That's what they say, right? I believe it. My spiritual life is the perfect example, and I'm sure your's might be too. Some of the growth happens slowly and I don't really notice it until I look back and see how far I've come. Other times it happens in an instant, and I can pin point the exact moment when I realized something new that transformed my way of thinking.
I love seeing growth. The new perspectives serve as a reminder that the Lord is ever present in my life.
Last week I had one of those instantaneous moments of revelation- one that I know I will be forever changed by. Let me share with you the story....
If you know me very well at all, then you know that I am not a morning person.
I loath them. This is a perfect description of how I generally wake up... with the exception of going to Disney World and Christmas morning.
So anyways. The past few years I've been trying to have regular quiet time with the Lord- time to pray and study. I was not very consistant. I'd have a few great days then I'd go weeks without picking up my bible study. When I tried doing it in the mornings my excuse was that I wasn't a morning person and had absolutely nothing to give, so I'd decided to do it in the evening or afternoon. Of course, my evenings were filled with a variety of excuse- mostly being tired after work. Then there was the battle of working and not working. When I worked I felt busy and I knew I would be better when I wasn't working. Well when I wasn't working my schedule varied too often and so I'd put it aside for my more structured schedule when I would work again.
But Satan used something even more powerful than that to keep me from my studies. Growing up the big message to my generation was that every action done in faith needed to be genuine rather than "going through the motions". So internally I had this fear of doing my studies when I wasn't "feeling it"- such as the dreadful mornings and exhausting evenings. In my heart- I was conflicted between the act of spiritual discipline versus genuine action. Satan used that to keep me from my quiet time. If I didn't feel like doing it- then I shouldn't do it because that's not what God wants. And in the mornings- I had nothing to give. In the tired evenings- I had nothing to give.
The past couple of months I've really been praying for guidance and strength in the area of bible study and time with God. Boy... did He ever bring it.
I recently joined a bible study group where we are studying "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. Reading chapter 7 I was completely mesmerized.
This author sounded so much like me...
"If there was an adequate pause, I'd spend some time with the Lord. But lately, more often than not, my busy days had slipped by without a quiet time. And my life was revealing what I had missed."
"One day I'm hot: "O Lord, I love you! Be glorified in me." The next day I'm lukewarm: "Sorry, God, have to run." I have found the words of the hymnist so true: Prone to wonder, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love."
"What it really came down to was I only met God when I felt like it. And that, I was learning, just wasn't enough."
Then she started to help me understand where I'd gone wrong and how to change that....
"I have to be willing to make room in my life if I was to experience the Better Part" (Better Part meaning intimacy with God)
"If you don't put the big rocks in first you'll never get them in later"
"...he's (God) not looking for buyers; he's looking to buy- you and me. He wants a people who are sold out to him. All the way. Total liquidation."
"But whatever it is- whatever keeps us from spending regular time with God- it is sin."
"... learning to abandon my emotions as a compass and start exercising my will."
"I didn't have to wait until I felt spiritual to spend time with God. I just had to make a decision of the will, and the spiritual feelings would eventually come around."
And then she gave me the most encouraging reminder....
"The Better Part is not out there somewhere. It is inside us, where Christ dwells by his Holy Spirit. Isn't that wonderful? We can't misplace the Better Part."
I realize that this has become a long post, and to those of you who've made it to this point- THANK YOU. I promise I'll wrap this up soon!
She talked about the idea of letting our will take control over our emotions- which is of course very spiritual. What I realized is that if in the morning I don't feel like getting out of bed to do a bible study- using my will as my driving force behind my quiet time doesn't make my time less genuine. My will can come from my desire to serve God. I don't have to wait until I feel I'm in the right spiritual mindset to begin my quiet time. It's quite the opposite I'm learning!
I wake up at 6AM, feeling very much like that picture above, and when I'm through with my quiet time at 7:15AM I feel completely renewed. I even did this on Sunday before church- and was so amazed at the difference I felt during church. I've only done this a few days now but I've challenged my will to do this the entire month of November. This is SO out of my ordinary- and I tell you this not to brag- but to say- LOOK AT HOW THE LORD HAS CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE! He's grown my spiritual life to a whole new level! Praise Him!
I don't know what's going on in your life or where you are in your walk with the Lord, but take hope my friends. The Lord will help you with your challenges and struggles when you bring them to Him. The devil is luring us everyday and we must rely on God to stand firm against his evil schemes. I'm so thankful that I decided to really lift this struggle to Him~ because He is delivering me. And He'll deliver YOU too.