I am one of those kids who grew up going to church, reading my Bible at home, and learning how to have a “quiet time”. My youth minister taught us how to spend time with God by ourselves, worshipping, confessing, learning, listening. I have always been a “journaler”; I have dozens of them in a box somewhere. But somewhere along the way, as much as these times with God truly meant to me, if I was too busy or if it sounded boring to go hang out with God or if I just wasn’t in the mood to dive into anything serious or deep, I felt guilty. The part of me that likes sticker charts would get in high gear and I would try to make this spiritual discipline as disciplined as counting calories. My day was good (i.e. God was happy with me) if I had made that time for Him. Among other misconceptions of what God wanted from me, this was at the top of the list.
Then I heard someone say once, “We don’t have to have time with God; we get to have time with God.” That started a change in my perspective. Then one time later someone said to me, “You do realize that the Holy Spirit who lives in you is the equivalent of the man Jesus, right?” Yes, I knew…but did I? One of my spiritual mentors gave me a book or two by Madame Jeanne Guyon. It was specifically written for beginners in the Lord, and let me tell you it was right on my level if not higher. Again, I was learning about the constancy of this relationship that I had thought was already “so close”.
And somewhere along the way it began to happen. I began to realize that none of this was sticker chart material at all. The Living God, as Jesus promised upon His ascension into Heaven, through the Holy Spirit, makes it so that I dwell with Him at all times. He will be as thick in my atmosphere as I will acknowledge that He already is. I need to meet with Him, to settle down and listen, to deeply drink and eat of His Word, to confess and intercede, to worship…He wants me and I want Him…but there is no set way it has to be done. It’s just a constant turning of our hearts and minds.
He will be as thick in my atmosphere as I will acknowledge that He already is. What’s screwy is that the enemy has planted the lie in some of us that God wants our work and performance more than just the simplicity of our awareness and appreciation that He is dwelling with us. When that awareness and appreciation happens, everything changes. Stickers no longer necessary.