Monday, March 29, 2010

Being instead of doing

It is so easy in life's hustle and bustle to forget God.  There may have been a time years ago when one could easily go somewhere quiet and think, but those places are more and more difficult to find.  Even in my own home, to escape the ever-present television, I have to go into my bedroom and shut the door.  And the more often I am drawn there, to the quiet table with my Bible and my computer and a window overlooking the park, the more often I WANT to go there.

That's the thing nobody ever told me about devotional time, also known as quiet time with God.  As a Christian, you are supposed to spend daily time reading the Bible.  As Lysa TerKeurst has pointed out in her excellent blog, we often regard it as a "supposed to" or a "should," which sadly puts it in the same category as making your bed, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, etc. - just another item on the daily "to do" list. (Which for moms can be an INCREDIBLY long list - grocery shop, do laundry, make supper, read with the kids, supervise homework, etc.)

What nobody ever tells you - what you must discover for yourself through doing - is that this is the only "should" that will actually refresh you, satisfy your hunger, make you long for more - as long as you don't treat it as a "have to."  When I approach this with the right attitude, it feels a lot more like having coffee or lunch with friends.  I approach it with excitement, and when I leave, I can hardly wait to do it again.

Two books have really helped me on this journey to developing the right mindset.  Louie Giglio's excellent book, The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life, is an excellent reminder that all of life should be about worship - that in fact it IS all about worship.  Whether we worship God, athletes, our schedules, our children, our money, or something else, we are made for worship.  God doesn't wait silently in the church all week for us to come back and see Him again on Sunday.  He created us with a gap that, despite all of our other efforts, is only filled when we come to Him in worship.

The other book is called The Way of the Heart by Henri J.M Nouwen.  I had heard of Nouwen before, mostly in sermons, but had never read him.  The book explores solitude, silence and prayer as ways to grow closer to the Father.  Reading it makes me long to spend MORE time away - time parked next to the lake, or alone by a river, or even alone in my bedroom - sitting at Jesus' feet, thinking about all He has done for me and worshipping Him.

We are surrounded by noise and voices telling us to "Do this!  Do that!  Go there!"  But to grow as Christians, sometimes we must learn to stop doing and simply to be alone with God, seek His will, and listen to His voice.

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