I desire the joy of Jesus for all my dear friends, loved ones …and the stranger I befriend tomorrow. I know it’s not easy to consider life-change when life is already really busy, especially when we aren’t even sure where to start. But it’s those first steps that open our eyes and hearts to the realization that God wants to spend time with us. Here are three intentional life-changing ways God is trying to spend time with you:
Daily God Time
Find twenty minutes and schedule God time each day. Most of us can easily reclaim 20 minutes from Pinterest, Face Book or Insta to accommodate this challenge. Grab your Bible, a journal and a quiet spot. It might start with just sitting there talking to God in your head. It’s ok to talk in your head – He can read your mind. Eventually you will feel more normal talking out-loud to God, like He is a real friend in the same room. Tell Him your hopes, dreams, disappointments, fears. Then listen. You might get some fresh thoughts. You might get promptings to pray or to read scripture. Jot it down.
When I am between Bible studies and looking for new topics to journal, I often read the Proverb and Psalm that coordinated with the day of the month. Today is November 29th, thus read Proverb 29 & Psalm 29 (I love this is Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people, the Lord blessed his people with peace”). Then sit and think about what the passage is saying to you for your life. You might also marvel how these were written 2,500-4000 years ago, yet are still applicable today! End by thanking God for one thing He has given, shown or shared with you. You will be amazed how quickly 20 minutes goes.
Typically, I spend my quiet time in the morning. I find my day goes better with prayer and scripture first thing. I’ve been amazed at the topics and “rabbit holes” God has me venture on. I enjoy journaling, especially to see the prayers God has answered. It’s in these quiet moments that I am connecting to Him, He is speaking directly to my heart, just like having a hot cup of coffee with a bestie. My pastor Chuck Mingo has been known to comment “the Bible contains sex, drama and intrigue … all the things we binge watch on Netflix!!!” So, take a read!
Prioritizing Self so you can Hear
If twenty minutes is all you can find, stick with God time until it becomes a desired daily habit that you don’t skip. When you find additional time, the second challenge is to prioritize yourself so you are filled from God to know your true self.
In your You-Time, be honest: What is burdening you? What passions have you forgotten? What have you been overlooking or pushing off that deserves attention – not because it’s at crisis level but because You deserve attention? Then listen. God wants to talk to you. Jesus tells us in John 16:12-13: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth (i.e.: Holy Spirit), comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come”. Jesus encourages us to intimately know God in John 8:47 “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
In this quiet time, what is God whispering to you?
A God whisper I recently heard was the verse 1 Corinthians 10:23:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.”
It conjures up thoughts of kids asking why adults get to stay up late, eat extra dessert, buy whatever they want, and how they cannot wait to be an adult to make their own decisions.
My Bible titles this passage as The Believer’s Freedom. I believe this verse is talking about the freedom of choice that our Lord gives us. It’s the angel and devil on your shoulders, debating good and evil:
- I can stay up – but what am I filling my time with in those late hours?
- I can eat my favorite sweets, but at what cost to my health and physique?
- I can spend every dollar, but what hole am I trying to fill with these things?
In our choices, in our worldly freedom, there are consequences. As we become adults, the consequences get bigger:
- “I’m fine” I can have one more drink, but what are the opportunities for reckless driving, and bad judgement in speech or action?
- “I’m fine” I can linger a bit longer on this website, but what provocative pictures, conversations, pornography or over indulgence could occur?
“Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” Proverb 29:20 (*another good thought to ponder from being in scripture on the 29th)
The Bible tells us to make yourself available by standing at God’s door. He can fuel you, He can calm you. He will make us present if we give Him our hours. I recently planned a “God & Kristie” day after a month full of travel. I scheduled it on my calendar about a week out and woke up excited to see what the day would hold. I started with scripture and journaling, then I embarked on making soup, baking chickens and ultimately chicken stock. I turned off my phone and texts to prevent distractions and turned on great music. I had conversations with God. I said prayers of gratitude and hope. Sun beams kept streaming in and stopping me in my place, long enough to pause, smile and know He was with me. God and I worked talked through submission and surrender, topics I hadn’t been giving enough attention to. I jotted down the nudges I was hearing from the Holy Spirit. By the time the chickens were resting and the stock was bubbling, I was invigorated and joyful. I felt peaceful. I even took a run with my friend before the school bus arrived. Why don’t I do this more often?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
A struggle in writing versus talking face to face is not knowing how readers will respond. Will someone try behavior altering as in “I just need to try harder, do better”, or will they receive and say “I cannot do life without you Jesus”. In your quiet time, be honest with yourself. Boldly ask God in the form of the Holy Spirit to physically make you aware of any problem spots and to give you strength to push through them. Listening is key. Journaling can help remind you how far you’ve come!
When we are filled with peace, we can be present and intentional throughout our day, which will overflow to the people we share time with!
When “Tools of Titans” author Tim Ferriss was asked what he would print on a billboard if given the chance, the self-help guru did not hesitate in answering:
“You are the average of the five people you most associate with”
Our third challenge of intentional Christian Living is seeking and spending time with friendships based on eternal qualities. Sharing life with others that are walking in faith is like a fast pass at the theme park. You immediately get to learn and hopefully avoid the pitfalls they’ve experienced. You will have contacts on speed-dial who will want to take your calls, keep you accountable and discuss life breathing topics with you.
Regardless if they are a few steps of faith behind or miles ahead of you, to break bread with friends in faith allows for real vulnerability to occur. What can it look like? A friend shares the foolish argument she had with her husband, plus the days of silent treatment that follow. Another sheds tears and shares disappointment in the lack of intimacy and roommate relationship her marriage has become. Eternal friends allow you to share your conscience (a human angel and devil conversation) and they listen. They share solid guidance, encouraging you to fight for your marriage and desire more than what the world offers.
Recently a friend told me she is moving. I’m sad for me and my family as we truly enjoy spending family dinners and outings together. I will miss her intelligence, thoughtfulness and kindness, as she looks for positive intent in everyone and teaches her daughters the same. I’m disappointed to miss watching the first-hand transformation that Jesus will bring in her life, as she commits to seek and receive the richness Christian life holds. Instead of seeing her life-change daily, it’ll be like sending a child off to college, admiring their maturing responses on her visits back.
Without the hope and love of Jesus, the world is a dark and difficult place. I spent a meal lately with a group of women and left feeling burdened. I wanted so much more for them, yet all I could do was pray. Please know when you are hitting great depths of fear, lack of control or hope, unknowing where to go – you don’t have to be alone, you weren’t created to be alone, God wants to hear from you. He will provide peace. (see Psalm 29:11)
I believe Heaven is going to be the most amazing resort life with eternal friends from across the US, those I’ve befriended in Khayelitsha, Chinadega, Mina de Agua and other ends of the Earth – but until then, God has work for me to do. His Plan. His work that will allow others to hear and come along with me. And He is preparing me for it. Daily. Intentionally.
In a life that is full, I ask you to consider life-change by intentionally listening to what your Big Daddy in Heaven is saying to you.
(originally published at Goodwordproject.com)