Week three, and I think I’m getting the hang of social isolation. I’ve got my routine set-up: get up in the morning, get dressed, take the dog out, drink some caffeine. Sit down to work, maybe have a Zoom conference of some sort or other. End the day, help William with school. Make dinner. Knit while I listen to a podcast or watch a show. Do a few chores, go to bed. I’ve got it down.
But there’s one thing that I haven’t worked into my routine, and it’s something that I’m going to challenge everyone reading to work into their schedules as well. Today, I am challenging each one of us to work in at least 15 minutes of quiet, alone time with God. This is going to be a real challenge for some of us – especially the ones who are always going – because quiet time with God requires two things that Americans don’t do well: stopping and silence.
Sometime in each day, stop what you are doing. That load of laundry will be there in 15 minutes, I assure you. The dishes, too. Get your spouse to watch the kids and lock the bathroom door if you need to. Once you’ve stopped, focus on your inner self. Is your mind going a mile a minute? Ask God for calm so that you can focus on Him. Are you irritated with your kids, your family, or life in general? Ask God to clear you heart and mind of it, so that He is all that matters during your quiet time.
And then be silent. Take out the headphones. Turn off the television. If you have to, close your eyes as if you were praying and simply wait. Try to not make lists of things that you should be doing; instead, ask God if He has anything that He wants you to do. If you are anxious or have worries, ask God to speak to them and calm them. Ask him to help you believe that He is in control. When you’ve turned your attention intentionally toward Him, simply listen.
There’s one thing that I know for sure, and it’s that God wants to spend time with you. Sometimes he wants to spend that time in silence, giving you an opportunity to simply breathe, be still, and be at peace with Him. Other times, He’s got things he wants to say. They might not be earth shattering things, but they will always be meant just for you in just the time you are hearing them. During my quiet times, I often hear, ‘Just keep moving forward. Don’t worry about where I’m taking you. Just keep going.’ It’s not a profound statement but it’s what I need to hear, and I know exactly what it means. Other times, I need to talk – really let it all hang out to God – because I’m frustrated or scared or unsure. He listens, and even if I don’t hear answers to my conversation, I leave my quiet time feeling unburdened and refreshed. He is the greatest of counselors and He always has time for you.
When your quiet time is over, don’t just jump up and get to work again. Take a few moments and reflect on your time. If you are a journaling type, write down a few impressions. Take your quiet time into your heart and commit to anything that God would have you do. And finally, thank God for spending time with you. Praise Him for being a present God who cares about our joys and worries and is with us in our daily chores and mundanity. Thank Him for being there with you.
I hope you will join me in carving out quiet time meant for God each day. If you receive a word during your time, I’d love to hear it and pass it along to Pastor Conrad. Simply email me at email@example.com. As before, ask for help if you need it, offer help to others if you can. Reach out to those who come to mind via text or phone call (remember to reach out to at least 7 different people this week); pray for those that you can’t reach, for whatever reason. And, as always, if you have a need, be it financial, emotional, or you simply need someone to do a few chores for you, please do not hesitate to contact me through the church email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by finding Conrad’s, Vicki’s or my phone number in the church directory.
I miss you all and can’t wait for the day that I will see you again. Until that time, let’s intentionally give ourselves over to God – His love, His care, and His mission. As the old hymn says, Turn your eyes upon Jesus. I can’t wait to hear how he speaks to you in the coming days.
Tentative Upcoming Events:
Women’s One Day Spring Retreat: The women’s spring retreat has been cancelled. The women’s leaders are thinking through other options at this time.
Annual Men’s Retreat: The date for the annual men’s retreat is May 1 – 3, 2020, at Kirkmont Center in Zanesfield, OH. The cost will be $110 per person which includes all meals and lodging; see Matt Williams for single day pricing (740-272-0153). Save this date! We will grow as friends and strengthen each other in God.
Beauty and the Beast Dinner: At the Beauty and the Beast Dinner, the Beasts serve the Beauties! Women, come enjoy dinner as the church men prepare and serve you your favorite meal. Plan to join us on May 16 at 5:00 PM for this very special event. All women are invited; contact Matt Williams if you have questions or would like more information.
Multi-Church Community Service: On May 31, multiple churches will come together at Marysville High School in a multi-church worship service. Watch here for more details as they become available!