The Scheduling Change that Made all the Difference
When is your best hour? When are you most focused? Most relaxed? Most free? My most prized hour of the day is afternoon quiet time/nap time. Whenever the baby goes down for her afternoon nap I send my boys upstairs for quiet time, set my time timer and when all goes according to plan, I have one whole glorious hour stretched out before me. (Cue the hallelujah chorus.)
This, child-free hour is a treasure that could hold any number of possibilities...sleep...t.v....reading...cleaning...sleep...
So you can imagine that I had a hard time letting go of that hour when I felt God prompting me to give it to Him.
I know I need to be in God's Word. I know it, but for many years I have struggled with quality time (on my end) and consistency. I love the idea of starting my day off in Scripture but this schedule just doesn't work for me. I have tried this over and over and it invariably ends with me falling back asleep. I am more of a night-owl and so for most of my life I have scheduled my Bible study at the very end of my day. The problem is, I am working longer and longer hours trying to keep up with this whole grown-up person thing, and so my 11pm devotions usually ended with, you guessed it, me falling asleep. Are you noticing a pattern?
Now, if the best you can offer the Lord is a few minutes in the morning or a few minutes at the end of your day then I believe the Lord will honor that and meet you in those moments. But this was not the best I could give...I had a better time-slot available...I was just reluctant to give it to my Maker. As it turned out, I liked to sing worship songs declaring "I surrender all" for He is my highest treasure but in the end, my schedule told a different truth. My schedule said, my kids get my best, I get some "me time", my husband gets what's left, and God gets a cursory glance followed by my list of requests while I'm on my way in and out of bed. What's worse, my prideful heart actually thought God should be happy that I was squeezing Him in at all. Cringe. To write those words hurts my heart. This was a terrible sin of which I have repented. If we are going to confess that Jesus is Lord and that He is our top priority, our schedules should support that claim.
But do you know what? God is so kind and generous that He met with me even in those half-hearted, half asleep moments. And with His loving kindness He called me to repentance and He invited me to something better. He invited me to a feast.
I want to pause right here and recognize that even the desire for God is a gift from God. We would not desire Him or desire to read the Bible or spend time in prayer without His wooing us to Himself. This is just one more reason to love Him! If you don't currently desire to spend time in the Scripture but you want to want that, stop right now and thank God for giving you the desire to know Him more and ask Him to give you a love for His Word. This is the kind of prayer He loves to answer!
2 Samuel 24:24
“No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”
The above passage, spoken by King David is one of the passages God used when He invited me to invest more sacrificially in our time together. I resonated with the idea of worship costing me something and so, probably begrudgingly, I began a new routine...the routine that would change everything. Seriously, the ways my heart and mind have been altered are too numerous to mention. One of the first things to spring from this schedule shift was a conviction to begin observing the Sabbath. Isn't that interesting? I gave up my nap time to talk with God and the first thing God told me to do was rest! We think we know what God will say but He is much more wonderful than we imagine. Somehow He manages to be unchanging and marvelously surprising all at the same time!
It has been about a year since I started tithing the best of my time. Early afternoon when the house is quiet I am now in the habit of grabbing my coffee and my Bible and meeting with God during the most discretionary hour of my day. It has not always been easy to neglect the dishes in the sink or put off my to-do list in order to stop and commune with God. No, it has not always been easy but it has always been good. God's Word has become precious to me. It's as if in handing over my meager treasure, God has in turn poured out the wealth of heaven. I have tasted. I have feasted and friends...He is good. This small schedule change has led to a deeper understanding and commitment to truth, a deeper hunger for God and His Word, and a more faith-based prayer life. I am writing again and dreaming again and though I am working longer and harder then ever, I feel refreshed and creative and alive.
I wish I had given God my best sooner. I clung to that hour of "me time" believing the lie that I deserved it and I needed rest and I knew how to get it. Dear friends, the truth is, He has become my rest. When I give Him those sacred moments in the middle of my day, He gives me more. He is the generous Giver who fills me again and again...the Living Water that never runs dry.
What is your best hour? When are you most focused? Most relaxed? Most free? Give Him this treasure. Bring worship that costs you something - and come ready to be filled.
"Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you--they are your life."
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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