Hanging Out With God

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

-Matthew 6:33

I’ve had conversations with God for as long as I can remember.

Memorized words hurriedly mumbled over.

Monologues where I rambled on about what I needed, wanted and expected of Him then dashed off before He could get a word in.

Silence. When I stopped talking to Him because I wasn’t ready to submit to what He wanted.

Tears. Someone once told me that tears are the sincerest form of prayer because they come straight from the heart; they’re untainted by our arrogance and foolishness.

Silence. When I stopped talking and just listened to Him.

Dialogue. When we talked like old friends catching up.

The first three are (thankfully) things of the past. The last three are pretty much the story of my life these days.

By the time I finally got tired of running (read about it here), there had been a lot of silence between us. The one where I know He’s in the room but I choose to look the other way. Reconciling with Him was awkward at first. Like getting back together with a friend you’d fallen out with for a decade. You’ve both changed (well, in this case, it’s the situation and me that had changed). You’re not really sure where to start. But that’s one of the things I love most about God. He knows. He ALWAYS knows.

He will find you exactly where you are…but He will never leave you there.

He will pull you into His arms as though you never left.

All He requires from you is to reach out to Him.

Sounds easy enough but there’s something about being human that just compels us to complicate everything.

There are days I wake up and I’m not particularly excited to do much. Not even spend time with Him. But one thing I’m learning to constantly do is stir my heart. Stir my heart to chase after Him regardless of what’s going on in or around me. Because in His presence, my circumstances don’t matter.

ME:     I’m sorry Lord. I’m a mess today.

GOD:   Mary, you never have to dress up for this. Not for Me.

The minute you reach out, God takes over. It doesn’t matter what state you’re in or what baggage you’re carrying. He just takes over like the God He is. And it doesn’t take that long for me to be cracking up about some joke He just made and I’m ready to face the day.

Then there are those glorious days I wake up quite literally in His presence. My heart so full it feels like it’s going to burst. And it’s not all that hard to sit with Him, talk, study the Word and sing His praises. Then I have the opposite problem-life is waiting to be lived.

ME:    Lord, I don’t want to go.

GOD:  You don’t have to.

I’d been having quiet time with God then leaving Him there when I went off into the world. Not because I didn’t want to take Him with me. But because I hadn’t realized I could! I remember laughing when He told me that because it was so ridiculously simple I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t realized it earlier.

There’s this notion many of us carry that you can only experience God’s presence in a particular setting, like during a church service or when a certain kind of song comes on. Kim Walker-Smith describes it perfectly when she talks about how we might as well walk into a supermarket and tell them to stop everything they’re doing and play a “worship song” because we need to experience God.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. We know that He is omnipresent. But do we understand what that means? I talk to God ALL the time…sometimes even when I’m talking with someone else. [Especially when they’re asking me questions I need His wisdom to answer!] We write posts for this blog together. Right now, He’s telling me what to put in and leave out.

My daily goal now is to remain in God’s presence throughout my day [and night]. Even when work or something else takes up more of my attention for a little while, I always go back to Him running. Bill Johnson says that it’s like living with a dove on your shoulder. If you had a dove on your shoulder, every move you make would be thoroughly thought through. Because you don’t want it to fly off. That’s the level of awareness we should have of God’s presence in our lives.

When I initially got back into quiet time, it was relatively structured. Like a 10-step program. I did it this way out of the need for discipline. When you have the attention span of a 2 year-old like I do, you have to go to extreme measures to make sure you get things done lol… But with time it became more spontaneous….more natural. I go where He leads with worship and His Word. He has this uncanny way of giving me what I need [not to be confused with want] when I need it. Often before I even realize I need it! I’ll never forget this one time I’d had a rough day but was determined to read my Bible and go to bed early. He gently said: Put that aside for now. Let’s first talk about what’s bugging you.

That, for me, is what quiet time is all about. Spending time with a Friend who wants nothing more than to embrace you with His love. Anytime. Any place. Far too often we act like we’re doing Him a favour by spending time with Him. Yes, He wants us in His presence. But we’re the ones in desperate need of Him.

You feed your body every day.

Doesn’t your spirit deserve the same courtesy?

“We have direct access to God the creator of all things…and many a day goes by and we don’t utilize the blessing of that access. This is the ultimate in pride and in arrogance if you really think about it. I think of the parable of the king that prepared the banquet for his son’s wedding feast and folks had their excuses as to why they couldn’t attend. Learn the lesson…the King says come to Him…Go to Him. Only a fool would turn down free and unlimited access to such a King as ours.”

– Ken Smith

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