It's all starting to come into clear focus only recently. Like a long, winding trail throughout my life, it has followed me--my belief that there might just be something wrong with me. And "stupid" is the conclusion I've reached too many times.
Like as recently as two days ago when I was near tears trying to read the book our couples' small group is reading, only to find the words seeming to swim on the page--no clue of what I'd just read when I reached the end of the paragraph.
Or the fact that when I was reading through Isaiah, I had to read first out of my Living Translation and then out of my NIV, just to be able to understand what I was reading.
Or the fact that unless something is written in a very conversational style, it'll take me three reads through one paragraph to tell you what I just read. If it's detailed, flowery, descriptive prose, I'm out within a sentence or two.
Or the fact that I was about to pull my hair out trying to understand the historical details of the book of Esther so I would feel somewhat prepared as a facilitator in my Esther Bible study.
Or the fact that I only read one out of many assigned books my entire senior year. Not because I was a slacker, but because I really didn't understand what I was reading. Thank goodness I could turn out a great essay, which allowed me to fake my way through Miss Dillman's Advanced English.
Or the fact that I get nervous when I substitute teach in the high school, for fear that I'll have to read and then explain something and not be able to do it.
Then there was the humilitation I felt when an overnight guest was appalled at my lack of literature on my bookshelf. On my bookshelf: Framed pictures, parenting books and some old Bible studies, mostly. Not "The Catcher in the Rye" or "Wuthering Heights." I felt a similar shame recently at a friend's house at the sight of her extensive literature collection on her bookshelf. I probably couldn't get one chapter into the majority of the books on her shelf.
I can't tell you about the plight of the oppressed on the other side of the world, because when I try to read about it, it's like reading another language.
Just recently I have begun to open up about how I have shied away from the pursuit of knowledge because I have known people who have made it their god. True enough. But my motive for not pursuing knowledge also stems from the fact that it is just extremely difficult for me to understand sometimes, and I hate it, so I don't even want to try.
I get mad sometimes that I struggle so much to understand. I don't want to have to work so hard at it, particularly when it comes to the Word of God. I love His Word. And it really breaks my heart that understanding truth comes with a lot of work and several read-throughs. I envy those who have no difficulty getting it. It's just not that way for me at all.
As for "stupid," I know it's a lie. I mean, no, I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, and I'm okay with that, but when I really examine things, I really don't think I am truly what I've believed I am. There is peace in knowing that I was knit together very intentionally by a God who isn't impressed by IQ, and that any limitation I may have just leaves room for His strength to be revealed. And I have to remember that when I finally do "get" what I read, the Holy Spirit brings such understanding. I want knowledge to come easily, but more than that I want wisdom. I crave discernment. I long for understanding. And I know God has been faithful to give those things for His glory and delight.
I love this passage--and I especially rejoice in the BUT GOD in the middle of these verses. They give me hope that He can use someone for whom it just doesn't come easily:
"Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential...
BUT GOD chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."
1 Corinthians 1:26-27