My Time...Or Is It?
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:12-14
“An extra 7 minutes of snooze time will not make a discernible difference in my day; But an extra 7 minutes with God changes everything.”
– Vicki White
Growing up, my friends would talk about what they were giving up for Lent, but my church did not put much emphasis on it so I never really connected with it. Even though I understand it better now, I still do not feel personally called to “give up” something for Lent unless God puts it on my heart to do so. That is not to say I have never felt God’s call to make a sacrifice: one year He called me not to spend any money on Christmas gifts, so I had to get creative and make my gifts that year (Hello, Pinterest…?); another time He called me to abstain from drinking any kind of alcohol for a period of time. While inconvenient or uncomfortable, at times, these and other tests of my obedience have helped me see how faithful I will be whenever He calls. Last year, He stepped it up and asked me to give Him a tithe of my time. Now, I generally guard my time like Ebenezer Scrooge guards his money, so this was getting serious. Time is one of my dearest and greatest treasures. God certainly knows which areas of my life need some work.
Getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal was a real sacrifice because I hate waking up early. I worried that I would fail because that snooze button is so tempting, and in the early morning hours, being vertical does not necessarily mean I am awake. However, somehow knowing God is waiting on me makes over-sleeping a non-issue. Giving Him the first few moments of my day has changed the way I feel and act, and He miraculously multiplies my time in the mornings so that no matter how long I linger with Him, I am never late for work. Never. I have gotten lost in my prayers, quietly enjoying His presence, only to realize I was still in my pajamas with less than 30 minutes before I needed to leave for work; and even then I had plenty of time and His peace still filled my day. Now, the time I spend with Him fills the first hour of my day. His presence is truly the most beautiful, sweetest thing I know.
I would love to say it is always a water-walking, mountain-moving experience, but each day is different. The best days find me overwhelmed in His presence and baptized in His love. Other days I pray, read my Bible and daily devotional, and just feel…quiet; and some days I don’t feel Him there at all. But even when I feel like God doesn’t show up, I know He is there and He is pleased that I continue to seek Him. On days like that, I press in and ask Him to draw my attention away from worldly concerns and reveal Himself to me; other days I am satisfied that I have answered His call and can carry with me the assurance of our relationship, even in the mundane moments of life. I also know that when I don’t “feel” Him, He is not the one who didn’t show up. Without fail, those are the days that life has captured my attention and directed my thoughts away from my One True Source.
The best part is that, regardless of what happens in my quiet time, what started as my “sacrifice” has become the greatest joy of my day. I consider it a privilege to come into the presence of Almighty God, the Creator of all that exists, and know him as my Abba, Father, my dearest and best friend. I enjoy that privilege because of the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the Cross. As Lent draws us toward Easter, I choose to remember that my time and every part of my life came from Him, the Maker of all things. It is only right to give back a small portion of what He has given me, and in giving, I receive abundantly beyond my wildest expectations.
Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for the honor of being called Your very own child, and for the incomprehensible privilege of being able to talk directly to You with the assurance that You hear me. Jesus, thank You for making that possible, and in this season of Lent, keep me mindful of all you have done to provide me with that privilege. Holy Spirit, fill me with a greater awareness of Your presence. Just as I am Yours, You are mine: my Father, my Savior, my God, my constant companion, my dearest friend and my ultimate desire. I love You, praise and worship You with all of my being, in Jesus’ name, amen.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.”
“Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain… Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…’” Exodus 34:2-7
“This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things…” Isaiah 44:24