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  • Writer's pictureMandy

don't settle

Big Takeaway: “Get into the Word until the Word gets into you.”

I looked down at my watch.

We had been standing in the same location for about ten minutes, waiting for my toddler son, Luke, to choose a toy in a gift shop at the entrance of the zoo.

Luke’s aunt told him he could pick one toy to take home as a treat that day, which appeared to be the biggest decision of Luke’s 2 ½ years of life.

“Do you like the stuffed monkey, buddy?” I said.


“Ok, let’s buy it, and then we’ll go see the animals!”

“No! I want the tiger!”

“Ok, let’s put the monkey back, and we’ll buy the tiger.”

“No! I want the monkey!”

This back-and-forth game of “What toy do I choose?” went on for what felt like days.

As I watched Luke battle indecision, I realized we could have easily turned the corner and experienced real monkeys and tigers—living, breathing, furry animals, firsthand. Instead, we were staring at someone else’s interpretation of the real thing.

In that moment, I realized a truth about you and me when it comes to our faith.

Instead of encountering Jesus firsthand through scripture, we have secondhand encounters and call them good.

We read a pretty graphic on social media, listen to a one-minute video clip, or read a well-written book about someone else’s encounter with our Heavenly Father. In the exact same amount of time, we could read scripture and experience the love of Jesus through His own words.

Who knew a zoo gift shop could be so convicting?

I realize the irony in sharing this story because I’m a writer who shares my experiences with and about the Lord. But my stories and experiences (along with other teachers, writers, etc.) pale in comparison to having an intimate relationship with Jesus. He’s the real deal.

Reading the Bible can be intimidating, I totally get that. If you’re looking for simple ways to jump in, try choosing one of the four gospels to read first (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). If it were up to me, I’d start with John, but you get to choose!

Then, as my pastor says, “Get into the Word until the Word gets into you.”

Read (or listen) to scripture until something speaks to you, then hang out there. Pray. Research. Ask God to use His Word to move you closer to Him, and watch your faith begin to grow. Whether you read one verse or twenty, read what you can absorb that day. It doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

Friend, save the graphics, read the books, listen to the podcasts (I do!), but don’t forget the incredible opportunity you have every moment of every day to go directly to your true source of life!

You don’t have to settle for a secondhand relationship with Jesus when He died for you to have the real thing.


1. What holds you back from reading (or listening!) to the Bible, and what practical steps can you take to make it more of a priority?

2. What do you need to remove from your schedule to make more room for Jesus?

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Jean Snell
Oct 30, 2023

Thank you for continuing to write and encourage through God‘s word!

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