In our 150+ day journey, I can tell you story after story how I felt God talk to me. Driving to and from the hospital I might hear a message I knew was just for me. Reading a passage in the Bible might lead to something jumping off the page that I hadn’t noticed before and feeling like it was intended just for me. This week, I realized I have spent so much of my time being focused on various projects and tasks that I haven’t heard that special message yet. I haven’t felt inspired to pour out whatever God was showing me onto paper. As I looked up and realized how ‘quiet’ God has seemed, it occurred to me that I have been too busy, too distracted, and haven’t stopped long enough for God to speak. Even when I’m not moving from place to place, my mind is.
I find myself wondering now, as I write this, just how much HAVE I missed from God? How many words of wisdom, encouragement, inspiration did He have ready to give me, but I haven’t been still nor quiet enough to receive them? How many times did I make things more difficult than they had to be because I hadn’t spent time with God? How many times have I not slept well or been unnecessarily upset because I didn’t start my day with the Author of LOVE, PEACE, and HOPE?
Psalms 1:1-3 says:
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day & night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers.”
There’s not a season that I want to walk through that doesn’t yield fruit and to have ‘leaves’ so well nourished that they never wither and that whatever I do prospers. It’s a wonderful sentiment. But, in order to receive the blessings found in Psalm 1:3 of a prosperous life which yields fruit, I HAVE to FIRST do what Psalms 1:1-2 says. My prosperous life and fruit is directly tied to my daily decision to live a life that delights in the law and meditates on God’s word day & night.
It’s easy to skim past the first two verses and wonder why our lives don’t seem more prosperous. If my daily decisions don’t involve spending time with God; learning his word; studying what He teaches regarding my heart and attitudes, then I WON’T live a life whose leaves won’t wither when times are hard.
The last few weeks have been especially difficult, personally, and I’ve often wondered why things to be even harder than they should be. Over the last few weeks, it’s easy to blame or rationalize or explain why things are hard, but ultimately, it comes down to my choices regarding my time. I’ve been distracted. I’ve been ‘lazy’. I’ve reasoned I needed a break.
When I consider HOW I’ve chosen to spend my time and the choices I make, I’ve realized that most of them haven’t been self-serving much less God-seeking. I’ve made choices with the foods I’ve eaten that don’t serve my body and my chronic illness well. I’ve made choices with my time that don’t serve trying to launch one business and revamp another well. I’ve made choices with my sleep (or lack thereof) that don’t benefit this stressful season. Over and over the past few weeks, I’ve ‘planned’ to spend time with God, and then got distracted or side-tracked and haven’t.
And then, I wonder why it’s been hard. I wonder why I don’t feel strong. Why I feel on edge. Why I don’t have peace. If I don’t FIRST begin my day with the one who IS peace, then how long do I really think I can maintain it without Him?
Life is hard-for all of us. Life gets busy, and we get easily distracted. Spending time with God, daily, needs to be as nonnegotiable as brushing our teeth or washing our hands. The Enemy will do whatever he can to distract or dissuade us to put off our time with God and get us to do to ourselves what he does not have permission to do to us.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve spent some one-on-one time with God, I hope you’ll stop right now and do just that. It doesn’t have to be hours, but it does have to be consistent. Find a verse or use this verse from Psalms and meditate on it throughout the day. Ask God to show you where in your day you can spend more time with Him. Ask Him what changes you need to make to your time to make room for Him. Ultimately if we want to live a life that yields fruit, then our lives MUST remain grafted to His.