This post is not intended to judge the depth of anyone's relationship with the Lord but to share how God worked in MY heart after a conversation with a friend about prayer.
Our Saturday Bible study group usually begins with our leader asking for accounts about how God worked in our lives during the previous week. As I walked in my neighborhood early that morning, I thought about my week and what my contribution might be to the group. Mentally, I reviewed each day, the scheduled events and people we saw. It seemed busier than usual, and I quickly realized why. It was!
My husband says I make it look easy, but arranging seats, making coffee and printing agendas are only a few of my duties. Our calendar included meetings with one State Representative and his administrative assistant, one County Judge, 16 pastors, 15 elders, five Christian businessmen, one toddler, six children from my art class at church, and a 2-night stay from my daughter and very active grandson.
Additionally, we transported friends to and from the airport, enjoyed a theater matinee, the Splash Pad and exhibits at the newly expanded Texas State Aquarium with the kids. We visited the retinologist, my favorite hair salon, shared dinner with our pastors, met our new next-door neighbors, and last, but not least, celebrated our wedding anniversary. Somehow meal preparations, kitchen duties, bathing, laundry, and nursing care, not to mention phone calls, emails, texts and social media managed to fit into the schedule, too. According to my Pedometer app, I also walked 26.47 miles! Who knew that retirement would be so busy!
However, one conversation from the week convicted me. A weekly lunch in our home with Christian business men and women is filled with rich dialogue of how God uses them in their workplaces. Our discussion centered around prayer, and one man shared how an associate declared that he used his driving time for prayer. Our colleague commented, "Isn't it a shame that in our busyness, we make time for other activities and confine God to the commute? My coworker is missing out on so much in His relationship with the Lord."
At that moment, I thought I was being efficient with time on my prayer walks. It's a special time when I'm alone to hear God. I pray and listen to my Bible app while walking in my neighborhood. I admit my deeper study has suffered these last few months with illnesses and activities. As busy as I was helping my husband in ministry, I realized how easily I, too, was tempted to pigeon-hole my quiet time and had relegated God to the curb.
In the daily devotional, Jesus Calling for July 17, Jesus, speaking to the author, Sarah Young, during her quiet time, says, "You live among people who glorify busyness; they made time a tyrant that controls their lives...They have bought into the illusion that more is better; more meetings, more programs, more activity." I found it to be true for me that busyness and fatigue are the enemy's most effective tools to "kick me to the curb." And those are only two of his subtle and cunning strategies for sidetracking believers from fulfilling their God-given destiny. Busyness is the world we live in today, but it doesn't have to be. The Lord has called each of us as pilgrims to a "solitary path," to come away with and follow Him. Calendars and clocks are superb God-given tools for creating order, but making time alone with Him and keeping the appointments are paramount for a reverent, righteous, and abundantly joyful life.
My husband says, "True devotion requires sacrifice, and a sacrifice isn't authentic until it affects my lifestyle, schedule, and relationships." As I pondered the comments from the lunchtime conversation about time alone with God, Holy Spirit brought a sweet conviction and asked for more of my time. I feel no condemnation, no guilt or shame as worldly sorrow brings, but a godly sorrow that brings about true repentance for my changed heart, mind and schedule. God's grace and mercy remind me to pray without ceasing and give thanks for everything.
Now, that's a full calendar!
(c) 2017 Kate Browning Word