Bible WhatNow?

Disclaimer: Bible Quizzing is not for every one, and I was not paid to write this post, nor was I asked to in any way, shape, or form. This post has stemmed out of several conversations I’ve had over the past few days about Bible Quizzing, and you know, since I’m better at writing than I am at talking, I decided it would be more conducive for me to write it all out.

Question. Question Number 1 is a two part question. Question number 1 in two parts. Question. What is Bible Quizzing, and why do you do it?

What is Bible Quizzing?

That’s a complicated question. In the approximately 10 years I’ve been involved with Bible Quizzing, I still haven’t been able to string a set of words together to accurately describe what Quizzing is to those who haven’t seen it. But I’ll do my best because you all seem so interested in the topic.

First off, it’s not a room full of students sitting in neatly arranged rows of desks, taking a test on the Bible like an SAT or an AP. And it’s most definitely not a “Quiet, No Chatting, No Fun” Zone.

It’s like Jeopardy and Family Feud got together and had this child that also gives you a great leg workout if you do it right (And trust me, you want to do it right because one day you’ll know the answer but be outjumped and outgained by the kid from the other church you’ve been trying to beat for years). It’s an individual team competition, and I know that doesn’t make sense to those of you who don’t quiz, but it makes sense to those of us who do.

Because while we are trying to beat the team in the seats across from us, we are also trying to beat ourselves. How much of this can I memorize? How fast can I get up? Can I get more questions than I did last month?

And I don’t really know how else to describe what it is, except that I know I wrote a post about what Bible Quizzing is a while ago. You can read that if you like.

As for why I participate in it, that question is easier to answer.

I was forced. Or not, I can’t really remember.

If I was forced, it’s because I was a painfully shy child. And I’m not talking like “Won’t talk to strangers” type of shy; I’m talking “You’re my grandfather but I can’t ask you to play this game with me because what if you say no? So, I’ll just passively aggressively set this game up on the table and hope you get the hint that I want to play the game” type deal.

If I was forced, it’s because I needed to pop this “fear of people, rejection, and any type of social interaction” bubble that was surrounding me.

If I was forced, it worked.

If I wasn’t forced, it’s because I wanted to be involved in Quizzing.

If I wasn’t forced, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I haven’t been a quizzer in three years, but why have I kept coming back?

Simple: the relationships.

The people I’ve meet through quizzing are easily the best friends I have ever had. It’s easy to say that you are best friends with someone when you see them almost every day, but when you only see them once a month, it’s a lot harder to call someone your best friend.

The relationships I’ve made through quizzing are easily the ones I cherish the most, no matter the miles or states that may separate us. The friends I’ve made through quizzing are the “I know it’s 3 in the morning, but I’m having a hard time. I feel like Atlas, holding the world up on his shoulders. But unlike Atlas, the sky is falling around me. It’s 3 am, and I called you because I knew you would answer” type friends.

I’ve stayed involved with quizzing because I want to be that friend for somebody, and I really love watching the quizzers grow and mature right before my eyes.

Quizzing is hard. I know that. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes the thought of studying and competing is overwhelming. Trust me, I understand. I’ve been there.

Numerous times throughout my quizzing career I thought about walking away. Between studying for school, balancing my Mental Health, and studying for quizzing, I didn’t think I could do it all. I couldn’t quit school, because that was frowned upon. I tried to quit life, and yet I’m still here. So, I tried to quit quizzing.

That didn’t work either because the relationships I made were too precious for me to give up on. So, I decided to focus less on the competition, which was never really a focus of mine anyways, except for that year and a half when I decided to memorize EVERYTHING.

Which was fun and all, but I realized winning isn’t everything. I cared more about my allies than my PPQI (which for all you sports fans out there is like a batter’s RBI). I started caring more about quality than quantity, but not everyone does, and that’s ok.

Quizzing is a combination of competition and fellowship, prasing and winning. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because all of these aspects put together contribute to the greatness that it is. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And you win some, you lose some. And I’ve won some great friends, some great confidence, and a greater understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Because my greatest enemies in the quizzing room became my greatest friends when the final question was finished.

And that’s the beauty of it all.

So yes, I think every body should try quizzing at least for one year, because you can’t really understand the fullness of its greatness without experiencing everything: the practices, the tournaments, the weekend getaway, the week long nationals, the victories, and the defeats.

It’s more than “you have to see it to believe it.” It’s more like “you have to experience it to understand it.”

And I hope you can experience it at least once, and if you can’t, I hope you at least are a spectator once because miracles do happen, and this is one.

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I’m Convinced

This weekend was Conference Finals for Bible Quizzing (for those of us in the Genesis Conference, anyway). Our theme for the weekend was: I’m Convinced. . . that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. 

Throughout the weekend, we discussed ways we are convinced, or ways we doubt, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God at the Campfire Testimony Service, which is the best part of the weekend, in my opinion, because it is so great to hear what God is doing in the lives of the Bible Quizzers. 

And even though I’m no longer a Bible Quizzer, I still felt God telling me to stand up and tell the group what was on my heart. So, I did, but I fear it was a mess, because I am much better at writing than speaking. I have decided, therefore, to write out and share again what I said this weekend, because I hope it will make a difference in someone’s life.

My name is Kaleigh, and I’m not a Bible Quizzer. But, I was for a long time, so I think that should count for something. I’m sharing tonight, because I feel as though God has placed these words in my heart to share with you tonight, and I’ve learned it is best not to ignore God.

I have suffered with Depression for so long, I cannot remember what it’s like to not feel a sense of inadequacy all the time. I have been through many things in my life: I was sexually assaulted, I struggled with an eating disorder and with self-harm, and I’ve struggled with the idea of an all-loving God.

If God loves me, why has He allowed me to experience hurt?

Is God real?

Does He care?

Doubt is easy; faith is hard: It’s easier to doubt in the existence of something than it is to believe fully and completely in something. And I wanted easy. I was so tired of getting up in the morning and trying to fight my way through life. I had little faith, and it was all used up by the time I placed both feet on the floor. I had faith that the floor would not collapse under my feet, but I couldn’t have faith in God to carry me when I needed Him most.

Doubt is easy; faith is hard.

I can see the floor, but I didn’t think I could see God.

And then I went to Guatemala this past August.

And it changed my life, but I almost didn’t go.

You see, I’m not a big fan of crowds of people I don’t know. So, when God told me that I was going to Guatemala, I laughed. There was no way I was going to board a plane with 20-some-odd people I barely knew, fly to a country that spoke a different language, and show the love of a God I didn’t think cared to people.

It was like Jonah all over again: God said, “Go.” Jonah said, “No.” I was Jonah in this situation (I didn’t get swallowed by a whale, thank goodness).

Ignoring God doesn’t get you anywhere, and neither does arguing. So, I went.

And a transformation began to occur within me. I began to become convinced of the power and love of God. I shared my Testimony with a group of Junior Highers in a mountain village in the middle of nowhere, Santa Cruz, Guatemala. What happened next reminded me that God has a plan for everybody.

One of the Junior High Girls came up to me in the afternoon and asked if we could talk: “Podamos hablar?”

I said, “Por supuesto,” which means “of course.”

She asked me how I found the strength to get up in the morning. And I told her I had God. I opened up my Spanish-English Bible to some verses I remembered studying while I was in Quizzing.

And then I read her Philippians 4:13: “Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece.”

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

I helped this Junior High Girl accept Christ, and at that moment, everything began to fit together. I realized everything I’ve been through has a reason. Had I not gone through my trials and my hardships, I wouldn’t have been able to help this girl find God.

God has a plan for my life, and I don’t know what it is, yet. But God’s timing is perfect, and it will be revealed soon.

God has a plan for your life, too.

So, I don’t know what your struggling with right now. But, we’re all struggling with something. I don’t know what you’ve been through. I don’t what God has in store for your life. But I know it’s great. He has great plans for all of us.

There’s a reason for your struggles. Everything has a purpose (even if right now, in this moment, the struggles you’re going through seem like more than you can bear). God has a plan for you, and I promise you, one day, your life and experiences will start to make sense.

I’m going to leave you with two thoughts:

The great philosopher Winnie the Pooh, once said, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

I am convinced God exists because of what He has brought me through.

I hope one day you are convinced, too. Because doubt is easy and faith is hard, but life is so much more wonderful when you have faith.

God has great plans for your life, and when your suffering seems like too much for you to handle, God is strong enough to carry it.

Clock Tower Ministry

“What time is is?”

“I have no idea.”

“Oh, wait… We’re sitting under a clock tower.”

*facepalm*

This past week was my favorite week of the year: Bible Quizzing Nationals! Every year, this is a week where my faith gets tested, my hatred towards high stress situations becomes apparent, and where friendships are made and strengthened. This year was no exception (I regret to inform you I was unable to watch my youngest sister in her Semi-Finals for Individuals, because of stress. And, had she made it to the Finals, I wouldn’t be able to watch her there either. I rather enjoy not being bald and having finger nails. If not being able to watch her makes me a horrible sister, oh well. Persecute me).

However, my experience this year was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in all my previous years of Quizzing. Last year was my last year being involved as a student in Quizzing, and as such, this year was my first year being a Coach. Being a Coach is a completely different than being a Quizzer, and like in every situation, there are goods and bads.

Bad: I miss jumping.

Good: My knees don’t hurt, and the skin on my elbows is intact.

Bad: I miss knowing things.

Good: I don’t have to study, because studying: Ain’t nobody got time for that!  (Study kids! It’s important!)

Good: I can talkasquickly or as s l o w l y as I want to.

Even better: I can still make my point in 20 seconds or less, so don’t get into an argument with me.

Being a Coach this week afforded me the opportunity to get to know some people. And a lot of the conversations I had took place at this clock tower in the center of my College Campus: 17595_10201556207572955_2020817768_n

The thing about this clock tower is I hated it. I hated it when it was being built, because while it was being built, the shortest route from one end of campus to the other was not able to be used. I hated it after it was built, because I kept running into it. I hated it because even though I’m in College, I have a hard time reading analog clocks.

This week, my perspective changed. Every night, I would sit here, and I would talk to anyone who needed a friend. I would talk to the misfits, the lonely, the ones who were struggling, the ones who were metaphorically lost, the socially awkward, the ones who needed someone to cry with, the ones who needed a hug, the introverts who just needed someone to sit with. Basically, I sat and talked with anyone who reminded me of myself. We all had something in common. It provided healing for me, and I hope it started the healing process in them.

Yesterday, my Dad told me he was proud of my “Clock Tower Ministry.” I mean, he’s supposed to say that, because he’s my Dad, but I’m proud of me too. Because there was a time not too long ago when I would have been the one who needed someone to be at the Clock Tower, and I might not have found anyone there. And I would have been too shy and afraid to ask if I did find someone. But this week, I was the person at the metaphorical Clock Tower. I was the one standing in the Harbor with my light glowing, safely guiding people home. And if this is the only worthwhile thing I ever do in my life, then so be it. Because I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

 

This week, I was President of the ACFCL (Assistant Coach and Fanclubing League), which let me say, is fantastic! Because this week, I was able to watch a lot of the teams from my Church quiz, and I was able to cheer them on without the pressure of having to be at this place at this time.

And for that, I am thankful.

Because this week, I learned something about myself. I learned that even though I am insecure, even though I am loud and obnoxious in large groups, even though I have been broken in the past, even though I have no idea what I’m doing ever about anything, even though some days I believe I’m worth nothing, even though I am a misfit, I can help others. I can be their listening ear of understanding. I can be there to share their laughs, to listen to their struggles, to sit there in silence when words just aren’t enough, to be their shoulder to cry on, and I can be their Fan Club when all they need is a little encouragement.

And that is why I am thankful for this ministry and this week, because I was surrounded by fantastic teens from all over the country. I am surrounded by teens who are hungry for the word of God, and who are destined to do great things. I am thankful for the people I meet, the people I talked to and got to know, and I am thankful for all the students who stood at the front of the Auditorium and shared how God has worked in their lives. And I am thankful for the people I didn’t meet, the people who attended, and the people who couldn’t.

Because I left this week more fulfilled than I ever did when I won trophies and accolades. This week reinforced the concept that people are what matter.

I Press On

When I tell people I’m a Bible Quizzer, they give me a strange look. I know they’re imagining me sitting in a room, taking a test on a book about a guy who’s been dead and alive again for 2,000 years, and they’re probably imagining me to be crazier than I already am. So when I have the audacity to tell them “Bible Quizzing is a sport,” they have to bite their tongue and hold themselves back to keep from screaming “off with her head.”

And I want to tell them:

Life is a sport. You can play for the good guy or the bad guy. And I chose the good. And while your sport has you running around in circles chasing a ball, my sport has me learning how to think about a question, synthesize an answer, and respond in 20 seconds, which is faster than most people can say the alphabet backwards. And while you’re learning how to increase your time off the starting blocks, I’m learning how to sit on a chair just right, because I can’t be too heavy or too light. Because when the correct time is nigh, I need to flinch, have the fastest reaction time in getting my Gluteus Maximus off a ridiculously tiny rectangular pad, all so my light can shine next to number 1, which is really code for “I can jump faster than you.”

It’s like Physical Effort, “My Legs Are Sore”, Jeopardy.

And I was probably most likely not even close to nowhere near the best Quizzer ever, but I can still find my way around scripture, because I know where to find God. And I’ve quoted the book of Help Me, Jesus so many times that it’s verses are tattooed on my lips because I once forgot the name of the one who saved me when I couldn’t save myself.

So I may be able to tell you where a passage of scripture is found, and maybe if you’re lucky, I can even complete the verse. But probably not.

Because we all can’t win the Alpha and Omega Trophy, but we all can win people for the Alpha and Omega. And isn’t that what this about anyway? It’s more than just memorizing the location of words on a page in the precise order they are presented in order to hopefully answer some questions about who, what, where, when, why, how much God loves us. Because I know the answer to that question. It’s about taking what you’ve learned, applying it to your life, and using it over the long haul. It’s about planting the seed and watching the garden grow, which is incredibly cliché, I know, but if the shoe fits, wear it.
Trust me, competition is fun (because I’m the girl who flips the Monopoly Board), But winning isn’t everything.

And there’s something beautiful in this brother and sisterhood, close knit family. Because I wanted to quit so many times since the day I forgot how to get out of bed, but I kept coming back for more. Because I have this thirst that cannot be quenched by any water from this earth.

There is something inspiring in the faces of victory and the faces of defeat. And I want to be a part of inspiration. There’s something inspiring in the encouragement given after wins, losses, good tries, good quizzes. Everybody needs encouragement sometimes. There’s something powerful in the way opponents during a quiz become best friends after hands are shaken. Because when our world is shaken, we all need someone to lean on.

So even though last year I upgraded my ticket from “Quizzer” to “Coach,” I want to tell you this: no matter how many times you are beaten by the same team/ person over and over again, never give up. One day, you will be triumphant (even if that means sitting back and waiting until they move on to bigger and better divisions). The same is true with life.

So don’t you dare tell me Bible Quizzing is not a sport because it’s trained me for what lies ahead. It’s formed me into the person I am today. It’s taught me life is pretty much impossible without a great group of friends, and I have the best. It’s taught me that even though big groups make me uncomfortable, I can be myself and people will still love me.

So when I forget how to get out of bed, when my lips forget how to form a prayer, when I want to pack my bags and leave, I remember the scripture I have stored in my heart, and I remember you.

Yes, I am a Bible Quizzer. But I’m also a fighter. I’m a warrior, and I’m a runner.

Because every day I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.