I know that kale is good for me.
But I also know that kale tastes kind of like dirt and feels like I’m chewing a burlap sack.
I know, in my head, that kale provides my body with nutrients it needs. I know, in my head, that if I take the time to properly prepare kale, it can become a tolerable texture and not take me 30 minutes to chew one bite.
But when I’ve been standing in the produce section for 20 minutes trying to decide whether or not to throw that bunch of greens in my cart, I usually ditch it in favor of a tastier but probably less healthy veggie.
I make excuses like this a lot. I choose the easy route over the hard route, the choice that requires the least amount of effort. “Life’s hard enough as it is,” I tell myself. “Why make it harder than it has to be? Just choose the easiest route and enjoy your life!”
But God has not called me or you to live easy lives. Often, He calls us to do really, really hard things that we don’t want to do at all. It’s easier to shove God to the side and say, “Thanks for the advice, Big Man! But I’d really like to do this instead because it’s a million times easier. And it’s what I want to do. Bye!”
Even when it comes to something like going to Bible study or church, something that should be easy, we find excuses to avoid it. But God created us to live in community and study His Word with others so we are not led astray—even when it’s hard, even when it’s awkward, even when we don’t feel like it.
If you’re currently feeling hesitant or unmotivated or scared to go to Bible study or church, read on. Each heading addresses a reason it might be hard for you to go to Bible study and includes a prayer that can be used to inspire deeper conversations with God about your feelings.
When you feel like you’re not getting anything out of it
Week after week, month after month, you faithfully attend Bible study. And week after week, month after month, you leave feeling. . . unfulfilled. Maybe your study is too theological, so you feel lost and confused. Maybe your study is too surface-level, and you’re craving a deeper study. Either way, you’re considering giving it up all together, because if you’re not learning anything, what’s the point?
Father God, You are the giver of all good things. You work in any circumstance, and I know You are present at Bible study. Help me to learn more about You, even when I feel like I’m not. Reveal Yourself to me through Your Word in this Bible study, and work in all of our hearts to know You more. Amen.
When it’s 7 p.m. and you really don’t want to get out again
You had a long day at work or school. You sit in traffic, cook dinner, and flop down on your couch for five minutes before you have to leave for Bible study. . . and then you settle into that one extra-comfy spot with your favorite blanket. . . and suddenly you lose all will to do anything else.
Lord, You have given strength to Your wayward people throughout the ages. My will is weak—give me strength, motivation, and passion to study Your Word with my fellow brothers and sisters. Plant in me a strong desire to learn more about You. Amen.
When you don’t want to talk about that one thing
You know. . . that one thing. Maybe it’s political. Maybe it’s personal. Maybe you don’t want to talk about how you sinned this past week. Or how you didn’t read your Bible at all. Or how you’ve been having doubts. Whatever it is—you don’t want to want to talk about it, so it’s easier just to not go, right?
Heavenly Father, You know what is in my heart. You know everything about me. My doubts, my sins, my conflicts—You know them all. Thank you for placing a godly community in my life. Help me to be able to talk about these difficult topics with them, and help them to give me counsel and comfort grounded in Your Word. Amen.
When it feels like going doesn’t matter
You stand by your door, fiddling with your car keys, debating whether or not to go to Bible study. It doesn’t matter if I skip this week. I don’t think anyone will be there, anyway—it’d probably be, like, me and one other person. And even if more people show up, we probably wouldn’t talk about anything meaningful anyway. I have a million things on my to-do list, so I better just skip. It’s just one week.
Lord God, You have not called me to a life of apathy. You call Your people to a life of growth and change, often in unexpected ways. Right now, I feel like going to Bible study isn’t making a difference in my life. I need You to work in my heart to move me to desire to study Your Word, even if I don’t feel like it or I feel like it doesn’t matter. Amen.
When you don’t think you can handle listening to that one person
You don’t mean to feel this way—but that one person just grates on your nerves. You know it’s sinful, and you’ve asked God to help you love him or her better. But week after week, it’s hard for you to be patient. It’s easier to just not go so you don’t fall into sin.
Jesus, You love everyone here on this earth—enough to die for all of humanity. Even when You were mocked before Your crucifixion, You did not retaliate. You did not think evil against others. I cannot love even the people that are easy to love—let alone those who are harder to love. Soften my heart towards those who annoy or frustrate me. Help me love them like You do. Amen.
When it’s awkward
Ugh, you know. You don’t want to see that one person because it’s just so awkward: A friend you had a falling out with. Someone you have a crush on. A coworker’s ex-boyfriend. Or maybe you don’t know anyone—you’re new to the group, and everyone else is already friends. Whatever the situation, it’s awkward. And it makes you want to avoid Bible study altogether.
God, You can work in any situation. I am tempted to not go to Bible study just to avoid an awkward situation. Plant in me a desire to grow in community with others and deepen my understanding of you by studying Your Word with others, even if I feel awkward. Make my desire to grow in my relationship with You more powerful than my desire to avoid an awkward situation. Amen.
How have you overcome your desire to not attend Bible study or church? How did God work to change your heart’s attitude?