One thing that I’ve been doing for Lent is forcing myself to get up at eight o’ clock every weekday, even though my earliest classes aren’t until ten and noon. I’ve been doing this for a number of reasons, one of which is that I’ve felt convicted that it’s unacceptable that I don’t consistently and consciously spend time with God every day. Having more time in the morning is part of how I’m trying to fix that.
I bought a couple of books online before Lent about spiritual disciplines, and I read a chapter in each of them last night and this morning about the importance of not only withdrawing to pray, but withdrawing in silence and solitude. If at all possible, this silence should be external as well as internal.
It’s so easy to pray whenever it strikes me to whine to God about something in my life or something I need, and then to just leave it at that. Trying to just quietly worship and adore God for a few minutes was way harder than I expected, which made me feel like something was wrong.
And if that’s hard, then something is wrong. I guess that’s obvious: we live in a fallen world, and one way that manifests itself, in fact, the biggest way it’s manifested, is in the brokenness of our relationship with God.
I’ve always been a very busy person, busy in a full way, but being busy to the point of not being able to stop to breathe isn’t currently my problem. My problem right now is knowing how to direct those moments of rest so that I can get the best kind of rest, the kind of rest that draws me closer to God.
I’m taking baby steps. Right now, I’m trying to take a little while every morning to be quiet, to meditate on Scripture, and to worship. It’s hard, but something I’m learning is that sometimes, loving God and being obedient isn’t “feeling it,” it’s having discipline even when you can’t feel it. It’s choosing to love, trust, and serve God even when His presence doesn’t feel near. It’s praying and reading the Bible consistently even when it’s hard to make it a priority. Sure, there’s something to be said for doing those things with the right motivations. But honestly, I think doing those things will help change your motivations. Choosing to chase after God even when you don’t “feel like it” isn’t going to be in vain.
That’s what I’m learning, and that’s what I’m trying desperately to act on. I want to learn to quiet my mind and heart, but not silence them: to fill them with God’s word and love and promises.
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10