Sarah Otteson   -  

If you happen to be like me, you have probably found yourself in a whole mess of trouble, (Don’t worry, there is hope!) and you know that trouble looks different to everyone, but for me it usually meant I got suspended… again. (Remember, I said there is hope, mom’s!) The funny thing is, I was never a bad kid. I just didn’t call on discernment in critical situations. But whether you are like me or not, you have probably heard mom or dad wisely say in a heated conversation, “If you want the freedom of being an adult, you have to carry the responsibility of one”… or something like that. 
If you know me, you know that my family is amazing and has always loved the Lord. You might know that I can probably count on one hand all the Sundays in my life I haven’t been in The House due to travel or vacation. I have only ever attended Christian schools. I have always believed in Jesus. I have always had Christian friends. I have always believed God had some sort of plan for me. Yet, my life for good 5 years in Middle School and High School was high drama, high risk and just plain rough. So, why didn’t any of that “good” stuff make a notable difference in my behavior?
I’m sure a psychologist could give a well educated response but I can think of one outstanding answer: Scripture. 
My senior year of high school for the first time ever, I read the entire New Testament. And let me tell you, it was a Game Changer. 
Here are a couple thoughts:
1 – It’s not a race.
Most students who talk to me about their feelings toward reading the Bible is that it’s crazy overwhelming. 66 books and hundreds of pages. One word: RELATABLE. Know that this isn’t a race and no one is looking over your shoulder! I usually take it one chapter a day because I want scripture to change me and that takes depth of time and focus.
2 – Grab a pen.
The average attention span is now at a whopping 8 seconds, which is actually beat by the goldfish’s 9! One way I stay engaged is looking for things to stand out to me. So I always always, always have a pen in hand when I read. It makes a massive difference.
3 – SOAP it. 
Everybody learns differently. However, learning and comprehending are two different things. To acquire information is basic. But to comprehend something is another. Even further though, is to dialogue about it and arrive at a revelation about how that truth is related to your life. That’s where SOAP (Scripture Observation Application Prayer) comes in. It’s a fabulous tool to use in journaling. I cannot read scripture without my pen (as previously stated) and my journal (which helps me feel like I’m also a part time calligrapher…) Journal about the scripture you just read, even if you don’t have a clue what it is talking about because it is crazy how the Lord will show up and transform the way we think when we write it out. Write your questions. Jot your thoughts. 
4 – Tweet it.
Okay, well not literally, I mean you can if you want, but bottom line, tell someone! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just bubbled over and shared something the Lord showed me from my time in the scripture and journaling that was exactly what someone else needed to hear and vice versa! Not only does it encourage the person on the other side, but it strengthened my faith too! 
Bottom line: Scripture changes things. If you are ready to step up and start #adulting101, I challenge you to join me in this journey! You will be amazed at the transformation in your life and walk with Jesus.
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