 this year from January 13-April 20, 2013, I wasted no time in looking up the Psalm to check out what we’d be memorizing. I had to double check that I had the right Psalm because this was one of those Psalms that was certainly meaningful to David, but one I had yet to discover how it related to me.  You see David here had been on the run for his life from his enemies who had been in hot pursuit. I have never been pursued by cruel men (v.4), had enemies speak against me (v.10), had enemies (or even one) lie and wait for my life (v10) and conspire together (v 11). I can only imagine what it must have been like for David to have adversaries of his life (v. 13), who sought his hurt. (v. 13)  

So as I read Psalm 71, I was still committed to memorizing it, but it was one of those passages of Scripture that I wasn’t sure how it applied yet to me today being that my life resembled nothing like the heart-pounding, run-for-your-life hot pursuit that was David's day-to-day life described in Psalm 71.
 

Regardless, I am so glad I memorized it anyway! That’s often what I notice about memorizing Scripture. At first I am memorizing the words and phrases that make up each verse at face value. However, as I continue to memorize, sometime during the process the Lord opens up the verse, surprising me with understanding, and I rejoice, “Oh, I get it! I didn’t see it before, but that makes perfect sense now!”

This is how it has been for me throughout Psalm 71—especially throughout the parts I never thought I could ever relate to. At 1:30 one morning I woke up with a raging migraine. In such agony I cried out to the Lord, “Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me.” (Psalm 71:2) It was then that I realized an enemy doesn’t have to be a person. That night, for me, it was a migraine. And God was faithful to deliver me. After about 45 minutes I drifted off to sleep, and woke up at 6:00AM to my little girl’s sweet singing voice and the realization that the Lord had indeed delivered me in His righteousness and caused me to escape. He had surely inclined His ear to me and saved me.

The other thing that struck me about Psalm 71 was as terrifying, exhausting, and continuous as David’s life on the run was from his enemies, David's hope, faith, and praise in the Lord was even greater. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that David was all-faith and no fear.  David clearly was troubled by his adversaries. He was definitely concerned for his life. 

David cried out to God: 

  • Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. Psalm 71:4
  • Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. Psalm 71:9
  • God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Psalm 71:12
  • Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt. Psalm 71:13

Yet in all this David confidently proclaims:

  • But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. Psalm 71:14
  • My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits. Psalm 71:15
  • I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. Psalm 71:16

Had I dismissed memorizing Psalm 71, at first glance, mistakenly believing it was a passage of Scripture I couldn’t relate to and therefore believing my time would be better spent elsewhere, I would have missed out on these great lessons, among others the Lord blessed me with as we have been memorizing Psalm 71. So I encourage you to not only memorize verses, passages, and books that interest you, that you see relevant to the season of life that you are in, but also those that you never thought you’d ever memorize. Whether or not you believe you can relate to a section of Scripture it’s all worth memorizing because, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Questions for you: What benefits do you see for stepping out of your comfort zone and memorizing portions of Scripture you otherwise may have not considered? If you’ve done so, what benefit did you experience from it? 


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28 comments:

  1. Soooo relate.......At first I am memorizing the words and phrases that make up each verse at face value. However, as I continue to memorize, sometime during the process the Lord opens up the verse, surprising me with understanding, and I rejoice, “Oh, I get it! I didn’t see it before, but that makes perfect sense now!”
    God and his Word is amazing. So glad I found and am part of this group. Every time I think ..this is too hard,can't do it You Brooke or someone else posts something so encouraging,reminding me that not only that I want to do this, but that I can.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! So glad you can relate. I love when the Lord gives me those "light bulb moments" while I am rehearsing my memory verse. He is so faithful! I agree, God uses our group mightily to bless and encourage. So thankful for every person the Lord has brought to our group--that brings something special to the group that would be missing otherwise. God bless you richly!

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  2. It was great reading this my husband and I started the chronological Bible study this year. Last year we read it every day straight through front to back. So this year we tried something else. This is so true of our reading daily, we find ourselves asking, "who cared about that name that is impossible to pronounce yet we pronounce them or that place that no longer exists?' The fact of it is it was important to God just as we are. Those place just like our places. Every day we find out there is purpose in every word He has given us to enjoy and learn from. Thank you very much. God's grace, peace, light, and love to you always Doreen

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    1. Thanks, Doreen! The chronological Bible study sounds great! I did that a few years back and really enjoyed it. You are so right. Every word of God is profitable, and is worthy of our time and attention. God bless you lots!

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  3. Exactly, Brooke! I really wrestled about even choosing Psalm 71 because so much of it seemed unrelatable to me, too. Yet the Lord kept drawing me to it, so I gave in. :-) And I'm very glad, too. It's not a psalm that I've been drawn to in the past, but now I have grown to see SO many helpful things in it and I hope I will keep it close to me for years to come.

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    1. So glad the Lord led you to Psalm 71 Lisa, and that you were sensitive to the Spirit's leading to memorize it, even when as you said so much of it seemed unrelateable. I agree Psalm 71 has so much practical application in it than I ever thought possible. God bless you much!

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  4. Thank you so much for your encouragement. What a blessing. :)

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    1. Thanks! So glad this encouraged you! God bless you abundantly!

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  5. http://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/2/post/2013/04/who-does-he-say-you-are.htmlApril 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I love this post because it draws my heart deeper into His word. I often read a passage of scripture that might not relate to my life at the moment, but pray that His word would be hidden in my heart for future use that day. Often I find that particular passage useful in counsel to another or in an unexpected situation. The Lord used that particular scripture to equip me for ministry or to prepare me to deal with a situation in a Godly way. Thank you for your insights today! Blessings, love Rachael at Inking the Heart (linking with you at Simply Helping Him)

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    1. Beautifully put, Rachael! I love how God uses the verses we hide in our heart, bringing them forth at just the perfect time to minister to us or equipping us to minister to someone else. He is so faithful to ensure that His Word never returns void. God bless you mightily!

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  6. Well said! My husband has been working on memorizing many passages of Scripture lately. I should join him!

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    1. Thanks! I think that would be a fabulous idea to memorize with your husband! If you both memorize from the same Bible translation, you could post your memory verses in common areas around the house: refrigerator, bathroom mirror, shower (using sheet protectors). You could even choose a time to recite your verses to one another maybe by the end of the week or even by the end of the day. Whatever works for you both. God bless you both richly as you seek to hide His Word in your heart.

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  7. This is the 3rd post I have seen this month on Psalm 71... wow!

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    1. Perhaps it is related to the Psalm 71 memory challenge at Do Not Depart that has been going from January thru April 20th. http://donotdepart.com/resources-for-memorizing-psalm-71 God bless you much!

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  8. Well written. Even though you may not see the reason at the moment for a memorized portion,His Word never returns void. It stays hidden in our hearts, ready for use at the right exact time. Thank you for sharing this. I was your neighbor at Thought Provoking Thurs. :)

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    1. You are so right. God's Word never returns void. We never know how God might use a verse at a later time. God bless you lots!

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  9. I find it's hard for me to memorize anything these days, but so very important to learn the Word. Wonderful post. Have a good evening!

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    1. Thanks, Rita! I agree, memorizing can be hard. Fortunately though, a good memory is not required. I wrote a post on about this here:

      http://brookeespinoza.blogspot.com/2012/10/memorizing-scripture-good-memory-not.html

      Something else that you might find helpful is my page on memorizing Scripture called "You Can Memorize Scripture"

      http://brookeespinoza.blogspot.com/p/bible-memorization.html

      Hope these help and encourage. God bless you richly!

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  10. This is an interesting thought. I'm reading through the Bible now and some things strike me more than others. Through the years different books and scriptures may shine forth when I'd never really contemplating them before. Great post :)

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I love how passages I've read time and again shine in ways I've never seen them do before. Never can we fully exhaust all that there is in a verse. God's Word is awesome. God bless you abundantly!

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  11. Excellent points and ideas. I am studying the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation. This isn't the first time and this time I'm enjoying doing it primarily by listening to the verse by verse Bible studies at CCPhilly.org. It's always fascinating til I get to books like Leviticus and Job where it's so easy to bog down. But I've learned that when I keep on going, there are awesome "nuggets of gold" interwoven in every book. They can definitely be more challenging but very much worth it! Thanks for a lovely visit.

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    1. Thanks, Kaye! The verse by verse Bible studies at CCPhilly.org sound fabulous. We've been going to CC for over twenty years now and love the verse by verse, Genesis to Revelation style of teaching. I went verse by verse with Chuck Smith, of CC Costa Mesa, http://www.twft.com/?page=C2000, even in the linage of Jesus in Mathew, Pastor Chuck made it so interesting. God bless you richly!

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  12. Great encouragement for Bible memorization. I enjoyed the lessons you shared from Psalm 71. Every book of the Bible has some deep truth for us.

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Glad you enjoyed it! I totally agree: "Every book of the Bible has some deep truth for us." Well said! God bless you lots!

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  13. Great advice! I love how the Lord can use any passage and relate it to our lives.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I do, too! He is so faithful! God bless you abundantly!

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  14. Loved your insight Brooke...and isn't it amazing as we meditate and memorize how the Holy Spirit makes the passage come alive to us? I just love that. Blessings to you!

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    1. Thanks, Jacque! Yes, it is amazing. I LOVE that about meditating and memorizing Scripture! I noticed it when I'd do my ladies Bible study homework, how much more I got out of my Bible time when I slowed down and meditated on the text to answer the homework questions. However, when I began memorizing passages of Scripture I really noticed how much more I got out of my time in the Word because I was chewing on the Scriptures much longer than the time it takes to do my Bible study homework--but the time it takes to memorize a passage. That's when the Bible began opening up to me in ways I never imagined. This is what lit a fire in me to memorize Scripture--that excitement of seeing the Scriptures open up and come alive in amazing ways. God bless you mightily, Jacque!

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Thank you for taking the time to share. May God bless you richly!