A New Kind Of Sameness

From the team: This post is from guest blogger Jenifer Jernigan. You can read more about Jenifer in her bio at the end of this post. And Jennifer and her friends are giving away some swag to our readers (because they heard you were so cool), so be sure to read all the way to the bottom for the scoop!

I’m a church girl, a PK (preacher’s kid). I grew up knowing all things church: the lingo, traditions, and the do’s and don’ts. The ritual of going to church became as habitual, familiar, and normal as tying my shoes. I say ritual because it was always the same—same days, places, people, stories, same EVERYTHING.

With each venture to the steeple-topped building, my head filled with more knowledge but my heart was numb to deep faith in Jesus. I found myself in the shallows of ritualistic religion, living on the regurgitated Jesus stories others shared.

By the time I entered Bible college, nothing about the Bible fazed me. I was tired of hearing others tell their stories, and church talk just made me angry. I spent years with my back to God, ears plugged to the goings on around me. I built walls and broke down people and found myself in the muck and mire of a life of sin. I was completely empty.

But the fact that I turned my back to God didn’t matter. He still tapped me on the shoulder, and plugging my ears to the Jesus talk only caused Him to speak louder. Eventually God broke down my walls so He could crawl into the muck and mire of my life and meet me in my place of shallow religion.

When God met me in the shallows, it wasn’t only He who was working. He called me to action, to step forward from shallow religion and dive deeper into His Word, because He knew my emptiness could only be filled, my anger only erased, and my heart only healed through the truths found there. He also knew that my issues were rooted not in the same Jesus stories of my past, but in my surface-level perspective of them.

It was imperative I get below the surface of the Bible so that I could see and experience for myself deeper, lasting faith. However, I’m no academic scholar and to dive deeper into Scripture freaked me out! I needed something simple to make the same Jesus stories of my past come to life in my present.

God gave me what I needed through my daughter and a day at the beach. In those hours of watching her play in the little beach playground she’d created on the ocean’s shores, God simply said, “Dive in deeper.”

And that’s literally what I’ve done … dive deeper into real faith by engaging those same Jesus stories of my past with a new set of eyes defining, investigating, visualizing, and embracing the Scriptures.

Let’s chat: Where are you today in your faith? Has church become a ritual that’s left you numb and empty? Do you find yourself in the shallows of ritualistic religion living on the regurgitated Jesus stories of others? Are you in the muck and mire of a life of sin? Does your perspective of the same need to shift? What action is God calling you to take?

PS: Jennifer and the InScribed gals are giving away two necklaces to our readers. Leave a comment below, and I will select two of you as winners next week.

About Author

Jenifer Jernigan has a past that would spill over into her present if it weren’t for the healing power of God’s Word. As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip women to d.i.v.e. (define. investigate. visualize. embrace.) deeper into God’s Word, teaching them to study Scripture for themselves instead of living off the regurgitated messages of someone else. She is co-owner and regular writer for Internet Café Devotions, ministering online to women all over the world, and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in Raleigh, NC. Jenifer loves hanging out with her man, homeschooling their three kiddos, and guzzling delicious cups of her favorite coffee. She is the author of the book Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion, part of the InScribed Collection releasing with Thomas Nelson in Spring 2014.

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