Jealous For Your Muses {An Invitation}

by | Feb 10, 2014 | Book Club


Hunkering over my desk in flannels, tea steeping in cupped hands on my lap, I read scripture scrolling on the screen of my laptop, before the crescendo of stirring ensues from each bedroom. When my mind becomes like a garden hose stuck on the corner of brick with words He is highlighting, I share those verses with my friends on Facebook.

Opening that social networking page is like entering a bustling party and then trying to remove myself from one hundred interesting conversations.

Suddenly, I am snagged on an exchange between a friend and a stranger on my sidebar that pique’s my interest. I’m Googling words like fundamentalism, evangelical and Oral Roberts, and then winding my way down a curious hall reading memoir.

What am I doing, I think, suddenly startled by a rock of information blocking the sieve through which  I’m collecting words  and phrases stimulating thoughts. Oh yes, I was reading scripture.

And this is the way of distraction. It finds me often.

On my small blue desk, I have a Bible, two journals holding notes for writing and speaking engagements; a spiral with notable fragments of conversations and appointment reminders. Next to a stack of books inspiring my thinking is a daily devotional, a Kindle with fingers curling toward each title every time I open it. Did I mention I have the steady flow from the spout of the internet with the broken handle that is difficult to turn off?


He is jealous for your muses. It’s a phrase spoken over me in a holy moment, now frozen in my memory bank.

He is jealous for what fuels your thinking. Are you enraptured with the lofty words of others more than the sound of His voice?

Jesus wants his Words speaking into your circumstance as the ones you are hearing the loudest. He longs to inform your thoughts and decisions, not because he is a manipulative bully, but because he is captivated by every moment of your union. Do His words make your heart swoon like the eloquence of others or is love unrequited?

If I’m honest, my prayers and conversations are more about asking for favors than about longing for His nearness because I love Him. It is a discipline I’m practicing — turning off my need for outcomes, for answers to spiraling questions and just rest in the assurance of Peace.

This year, I’m looking toward Lent with expectancy as I surrender my muses.

I’m joining my friend Margaret Feinberg for the 40 Day Bible Reading Challenge, reading the New Testament through the seven weeks of Lent. And we’re asking you to join us.

I know, it sounds daunting doesn’t it? But I’m trusting that He will speak to each one of us with clarity and fresh perspective in the discipline of making his words the priority.

We’ll follow this daily reading plan and I’ll share a blog post once a week about what grabs my attention, an extended version of what I do on Facebook with scripture.

And we’ll talk about what we are learning together every Wednesday in Redemptions Beauty Book Club because we need your voice to glean the truth from the muck. For those who are bloggers, beginning Wednesday, March 5, I invite you to share what you write from the inspiration of scripture on our page once a week.

We’ll read the most popular book in history together from the author of transcendent beauty in poetry, metaphor, and simile.  A writer’s handbook of meaning and purpose dedicated to you, His Beloved.

Are you with me? Let’s do this #LentChallege. I need you to help me focus. 


In community with Laura, Michelle, Angie.

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  1. ro elliott

    I did her challenge last year…reading the whole bible in 40 days…it was so rich…I am joining in…I look forward to traveling with you and others!

    • Shelly Miller

      I was in awe of all of you who did the entire Bible Ro. Glad to have you along again this year.

  2. Natalie

    Count me in!

    • Shelly Miller

      Yay Natalie, glad to have you join in. Whoot!

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    While I’m still trying to picture hot tea resting on your lap (!!), I’m loving this post.
    These words and the ensuring paragraphs really gripped me, Shell

    “He is jealous for your muses. It’s a phrase spoken over me in a holy moment, now frozen in my memory bank.He is jealous for what fuels your thinking. Are you enraptured with the lofty words of others more than the sound of His voice?”
    I’m preparing a journalng workshop called “Hearts on Fire: Rekindling Your First Love Relationship with Christ,” and I talk about God being jealous for our love. His is a holy and high form of jealousy. One way to make your first love (or best love) for Him less is to become distracted, and especially by other words that woo. Last Lent, I felt that the Lord was telling me to put away others’ words. This challenge was confirmed by what I read at excellent (and sometimes edgy) Rebekah Gilbert’s blog, A New Song to Sing. She, too, felt compelled by His Spirit to stop reading Christian books during Lent, and just read THE BOOK. Her courage fueled the courage I would need to obey such a demand. But it was worth it. I just “came unto Him” and He gave me rest. I love what you and Margaret are doing. Gotta tell you: When I first read her challenged I thought she meant the WHOLE Bible in 40 days! This is a bit more do-able. But ultimately, it’s not how much we read, but what we read. And I know your life will change as a result.

    • Shelly Miller

      They actually did that last year Lynn, read the whole Bible during Lent. Just the NT this year, I can handle that . . . I think.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Wow, amazing!

  4. Elizabeth Stewart

    Oh, that my heart is captivated by His words above all others!

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Elizabeth, I’m not there yet if I’m honest.

  5. DeanneMoore

    I am not sure that distraction is not the greatest enemy of our age. We have trouble being present with everyone and it’s true when we are in God’s Word as well. I spent most of last month in Ps. 27 and I was convicted to consider my “one thing,” what is important above all others, to seek God’s face (his favor) and to have a teachable spirit…there is so much and I barely scratched the surface. Even as I mediated, the distractions weaseled their way in and I often found myself wrestling them (yes, they are like a little army of “distraction weasels.”) I am hoping to join you reading for Lent. You know I love the Bible like nothing else 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I know, there isn’t a magic pill or formula to rid oneself of distraction is there darn it? I wish. You are good company, hope you join in.

  6. Laura Boggess

    I hear this loud and clear, Shelly. I’ve followed that shiny thread one too many times myself. 🙂 I’m excited to follow along as you read through the New Testament. I am still working my way slowly through the book of Matthew and enjoying that leisurely pace. Lent is calling to me already. I can feel it’s bright sadness.

    • Shelly Miller

      Those of us who have a passion for words are easy targets aren’t we Laura? I am a slow processor so I’m hoping that the Holy Spirit will meet me in the midst of the readings. I’m expectant and trusting He will.

  7. April

    Your post, your words couldn’t have spoken to me any louder. Just what I needed to hear and just what I need to do. I am with you and will be following right along. I need help to focus too:-)

    • Shelly Miller

      Thankful for timely words April, glad to have you with us.

  8. Janet from FL

    When I 1st saw this challenge on Margaret Feinberg’s blog, I wasn’t interested. Since then I have seen a couple other people who are linking up with her for Lent. Now you are also linking with her. It seems like I am getting this loud and clear too. Jesus wants us to do this. In preparation for Easter, I can’t think of a better thing to do! Thanks Shelley for being the person who convinced me to do this!

  9. Marie Bride

    Thank You Shelly,
    Looking forward to the 40 Day Challenge!


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