“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4
It is 10.30pm at night and I blink my eyes over and over trying to focus on the words which I have been attempting to absorb for the last five minutes. With each tick of the clock another unfinished task flashes into my mind. “stop it” I tell myself as I turn my focus back to the precious Bible resting on the desk in front of me. I begin to turn the fragile pages which hold words of life, comfort and instruction. Words which can help me to strengthen, grow and minister. After 10 minutes of trying to study I make the decision to stop and try again tomorrow.
“Why do I do this?” I ask myself. I have been a Christian for years, I know that we are to spend time with God each day and yet I still let the craziness of life, housework, parenting, career and ministry commitments constantly get in the way. For some reason I have allowed myself to be ok with the sporadic once or twice a week intense unorganised study sessions with my Father God. The study sessions that usually occur because I am preparing for a Bible Study Group I am facilitating, or for a talk that I have been asked to give.
The ‘turn around’ moment for me occurred a month ago when I was speaking to my son about something he had discovered in his quiet time. It was this moment, the moment when I heard myself telling him how amazingly consistent he was at spending quality time with God that it occurred to me “I’m the parent, aren’t I the one who should be setting the example?”
This was the moment when I made the decision that things had to change and I had to choose. I had to choose to let my housework wait one more day, I had to choose to leave the ironing pile and just iron the shirt I wanted to wear tomorrow, and I had to choose to look after my soul by drinking deeply and regularly from the Living Water rather than dehydrate it by “watering” every other activity in my life with the little water I had left.
So, for the last beautiful month, I have been working to create a habit. A habit of choosing my relationship with God over my obsessive need for everything to happen in perfect order and to a self-imposed standard of quality. A habit of dragging myself out of bed 40 minutes earlier every day so that I can have the quiet distraction-free time that I so desperately need to be able to focus on God. A habit of not sleeping in on the weekend so that my quiet time is not only consistent but I am left with plenty of time to do housework. And a habit of setting aside any projects for a time so I can focus on growing in my faith.
This past month has been a time of immense growth and discovery. I have discovered that my day starts peacefully when I have spent time with God and I’m not as irritated at work or home because I am resonating with His presence all day long. I have discovered that it has improved my relationship with my son in that I have been more invested in our conversations because I am not so distracted by things that aren’t important in the bigger scheme of life. Most importantly though, I have been reminded by my gracious God that a quiet time with Him is what my soul needs to rejuvenate, to strengthen and to fire up when He calls me to.
It is during these times when I sit at the Father’s feet just allowing myself to be in His presence that I find my peace in the craziness of life, where I hear His voice, where He restores my soul and where I am able to keep my eyes fixed firmly on eternity.
Reflect and Respond:
Do you spend regular time with God? I encourage you to take a look at your schedule and if you haven’t already, plan time each dayto spend time with God. There are an abundance of resources available for quiet times. If you have a favourite please share in the comments.
More Verses to Explore:
Phil 4:7; John 4:10
Holy Bible: New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, Mich.:Zondervan