Hi friend! Welcome to episode 20 of Tending Your Soul Podcast! I’m Mariel and I wonder if you can relate to the idea that having an hour long quiet time in the perfect wingback chair with a flannel blanket draped over your lap and a hot cup of tea, is the key to intimacy with God?
From the time I surrendered my life to Christ in my early 20s, I was offered this picture from well-meaning church family. I was continually challenged to have long quiet times, in a picture perfect spot in order to consider it time with the Lord.
Now granted, this may have been what I internalized, not what was SAID.
But internalize I did.
So as a wife of 2 years and a mom of a 4 month old, I set my alarm for an ungodly hour and got up to seek time with Jesus in the little chair in the corner of our small apartment living room. I no sooner got comfortable that I would fall asleep in that chair until the baby’s cries would wake me demanding his morning feeding.
It took me a few months, but I finally began to look closer at Jesus’s example of time with His Father. How did He lean into God while He was on this earth, tired, continually serving others and being needed and touched and demanded of?
What I discovered has changed my time with the Lord over these last 22 years of walking with Jesus.
In Luke 5:16 we see Jesus’s only prerequisite. “But He (jesus) would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
To withdraw. Alone. Jesus didn’t have a fancy chair or the right candle or even a cup of tea. He just got alone, away from distractions, to listen to and talk to His Father.
So as we consider over these course of these few podcasts where we are looking at tips for cultivating time with Jesus, we not only are going to consider our why and know our purpose (from episode 19) but now let’s consider our place.
Where will we go to seek the face of God?
What place do we need for seeking God?
Obviously God is omnipresent, and born again believers have the Holy Spirit inside of us, so He is closer than our own skin. Yet there is an invitation that we see Jesus reflect as He offers the example of intentional time away, alone with God.
Having a place and even a typical time will help us develop a consistent rhythm of listening to God’s voice through his Word. Having a place helps put us in the right frame of mind to listen and receive as we train ourselves towards this.
For me, the best place has been in my favorite chair, that is not in my bedroom. Though when my boys were small, my favorite chair WAS in my bedroom bc little boys have the uncanny ability to hear their mama get up and sneak to the living room at any time day or night.
So when they were small, I just got up, turned on the light next to the chair in my room and spent a few minutes there with God before their little feet carried them into my room as the sun rose. But now, with grown sons who are launching and a husband who leaves early for work, I am afforded time with the Lord right in my little home library, in a cute little chair in the corner.
I do seek to continue time with the Lord as I walk my dog, shower, drive and do chores in my home. But my set aside space is a place where I am not distracted by laundry room noises, to do list in the kitchen or the notifications of my phone or even the TV. My desolate place is my little home library.
Where is your place, I wonder? Where might you set aside a small place to leave your bible, glasses, pen, and journal? A place where could you find less distractions, at least external ones?
And then there is the issue of time.
I heard someone say recently that our new “fine is busy”. Someone asks how you are and our response used to be “I’m fine” now it’s “I’m busy.”
We give away our time and then wonder where it went. The one thing we can’t save up, store or get back is time. Yet we often squander it on that which is not eternal or restorative.
Jesus had 24 hours In His day too. Having lived about 33 years, Jesus had about 290,000 days. He was certainly busy.
Yet he was intentional to draw away to desolate places and pray.
He withdrew intentionally. We even see in the scripture where he spent whole nights in prayer at times.
We often challenge one another to MAKE time for whatever, but the reality is, we cannot MAKE time. We can only use the time given to us.
You and I have 24 hours today and the average person who lives to be 80 years old, only has the time given to spend as we decide.
Ephesians 5:15 urges us to look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
So how can we carve out time to intentionally meet with Jesus?
It doesn’t have to be hours of time. But it does take time and therefore it does require giving up time in something else, sleep, chores, work…whatever it might be that we are doing.
Now I’m not sure that being a morning verses night person really is a thing, because really we can train ourselves to whatever time frame works for us and our family and our schedule. As a young mom, I was up early with small children. As a mom of teens I was up late, listening to adolescents. Now as a mom with launching grown sons, I am typically up and spending time with Jesus before 8 am.
The point of cultivating a rhythm of meeting with Jesus is less about the place and time than creating a space that is minimally distracting so that we might slow our pace a bit and meet with the One who created time and space and is wooing our hearts into intimacy with Himself.
So what is that place and that time that might work best for you?
Where can you sneak away, if only for a few moments to get alone with God? What time of day can you offer even a few minutes to lean in and listen to the heart of the Father through his Word?
The One who created time and space and YOU, is inviting you to draw near, let’s ask Him to show us the where and when for that.
Lord, we stand in awe that you, the creator of all things invites us to intimately meet with you. You call us to draw away to a desolate place with you so that we might find refreshment in your word and stability for our day. Would you show us, each one in the personal intimacy of our relationship with you, where and when you are wooing us to draw near for a few moments each day? Amen.
Now we can be like Habakkuk and stand on the watchtower, anxious to see how God will answer that prayer.
I want to invite you to join my online community, Tending Together, where we continually encourage one another to keep cultivating intimacy with Jesus as we tend our souls by His Word. Find out more about our community on my website, marieldavenport.com You’ll find the link with details in the show notes.
Until next time, my friend, keep tending your soul by the Word of God.