This is a post I've been working on getting motivated to post for over a year and since this is another insomnia session, I'm going to work on some thoughts while I'm up. My problem with blogging sometimes is that I put this pressure on myself that if I can't get it all out in one sitting, then I don't post anything. Perhaps I need to adopt the "series" theory more often, I don't know, but this time I'm going to because I think it's important. It was important to me and if my conversations with many people over the years is any indication, then it's also important to many others.
Everyone has in their life, keystone events and lessons, that leave us very different people. Circumstances and information that changed the course of the direction we were heading. Every one's story is different but I thought I'd share one of the lessons I've learned that has made a huge impact on who I am today.
When I became a Christian at the age of 15, there were some things that were assumed I would begin doing....because that's what Christians do. They go to church, read their Bibles and pray (devotions), and tithe. I was already attending church, my parents saw to that. The rest was up to me. My grandparents had "devotions" and so I followed their pattern for awhile: read the Scripture in the devotional book (Our Daily Bread), and then read the short application/story to go with it. That was a great start. But the truth was, I gleaned more from reading the devotional book stories than I did reading God's Word. And in a very short time, my attempts fizzled. Oh, every few months or so I'd get inspired to start again and actually did a number of things (even going so far as to write Chuck Swindoll - he was the only preacher I listened to on the radio - for some help and he sent me some type of book). But to no avail. It was more miss than hit!
Unless I missed it somewhere....in all of my years of going to church, attending special services, and attending Bible College there was never any clear presentation given of "how" to have personal devotions. Plenty of preaching on the "should" but that's hardly ever helpful for anything except creating guilt unless the "how" is laid out. Through my Bible college days I would read large passages of Scripture, pray, and that was my time. Very little application, no study (other than what I was doing for class), and of little profit. What it did do though, was help create a desire for something more meaningful and in that process, express to God how much I really did want to know about Him, be changed by His Word, and grow into the person He wanted me to be. Most of the time it was pretty dry stuff....but I did it because I'd heard all my life it was right.
When I finally learned how to have a living, daily time spent with God....it changed my world. I always knew the value of the discipline of spending time each day with My creator. As a Christian, every area of my life is an out-flowing of the work that God has done and is doing in my life. My choices, my likes and dislikes, my words, attitudes, actions and reactions are all a reflection of who I believe God is and His claim on my life. There is no way possible to have a Biblical worldview without being in God's word on a consistent basis. And if God is the most important part of my life then there is no excuse for not making that relationship a priority. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that the more I get to know God, and embrace the truth that "without Him I can do nothing", my alone time with Him is not negotiable. If I have not taken the time to fill my soul with the living water that only He can give, there is no possible way for me to minister to those around me. As the songwriter has said, "How can you serve Me, when your spirit's empty?" As a wife, mother of three small children and involved in ministry, I'm faced with my inadequacies on a daily basis. That quiet time alone with the Lover of my Soul every morning is where I find the strength and wisdom to correctly live in such a way that brings honor and glory to Him.
Do I have this area mastered? No. I wish I had more time to spend in the Word and study. But what I have learned is the something is better than nothing. God knows where I'm at and the responsibilities that come with this season of life and He's not so much interested in the time I spend in His Word as He is about getting the Word into me. Yes, I have to spend time (just as you would in any relationship) but I've been amazed at how He uses the time I do have with Him to change me.