Last Sunday, the 15th, the pastor at my church, Belmont United Methodist, gave a very moving sermon entitled Waking Up our Spiritual Senses. What I got out of it was that I needed to be intentional about making time to be still and listen for God. To be quiet inside my head and out. Time to be alone with God and say “Here I am Lord” and simply let that presence fill me up. It inspired me so much I was frantically writing notes on my church bullentin so I would remember what to do. I left the service, chatted with a few friends, hugged some folks and headed home to spend a wonderful afternoon with my daughter.
My daughter is 22. She lives on her own and works to make her way. So I don’t see her as often as I like. We actually work at the same company, but that does not translate into us spending time together. We didn’t do alot, we ate pizza, watched a movie and chatted about stuff. It was a wonderful time to be together.
Time alone with God so far: 0 minutes
Katie left to spend time with her friends and I went about preparing for work then following day. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, did the dishes, walked the dog, and chatted with my brother on the phone. Doug came home and our 2 other kids came home and we all spread around the house watching TV, playing XBox games, surfing the internet. By 9:30 I was exhausted and laid my head down and went to sleep.
Time alone with God on Sunday: 0 minutes
Monday - Was up at 4:15 and then again at 4:30. Off to boot camp to keep my heart healthy and get my body in good shape. Off to work; Monday’s are busy day’s no time to stop, I did manage to read MLK’s I Have A Dream speech so I could tell myself I did celebrate the day. Got home and prepared a quick meal for Doug, my brother and myself. My brother used to be a hair stylist so I am lucky enough to still get free cuts. I cook him dinner to show him that I appreciate his time. Then get ready for tomorrow; (your getting the routine now right?) Put away the leftovers, clean the dishes, clean the kitchen, feed the animals, prepare lunch for tomorrow, make sure I don’t need to iron for tomorrow, etc. I can’t be the only one with this routine.
Time alone with God on Monday: 0 minutes
Tuesday – Same as Monday only slightly different. But, not too much different so I won’t bore you with the details.
Time alone with God on Tuesday: 0 minutes
Wednesday – Same routine, gym, home, shower, dress, off to work, breakfast, work, snack, work. Then lunch time came and I realized I left my lunch in the floor board of my car. Went and got it and found the church bulletin from Sunday.
(SMACK me upside the head – or hayed in some TN counties)
I read my notes and realized I had not really spent one minute on being “with God”. Really got me to thinking about how much I avoid alone time with myself, not to mention God.
I thought about my schedule for the remainder of today. After getting up at 4:30 and going to the gym and coming to work I leave at 4 to meet with Em, then I have a committee meeting at church and choir rehearsal after that until 9pm. With barely 5 minutes between each event. I realize I paint myself into a proverbial corner, schedule-wise, on many days. I am in contact with God often. I talk to him throughout the day. I pray and ask for guidance. I ask him to keep me from injuring potential ex-employees. I ask for his blessings and say thank you often for his unending grace. But not once do I simply sit and “be with God” or at least let him say “You’re welcome”.
I’m thinking, (and I”m gonna ask Em about this today!) that some of this is self esteem issues. At least as far as avoiding alone time. I’ll report back after I’ve chatted with her this afternoon.
But the God issue worries me far more. I have to find time in my life to be intentional about making quiet time to be with God and let him do all the talking. Empty myself from my worries and concerns and simply be a vessel.
Yesterday I listened to Fresh Air on NPR. Terry Gross interviewed author Ayad Akhtar about his new book American Dervish. The book, a novel about a young muslim boy growing up in America, sounds interesting, but what I remember the most is that he said he spent one hour each day in prayer and meditation. Terry Gross sounded as astonished as I was and asked how he managed to fit in an hour long prayer time each day. He said “it’s easy when you’ve been doing it for 20 years”.
So, thinking back to all the 12 step meetings I’ve been to (I’ll talk about that in another post) I thought of one of what I call bumper-sticker sayings; “Seek Progress Not Perfection”. This may be where I have to start. Maybe I can’t be alone with God, or even myself, for an hour. Before I started boot camp ,in November, I couldn’t walk a mile without getting out of breath and now I can run a mile (though it does take me almost as long as some people could walk it).
Seek Progress, Not Perfection. I’m off to see Em.