This post is by Jen Stanbro.
Growing up in the church, I was often instructed that giving God my time was important. So I did with fair regularity in my young adult and teen years. But as life got busier, I struggled to carve out time for the Lord, to fit time with Him into my life. Time with Him felt more like a ‘To Do’ on my long list.
I remember the season when I started feeling a shift. I began to feel the difference between a day with quiet time and a day without. Giving God time felt less and less like an obligation, and more like an act of self-care. Like a snuggly blanket for my soul.
There have been seasons of waiting, which I’m not gonna lie, I’ve loved. Uncertainty has never bothered me because…well.. I have God, and God has my life. I would relish silent times sitting with the Lord, sometimes praying, sometimes absorbing His Word, sometimes just listening, with my heart soft and spirit open. I could sit with Him for an hour and still need to peel myself away.
His presence is so good.
There have been seasons, oh, seasons of grueling battle. Quiet times letting the Lord nurse wounds. Others spent pacing in my kitchen reciting scripture, reminding my soul of the wondrous works of the Lord: the same God who set a wet altar aflame hears my cries for miracles today. The same God who opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to behold the angel army with flaming swords, sent to defend, is able to defend my foster baby. I’d sketch a mountain and write across it the name of the giant obstacle that needed to move.
Times with the Lord were fuel. Times with God set my soul on fire and I raged in battle against enemies I’d never met before. Age-old enemies of God sent to ruin His un-ruinable plans. He even gave me dreams at night and visions during the day that spurred my faith and obedience. His steadfast love, His promise of strength, perseverance, and justice empowered my resolve.
And then there have been those countless quiet times where I crumbled. My former self tag-teamed with Satan and laughed at my attempts to change. Those quiet times often involved tears, relinquishing, refining, dying. Hard times. Important times. And every time, God met me faithfully, pouring grace over my failures. Jesus lovingly applied balms of forgiveness to my weary, self-hating soul, inviting me to get back up and try again in His strength.
I can’t imagine where I would be without those times with God.
Today, I have exactly zero faith in my flesh’s ability to sustainably do anything good. And I’m over it. I know what I am but I also know who I am. Guilt has no hold on me. Following God’s lead, I give myself grace and keep on trying. I could not possibly take credit for an ounce of forward movement, I simply rejoice at His marvelous works and praise Him.
He walks with me, sanctifying and transforming me, forgiving and saving me, and then, if I use our time together to empty of self and allow His filling, He faithfully spills out of me onto the precious souls around me - His beloveds.
Today, my time with the Lord is a far cry from where it started out. It’s no longer just something I should do. It’s everything. Time with God is equal parts self-care, self-improvement, and selfless.
Where are you in this season with the Lord? Who is He to you? How much is time with Him worth to you? Be honest with yourself before the Lord. You’ll find He has more than enough patience, understanding and kindness to meet you right where you’re at and draw you to the wonder of His presence. Give Him time and watch what He can do with it.
Jen Stanbro is the singer/songwriter behind the Hello Mornings podcast theme song, “God Day.” She lives in North Carolina with her husband and crew of cuckoo kids. Her heart aches for the oppressed and marginalized, and she seeks to reignite God’s holy fire in the hearts of His people to love courageously like Jesus.
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