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Verse of the Day
Main | The Dance »

When I Know What I Ought to Do

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon.  So far my day has included the following: an hour of exercise, breakfast with my children, packing lunches, a walk to meet the school bus, mopping the floor, four loads of laundry, meeting with a college student for two hours of mentoring, walking three miles with the stroller, raking the mulch back into the flower beds after the chickens scratched it out again, cleaning the windows, sending 13 emails, prepping supper, and finally putting my son down for his nap.  My soul is weary.  I know what I should do, but I don’t entirely want to do it.  I should sit down with my Bible and seek God to fill my weary soul.  

The problem is simple: I’m hungry.  I haven’t eaten yet, so I grab a bag of chips and some salsa (with black beans for the protein, of course).  I may as well turn the television on while I eat, so I flip through our five satellite channels.  Looks like an afternoon talk show again today.  

The salsa is gone in five minutes.  I put the chips away and notice a spider on the ceiling.  It’s time to knock the pests to the floor yet again.  While I have the broom out, I may as well de-spider the whole downstairs.  And upstairs too.

My daughter’s room is a disaster, so I take the quiet moment to sort her toys and scoot the bins back under her bed.  In the midst of this, I hear my phone vibrate.  It’s a friend in need of advice.  I sit to send the much-needed advice.  It certainly can’t wait.  While I’m at it, I get caught up on the other six texts sitting in my inbox. . . .

We’ve all been here, done this.  We intend to spend time with the Lord, but more tangible matters get in the way.  Perhaps we even create them.  

A common saying among writers is this: “When you sit down to write, you must either write or do nothing.”

We should take on the same mantra when it comes to spending time with the Lord: When we sit to seek him, we must seek him or do nothing.  We can seek him through reading the Bible, praying, listening to worship music, meditating on his goodness, thanking him, or a variety of other activities, but until we discipline ourselves to seek him or do nothing, there will generally be something more tangible to distract us. 

While growing in intimacy with Christ sets the focus on relationship and not discipline, there are disciplines that can help us grow in relationships.  My husband and I have found it very helpful to set a standard of regular date nights.  We ensure that we will have time carved out to grow in our relationship.  It requires discipline to say no to twenty-seven other things vying for our attention when date time arrives, but the discipline fuels the growth of our relationship.  In the same way, designating time to focus on Christ, and Christ alone, throughout our days ensures that it actually happens.  Discipline can help build a relationship.  Distractions can break apart even the best relationships.  

Let’s begin by simply acknowledging our hunger for God for what it is.  The next time your soul feels empty and you’re craving chocolate or Twitter or a mind-numbing television show, ask yourself, will this fill me or distract me?  Distractions are satisfying for a moment, but only an encounter with the Living God will truly satisfy that deep need.  If we can even acknowledge that this is a hunger for the Lord, we are moving in the right direction.  If we can step into a place of discipline and seek him in these moments, we are moving into a place of being filled by him.

And so I put the chips away, store the broom in the closet, put the phone on silent, and turn on a stream of worship music.  I close my eyes and silence the part of me that says this is wasted time.  It is holy time, filling time, refreshing time.  And I will walk away knowing he is pleased.


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