Anyone else exhausted from a post every day this week? Geez, that kind of schedule is a lot of work. Remind me to not be so ambitious next time.
Totally kidding. Sort of.
Here’s what I want you to know: all week I’ve been praying you’ll give the daily Bible/quiet time with Jesus a try. That’s it. Maybe just try it for four weeks and, if at the end of the four weeks, you feel like it’s a waste, quit. I’ll support it.
I also know I serve a powerful God that has my back on that request, and he’s going to show up big for you and you won’t want to quit. But I always like an out, so I’m giving you one just in case.
Yesterday I was at a local church for their MOPS meeting. My friend Christie invited me to speak, and I decided, because I am so creative, that I would talk about New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure no one else has ever thought to talk about this in January so I was feeling pretty good about myself and my unique brain skills.
In my talk, I challenged the women to have just one resolution this year: spend time with their Bibles every day. I’ve felt such monumental change from this one addition to my life, I think all the other things we wish and hope for in the new year will be taken care of in the midst of daily quiet time with Jesus. Maybe it’s with a perspective change and a new way of looking at our faults and problems. Maybe it’s with a freshly-broken heart and a focus on a cause close to Jesus’ heart. Maybe it’s with a wake-up call to what’s truly important and what’s not. I’m not sure what he’ll do in your life, but I’m confident he’ll do something.
I don’t know how much of that idea actually got across in my message though because I got weirdly emotional when I started talking. I didn’t prepared for that–I wasn’t talking about anything I felt would make me especially weepy, but once I started trying to tell others about how faithful my God has been this past year, I just sorta lost my cool.
If I ever had my cool to begin with. I’m really not sure I did.
I also have a pretty nasty sinus cold right now and was extra snotty so I’m positive all the liquid on my face was not distracting at all. I asked the ladies if they wouldn’t mind if I stuck a tissue up my nose and continued our talk. They were all very welcoming to the idea, but I asked myself if that is something the ultimate professional Oprah would do and ultimately decided against it. Then I gave everyone a new car, and they told me my talk was wonderful.
What I’m trying to say in a really ramble-y way is READ YOUR BIBLE, DANG IT. Get in relationship with Jesus.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
-Philippians 3:15-21, The Message
I’ve gotten some emails from readers this week asking for help or encouragement or asking questions about making this daily Bible thing a reality. Because it sounds slightly impossible in our really packed days, I get it. After going back and forth with my new favorite reader, D., she just got down to it and asked how to do it. How to turn off your brain, the distractions, the noise, the other people in the house, the fears, the to-do lists, the kids, the worries–how do you get those to stop FOR JUST ONE MOMENT and get some real time with God. And because I’m lazy, I’m just copying and pasting what I told her and what I’d tell you too if you emailed me:
The Holy Spirit.
I know that’s sorta lame to say, but that’s it. I can’t do what you describe. I can’t shut off my brain or avoid thinking about my day, I’m just not made that way. I’ve got too many balls in the air and too many people depending on me. But in the very early morning before I glance at my phone, before I say a word to anyone, I sneak into my office and just sit. I pray a variation of the same exact prayer every morning: “God, quiet me. Silence my brain and my life so that I can hear you. Teach me what I need to know. Show me where I need you more. Quiet me. Teach me. Show me. More you and less me.” Sometimes I literally visualize being at the foot of the cross and imagine the absolute silence of just Jesus and me.
Most of the time, this works. Sometimes it does not. But it’s also a rhythm and a discipline. It’s going to feel weird and fake for a while. Just keep doing it. God’s living Word cannot return void so you showing up and asking, pleading for him and then getting in his Word means it will happen. But it’s like a routine you have to keep doing and not give up. Some days you’ll finish and be energized. Some days you’ll finish and just be like “eh.” But just keep doing it. And slowly, without you even noticing, your outlook will change. Your attitude will change. Your thoughts will be just slightly different and you won’t be able to attribute it to anyone but the Holy Spirit working in you.
It’s hard and weird and you do it even though it feels like you’re just playing dress up and everyone will see you’re an impostor. I promise that’s all it is.
You’ve got this. And so does he.
I don’t think there’s anything left to say after that. Let me know how it goes, will ya?
(Need a place to start with a quiet time routine? Here’s how I do mine.)
(Just kidding, there’s always more to say. I’m closing my reader survey tomorrow night, and I’d love for you to weigh-in before I do. Five quick questions and someone’s going to win a Target gift card. I’ve been reading through the results and can’t believe how fun and witty all my readers are. Seriously, every one of you should have your own blog so you can tell people stuff. Also, the last question is a spot for you to ask me anything and I’m going to do a few posts on all the questions, so if you want in on that deal, get there soon. Survey here. Okay, nothing left to say for real now.)