Friday, September 16, 2011

Making Room for God in my Busy Life

What does your life look like right now?

In September, the learning curve is always high for me, and this year is no different.  My son is starting 9th grade, and all of a sudden home school looms large. I’m also preparing a 5 week seminar on spiritual growth that starts September 26th.  Add in time for family, friends, and outreach, and I’m left feeling a bit stressed.

Last summer I spent free time studying and preparing ten hours of material about spiritual growth. I enjoyed the preparation, but now as the date draws closer and my schedule is looking busier, I’m wondering, "Why did I say yes to this? After all this preparation, will more than 5 people come?"  I’m laughing at myself for getting stressed out over a seminar about cultivating our relationship with God.   Hmm, do I see a contradiction here??

Ten years of Middle Eastern experience tell me that either 20 or 2 people could come to the seminar I worked hard to prepare, but for me it doesn’t matter. Because the person who stands to benefit the most from this seminar is ME. The time I spent preparing encouraged and challenged me to revisit making my own relationship with God a priority. What am I doing to invest in my own spiritual growth?

Here are elements of cultivating a relationship with God in daily life that I’m rediscovering:

1.      Daily Time with God
In 25 years as a follower of Christ, I haven’t found a better way to grow spiritually.  My time reading scripture and drinking coffee is my favorite part of the day, even on those mornings when all I can manage is to stare at the page with bleary eyes!

2.      Gratitude List  
I started this last summer after I saw lists popping up everywhere on the web.  Every morning I review the previous day and jot down things I’m thankful for. This discipline helps me to notice many blessings from God I might have previously overlooked. (I’m finally reading the book myself.)

3.      “Practicing God’s Presence”
Last summer I revisited my all time favorite Christian book. I love this modern version of the classic by Brother Lawrence. I’m inspired by the thought of enjoying continual fellowship with God through the hustle and bustle of busy days. 

Favorite quote: “As Brother Lawrence continued his work, he kept up his close and easy conversation with his Maker, asking for grace along the way while making his work an offering.”

4.  Scripture Memory
After leaving this aside for many years, last summer I was challenged by Ann Voskamp's post and her thought provoking question: "Who memorizes God in the age of Google?" I worked on memorizing Ephesiasns 1:3-14.

5.     Prayer with my husband 
Sometimes it is rushed or pushed aside, but most mornings, we manage to fit in 10 minutes of prayer together before breakfast.

6.      Family time to worship and read the Bible 
It’s time for true confessions: over the summer we let this slide. Changing schedules, late nights, and the absence of routine made consistency difficult. Now that school has started we are back on the road.

What about you?  Do any of these ideas resonate with you?  What is your favorite way to make room for God in the midst of busy life?  


Linda said...

Hi, Olive Tree, thanks for those wonderful suggestions! I am especially pleased to learn more about Brother Lawrence's updated book. I'll check into it.

Bless you as you prepare and present your seminar!

Smiles and prayers,

OliveTree said...

Do check out the book. It's a wonderful translation/version of Brother Lawrence. I read it again almost every year.

Linda said...

Hi, I ordered it from Amazon right after I read your post! Thanks for the suggestion!


OliveTree said...

Hope you enjoy it!

Kris Thede said...

Enjoyed a nice visit to your blog this morning. Lots of words of wisdom and practical advice. While we share something every night that we each are thankful I have not started a list. And will also look into Brother Lawrence's book. Thank you for sharing.

Shanda said...

I have actually been taking things off of my schedule, or refusing to put anything new on. This started about a year ago when I taught a class on the subject. It is a battle though as I find myself scheduling things before praying. I really try now to pray before adding anything.

OliveTree said...

That is a great point, Shanda. Over scheduling myself is an easy trap to fall into.

Was your class on handling overload or on making room for God specifically? Sounds like a class I need!

Jamie Jo said...

I´m off to reread Brother Lawrence. His books are free for kindle if I remember correctly. Thanks for this timely post. Time seems to be a recurring theme in blog land these days.

Linda said...

Hi, "Practicing God's Presence" arrived in yesterday's mail and I started it last night. It's rich with spiritual depth and challenge. Thanks so much for recommending it. :)


OliveTree said...

Jamie Jo, checking Brother Lawrence out on Kindle is a great idea.

I hope you enjoy the book, Linda. I'm re-reading it now too.