Traditionally, the approach of a new year has been a great time to take stock of ourselves and our world. A time for personal reflection and recalibration of the goals and objectives of our lives. We often limit recalibration to bringing order to the chaos of our bodies, our homes and our routine. But how could we also refocus ourselves spiritually? Start by asking yourself a question: how close am I to God?
The answer is, you are as close as you want to be. Most of us want a closer walk with God, but many of us seem to think that this is only achieved by close saints like Desmond Tutu or the Dalai Lama, but certainly not by you and me. The point is, we can be as close to God as we choose to be. James 4: 8 tells us, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Start your closer walk this year by developing or expanding a daily devotional time or quiet time, then build it each day. No relationship will develop with only weekly or occasional interactions. None of us should assume that attending a weekly church service automatically means that we have a full and close relationship with our God and Creator. We need to be consciously, conscientiously and constantly approaching God and this only happens through daily spiritual practices.
Proverbs 2 encourages us to make the effort to know God better by carefully seeking a heart of understanding. When we carefully read the Bible and invest time in memorizing the scriptures, we absorb its truths more deeply. Sometimes reading the Word aloud helps us better hear and understand the wisdom of God. When we pray the words of scripture to God and ask him for “insight and understanding,” we benefit from a conversation with the Author. We come to know God and his wisdom when we seek it with all of our hearts. We find understanding when we seek it like money and seek it like hidden treasure.
When I have talked about this topic, I often have the response, “I really wish I had more time with God, but I barely have time for my family.” If we are honestly so busy that we cannot devote 15 to 30 minutes each day to the Creator of the Universe, is it possible that we are too involved in the hustle and bustle of life? Or maybe we need to reassess our priorities. Make time with God a sacred daily appointment that can be moved, if necessary, but cannot be broken.
If Jesus saw the need to be alone with his Father, how much more do we need a daily time of solitude to pour out our hearts to God, study his Word, and prepare to follow his direction. A quiet room – wherever we can focus on the Lord without distractions, a pen and a notebook, a receptive mind, a willingness to listen. One question: Lord, is there something I should know? What better way for a follower of Jesus to seek the Lord’s plan for our lives each day.
Do not be discouraged in your walk. It is a walk that only ends when we are face to face with our Companion. Be patient with yourself and take the time to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to shape the thoughts and desires that help you grow.
My prayer for each of us is that God help us slow down and listen to what God wants to teach us this year and through our closer walk we become the person God wants us to be.
In addition to being the Executive Director of FISH, Peggy Morache is also Minister Stephen and Lay Minister of The United Methodist Church.