We joined a liberal Christian Church years ago and I have been participating in a Bible study group for the past three years there. I guess it was my curiosity that first drew me to the Bible a very long time ago.

I did not attend church as a child . My mother described herself as a “recovering Catholic.” Needless to say, religion was not discussed in any positive light. It’s use being only, “a way to control the masses.”

It wasn’t until high school and college that my interest was peaked in religious books. I began reading more and more and I discovered there were constant references to the Bible in literature. I always felt like I was missing part of the story by not having any biblical knowledge.

I tried reading the Bible by myself, but it I felt like I was reading Shakespeare. Maybe some of the words were familiar, but I certainly didn’t understand the context or the true meaning of the passage. Like Shakespeare’s works, I perceived the Bible to be for someone else. It was too hard.

However, my curiosity propelled me on. I just knew I had to be missing something in that book. In my middle twenties, I studied the Bible with a dear friend who also happened to be a fundamentalist Christian. Most of her social views were in direct conflict with mine, but I thought, who better to read the bible with than someone who would really challenge my values?

I know we read one of the gospels, but I’m not sure which one. Very quickly I realized, although we read the same words, we had completely different interpretations. The Bible I read, spoke of inclusion and love at the center, and hers spoke of rules. I realized much of how we read the Bible was colored by our own value system.

The Bible remained illusive for me until only the last few years. Oh, I don’t mean I understand everything or even that I don’t struggle with the readings. Now, however, I get to the other side of that struggle and see the Bible as really a pathway to myself. It is a story about me.

I used to get so angry at Jesus’ disciples. They didn’t listen. They would bicker among themselves over who was Jesus’ favorite. One night, he told them to stay awake and watch. He even told them of the impending disaster in the morning and what did they do? Fell asleep, not once, but three times! This all made no sense to me. Who were these men? Could they never follow simple instructions?

Then my wonderful minister asked, “When have you fallen asleep? Did you ever worry that you were not the favorite?” It hit me--oh my God, I’m the disciple. These disciples drive me crazy as I unconsciously see myself in them. I have let someone down. I have worried and feared at “Not enough.” Does he truly love me best? The Bible finally became a living book for me. Finally, it spoke to my life, here and now.

Now, I love going to Bible study. It’s like a puzzle to me that unlocks, piece by piece. I still struggle…Just last week, we were reading Matthew 5 & 6. Many people know these chapters as Jesus’ sermons from the mountain top. It is an impossible list of ways to live with God culminating with the direction, “You shall be perfect.”(Matthew 5:48) Well, this was just too much for me.

I think every therapist, every college psych class has preached to give up this obsession with “being perfect.” Isn’t every self-help book based loosely on this concept? So, again, I question my minister and she points me to translation.

The actual word used in the Hebrew Bible is “telios.” The more accurate translation is, be the best you can be in the eyes of God, the most perfect you. “You shall be the most perfect you.” Now, this I understand. This I can embrace, and I have discovered something new.

The idea of “perfect” bothered me because somewhere it implied there was a judge somewhere deciding who was perfect and who was not. What if I was not? Being the best I can be, well this allowed for error.

And there I was again, a disciple. Not a God walking this earth in the guise of a man or woman, but a blundering, stumbling, soul landing in grace time and time again.

Author's Bio: 

Kelly Ballard is an Intuitive Guide and Healer specializing in helping others to discover positive solutions for immediate change in their lives. Through private sessions and meditations, Kelly uses a variety of techniques to release blocks, enabling people to experience their most abundant and prosperous lives today. Kelly is also a speaker and a regular contributor to the widely read spiritual magazine, The Odyssey. To read more about her services and CDs, please visit her web site http://www.kellyballard.com