Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why take time with God...

I loved Faith Barista Bonnie Gray's blog today on "Five White Space Killers, What Hold You Back From Spending Time With God" . It got me thinking about being a young wife and mom, and my attitudes and opinions that formed my "quiet time" with Him.

If I have to boil it down, I think that these thoughts would be my highlights:

1. Admit you NEED time with Him! We were created to have fellowship with Him, and when we put all other things in front of our time with God, we suffer. When we admit we need that time with Him to get grounded in His Word, an attitude adjustment, or just to maintain a good relationship, then it can become a priority. If we don't have that passion to spend time with Jesus, then pray for it! I have had to pray this several times in my life, and it's a prayer that works! When we can humbly say, "Lord, I don't have the desire for You like I used to, and I invite You to change my heart, my priorities, and for You to give me a new hunger for the Bible, for prayer, for You" then He is faithful to change us. (This also is a good prayer when we find ourselves "loving our husbands, but not "IN love" with them" - He can relight that spark!!)

2. Make time with God a priority! I'm not a morning person...it's just not in my genes! So when you take a night person and give her morning kids, there doesn't seem to be a "perfect time" to spend "quiet time" with God. Think outside the box, and be a little creative! I found out early on that my day went as good as my sleep was - so I started to take my quiet time in the evenings, when the kids were in bed, the dishes done, and I couldn't sleep anyways (because I wasn't tired, and because my morning person husband was already snoring!).  I also found out that the years that my husband was on the road, the kids would sleep better, and I would sleep better, with my heart and head full of His Word and a solid time of prayer.

3. Make time spontaneous!  Now that might sound like a contradiction, but it's not meant to be. I guess I want to encourage you to take time with God as He allows it. I wanted to be a pray-er, and wanted my kids to be too - so I often would pray (out loud with the kids, or either silent or loudly alone) as He brought things to me. For instance, if we were driving and saw an accident, we would pray out loud for the people involved. If God brought someone to mind, I would pray there and then for them. If someone asked me to pray for them, I would pray RIGHT THEN for them, with them, even on the phone (or online!). I think that it helps us to develop a prayerful posture when it's the FIRST thing we think of. Stop wondering (or worrying) about things, people, circumstances, and PRAY for them!

Also keep your heart and mind open to take time with God. When I was a baby Christian, I had a tiny NT and Psalms Bible that I carried with me all the time. As I learned worship songs, I would highlight the scriptures that inspired them in that Bible. Often times I would read my Bible as I was waiting for the bus (God removed my car from my life to draw me closer to Him, and not allow me to be distracted by my sinful past). This often led to a spontaneous time of worship, as I focused on the scripture in song that was inspired by Him. NOW we have Bible apps on our phones/notebooks and can read, sing, or listen to  inspiring messages all the time! When we have that spare moment, how will you use it?

4. Everything is Spiritual, so give God praise! Develop a way to be in constant communication with Him! Take time to praise Him for the little things...the breeze on a hot morning, a friend's phone call, a favorite song on the radio (and don't forget to pray for that artists' walk with God to be with integrity and passion!!). We have opportunities to pray CONSTANTLY. Whatever we put IN us is what will go out of us...if it's worry, discontent, anger, gossip and junk tv...well...we're not going to be as fruitful as He can make us.

5. Ask God to equip us, and equip our spouse. Divorce happens all around us. I love my husband, Mark, a LOT. I'm in love with him too, and praise God for Mark being in my life. But Mark can NOT meet my needs. It's true. But God can use Mark to meet my needs. I don't ask for specifics - but DO ask God to equip Mark to meet my needs...and ask God to equip me to meet Mark's needs. I don't know what that will entail from day to day, but I know God knows, and I trust Him to give me what that will take!


6. FORGIVE. Unforgiveness (or bitterness) can build a wall between us and God. We also have a saying that we live by in our marriage, "A happy marriage the union of two good forgivers!". It's true. We're going to disappoint each other, hurt feelings, do things wrong and make wrong choices...we are both human, and made with a sinful, selfish, nature! If we can allow ourselves to forgive (before even hearing an apology) we can keep it in perspective. God's forgiven me for so much, and I because of that, I know that I can forgive Mark. Grace is a beautiful gift! Mercy undeserved is a lovely fragrance to spread around our home!!

I am aware that sometimes forgiving is not between us and a spouse, but another family member or friend, or even a challenging circumstance. If we can forgive, we should. If we can't, I'm a firm believer in seeking Christian Counseling to help resolve the issue. Sometimes forgiving is not forgetting (forgive and forget is not something WE can do!) but forgiving and setting healthy boundaries to protect us, especially in abusive situations. Abuse is not just physical, sexual, or emotional; sometimes it's being manipulated in other ways. Forgiveness is always fruitful.

7. If you fall off the bicycle, get back on it! If you miss a day, or a week, month, or year - I promise, God misses you!! He will be happy to hear from you, no matter how much time has passed. I think we all have friendships like that too...no matter how much time has passed, we pick it up like we saw each other yesterday... and that's how it is with God. He LOVES to spend time with us...take time to be with Him.


OK, I think I've gone on long enough...well, ok - just one more thing that deserves mentioning but I won't expand on - if you have problems in your life, take time to help someone who has it worse than you. It might mean helping at a shelter, or your next door neighbor - but it always helps to take our eyes off of us and put them back on Him. Pray for them, and don't be a "me monster" ("woe is me, I have it so bad, i need...." - I think you get the picture.).

Now get off this computer and go spend some time with Jesus!!

Grace and peace,
marina