“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:12-13
Welcome back! Heads up: This is a longer post than usual, but stick with me because it’s full of life-changing goodness! In my last post, I talked about my recovery from Marthaholism, which means our addiction to the busyness and anxiety of everyday stuff can get so bad, we don’t even notice we’re in the presence of God. At the end of the post, I promised I would share some of the ways I made margin for God in my life.
Before I get into the list, I need to lay the ground rules (a.k.a. commandments) for using it.
- Thou shalt take stock of thine current priorities and assess where thine time allocation currently lies
- Thou shalt get thine wheels to turn and use this list only as inspiration to create thine own solutions for engagement with the Father, personalized to thine current situation
- Thou shalt not abuse thine personalized list and turn said items on it into chores or obligations.
- Thou shalt engage with thine Father with a joyful and loving heart
What I’m saying in my shoddy Shakespearean, is God wants us to come to him with a genuine heart. He wants you to obey out of love and because you want to because your relationship with Him is so dear to you. Have you ever hung out with someone, only to have it become apparent during your interaction they’d rather be anywhere but with you? (Maybe I’m the only one who’s had this happen?… It doesn’t happen to me too often. Really… It doesn’t…) Have you ever asked a kid to do you a favor, only to have them do it while huffing, rolling their eyes, stomping around, slamming doors, only and half-way doing what you ask? It doesn’t exactly feel spectacular. It also removes any positive meaning from the act and, if that attitude keeps up, it eventually erodes the relationship.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ – Matthew 22:37
So, yeah, we’re God’s badly behaved kids in both scenarios, and I’m as guilty of them as anyone else. Given that he’s omniscient and knows our hearts, He can always tell when you don’t value your time with him and when you’re not happy about doing what He asked of you, so don’t get huffy with God! In everything you do, work to evolve your heart and your relationship with the Father so that you engage with Him in a way that demonstrates your genuine desire to be in relationship with him. Remember: He is for you.
One other note: This list isn’t about performing acts that earn your salvation, nor is it about adding another obligation to your epic to-do list. The last thing I would want is for these suggestions to amplify any feelings of guilt or “not enough-ness” you might carry around. Women already struggle with that too much. The items are meant as triggers to help you uncover new ways to spend cherished time with Someone you love more than anything else; about delving in and exploring that love and getting to know God on a deep, profound level. These practices are about unblocking your heart and letting God in. Fully. Completely. Eternally.
So, without further ado, here’s an abbreviated list of things to consider, suggestions, and potential inspiration for ways you can make room for God in your life.
- What do you do before you get out of bed in the morning? Try starting your day with prayer. As in, before you even get out of bed, praise God for blessing you with another day, tell Him several things you’re grateful for, and dedicate your day to Him.
- What’s the first thing you do once you get up in the morning? I used to check my email and Facebook feed immediately upon awakening, but that started my day with comparison and feeling beholden to other people. Now, I start my day with a devotion on YouVersion, which is my favorite Bible app. Getting your heart right in the morning sets a great tone for the entire day!
- Play with your schedule – I used to be a night owl, but that didn’t work for me because I always played catch-up until I crashed into bed, which didn’t leave me any time to connect. Now I deliberately go to bed early so I can get up before everyone else have the alone time with God that I crave. By early, I mean 4:00 AM.
- Read the Bible – Sometimes, we rattle off Bible verses without really knowing their context. Studying provides that context and gives us a chance to see the men and women of the Bible immersed in their struggles, flaws, tribulations, and faith walks. It helps us recognize God loves us and never expects us to be perfect, only to do our best. He’ll meet and use us exactly where we are.
- What do you listen to while you drive, work, do the dishes, get ready in the morning, etc.? How about checking out a Christian radio station? K-Love and Air1 are two of my favorites. I love that their programming is uplifting and family-friendly and their songs are all layered with deep meaning.
- Podcasts – I can’t say enough about these. Christian podcasts are phenomenal! You can learn biblical principles on how to grow in every area of your life. They cover a wide range of topics, including your relationship with God, marriage, parenting, finances, entrepreneurship, and countless more. Download a podcast app. listen, and thank me later.
- Audio Bible – My YouVersion app includes this feature, and I love it.
- Pick a trigger – Any time you feel a particular emotion or touch on a topic that brings up pre-selected feelings, use those as a trigger to say a quick prayer.
- Nightly prayers – Our family prays together every night, and we refer it as Thankful Time. We tell God and each other what we’re thankful for from our day and use it as an opportunity to praise God, uplift and support each other, and pray for others.
- Get creative – One of my favorite things to do is walk the dogs in the wee hours of morning, while it’s still dark out. I pray out loud as I walk and get filled to the brim by that one-on-one time with God. Everything is so quiet and peaceful, and I stare the stars while I do it. Talk about feeling connected! I also recently spoke with one woman who sings her prayers in the car, and another prays in out loud the shower. There are infinite ways to connect to God. Search your soul and try a bunch. Have fun with it!
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:7
In closing, you don’t have to do all, or even any of these things. Just find a way to engage God that works for you. Find something that makes your heart sing, and do it deliberately, regularly, and with a loving heart. Do this, and your life will overflow with His goodness and peace before you know it!
Did this post help you? Do you have a creative, meaningful way you engage with God? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Please share your wisdom in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know someone who would benefit from this post? If so, please share! One of the best ways to overflow is to help other people do so.