I'm feeling blessed and full-hearted, which seemed like a good reason to write.
Jim is at our new house working his booty off while I waste all kinds of time. When I sit in front of the TV with my bowl of soup and say "Well, I have to eat, right?" and continue "eating" for another three hours... it starts to seem a little screwy. Finally, I started to listen to the last Hunger Game book on CD, which at least required brain participation.
I go through phases when I feel crazy motivated to devote every bit of time to all things beneficial and then other phases when I don't feel motivated to do anything. I tend to be a little extreme in most aspects of my life. Thankfully, over the years, I have gained self-control to keep some of my new ideas and theories to myself and try to speak cautiously. I have changed my mind countless times on almost every issue imaginable.
All of that said, there is one thing that I have found to be true that will never change... I desperately need time with my God every day. Not just a quick 2-chapter flip through of my Bible and on to breakfast. Coming into his presence, just the two of us, my heart opened up before him. This doesn't always require words, sometimes it's just a silent surrender. Every day brings with it a new set of worries and burdens to carry. I cannot carry them on my own. It doesn't matter how small or insignificant (or stupid, in my case) it may seem, if it's weighing on your heart, it needs to be acknowledged and placed before God. Worrying, worrying, worrying... not acknowledging the issue I was worrying about because it was so DUMB I didn't even want to admit that it was there. So there it stayed, poisoning my heart, causing tension between me and every human being I came in contact with. Every task seemed more difficult. Every person seemed annoying. (Disclaimer: This all may make me sound a little psychotic... most of this is going on inside of my head. I have rarely ever lashed out at someone! It's amazing what can go on inside that head of yours though, isn't it?) So back to the wasting time... it's so much easier to eat pie and watch TV when you're stressed out, anxious, and exhausted. Your muscles may feel relieved, but your spirit continues to rot. I didn't want to put the effort into the hardest, but most relieving and freeing part of my day. The main reason that it's so hard for me is this; before he can take out my trash, I review and analyze it. That is hard to do! My Creator breaks me down, removes all of the baggage in my heart and starts the cleansing process. This is the good part... I am left renewed and refreshed by his grace and love. Given the ability to live this life as he intended for me, day by day. To be filled by the complete joy and peace that merely comes from being in His presence, not by a change in circumstance. To surrender to his will for my life because it is pleasing and perfect.
I have gone through different seasons of implementing "God-time". I would sit down and open up my Bible, read the two chapters, and quickly resume my day as usual. I didn't allow it to change me. I simply went through the motions. I now start my time off writing down (because that's my love language) everything that's weighing on my mind, no matter how ridiculous. I feel silly just seeing it there on the page. I then sometimes lay flat on my face to surrender myself and everything I've written down to him. It may sound cheesy and ridiculous, but it is amazing. I try to focus on the Lord's Prayer as a guide to communicating with God. Acknowledging who he is first of all has humbled and shaped the rest of my prayers and attitude towards him. Some days just require silence on my part with a crying heart. Every day is different! It's a relationship, not a class. Reading time comes next. Sometimes I end up multitasking with this part, depending on the day. :) I started a "Read the Bible in a Year" program that incorporates part of the Old and New testaments, and Psalms and Proverbs every day. I lacked this variety in the past. I would get stuck in the middle of Leviticus and before I knew it, I hadn't read anything to do with Jesus in over 6 months. First of all, who am I kidding, I never got that far before in a reading plan and, second, we need a healthy amount of Jesus in our study of God's word... he completes it all! Lastly, I have kept a journal where I write what's on my heart, prayer requests for others, and then journal what stood out to me in that day's reading. This has made SO much difference in digesting God's words. I underline verses as I go and copy down what was on my heart when I read that verse. Just looking through them now puts me in awe of the discoveries I've made over the past 50 days. This has become my daily bread. Never have I felt more peace in dying to myself. Never have I felt more victorious in complete surrender. The more time I spend with Him, the more he has started to run over into every area of my life. Something as mundane as running has become a spiritual experience for me. He blows my mind, the deeper I dig to try and figure out more about this mysterious God. There is no end to the search that will continue for the rest of my life here on earth. I have finally given up the "checking off the list" and now experience a deep longing in my heart to seek my God. Expect different seasons because there have definitely been days when I've sat down feeling little willingness or inspiration and have walked away more empowered than ever before. "... for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I pray that I have encouraged you in some way! I highly recommend the book "A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God" by Nancy Leigh Demoss. It left me feeling convicted and inspired to seek my God daily ASAP. In it, she points out Jesus's habits when it came to finding time with God. It humbles me to read the examples of Jesus, though he was certainly busy with the most important work, made it a priority to find time with his Father. Even if he had to get up extra early after a long night. That's a tough one for me to swallow! Here's just one of many examples: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed..." Mark 1:35 I also recommend reading and praying Psalm 25. It sums up a lot of what has been on my heart. I'll end yet another ramble with just a few verses that have encouraged and inspired me:
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as a symbol on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 11:18-20
"I rise before dawn and call for help; I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:147
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek you with all of my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:9-11