Time with Jesus
Time with Jesus is the linchpin that holds the wheel of my life on its axle. Without Him, there is nothing that makes my life make sense.
Starting our day before the throne of grace is the best and most powerful thing we can do for our marriages and our children.
Our culture indoctrinates us to believe that our lives should be focused on us – our happiness, our fulfillment, our comfort, our success. We get antsy when the tangible stuff of this world doesn’t “do it” for us. I have been guilty of transferring this mentality to my relationships, including the most important one – the one with my Savior.
We know in our heads that we aren’t going to find fulfillment in anything but Jesus, but do we live it? This is the true purpose of Jesus time – not about our focus, our filling up, our faith – but allowing His TRUTH to penetrate down into the very marrow of our bones.
A few years ago, I read a book, by Kyle Idleman, titled Not a Fan. The author writes about how Jesus wasn’t looking for fans while He was here on earth; He was looking for followers who would take up their cross; He is the same today.
Reading this book was like stepping on a rake – the handle coming up to smack me between the eyes! Whack! The premise of this book is a complete affront to our all-about-me culture. It was convicting.
James 1:22 says that we should be doers of the Word, not just hearers. We must allow His truth to touch every area of our lives. Nothing held back. Rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Sometimes this doesn’t look or feel pretty. It takes us being completely humble before God, confessing and repenting from our sin, and being willing to lay every agenda and insecurity down at His feet.
I have a confession – I love super hero movies; Captain America is my absolute favorite! Maybe it’s because I have lived in chains of slavery, bound by bitterness, anger, and pain, that I never tire of oohing and ahhhing about my freedom in Christ. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around. Being a Christ follower is the coolest thing in the universe, because I have access to the throne of God, through the sacrifice that Jesus made for me and through no worthiness of my own. When the rubber meets the road, and I’m faced with the choice to stand or sway, I want to live my faith in Christ according to HIS standards, not our world’s easily offended standards of wishy-washy “faith.”
When I am diligent to start my day with Jesus time, I go to give God glory, I go to remind myself that He is God and I am not, I go to worship at His feet because He is Holy and I am not, I go to lay down my pride and repent for anything that I have exalted above His will, I go to study and apply His Word to my life, I go to ask Him to make me a follower who would be willing to do anything He asks me to do, I go to thank and praise Him for not giving up on me, I go to invite Him to flow through me today to everyone He puts in my path, I go to suit up with the armor that He has given me, I go to put the enemy of my soul on notice that I’m not going to put up with any of his crap today.
Have you ever had to restart your smart phone, iPad, or computer? Sometimes there are too many apps running, too many windows open, too much power or memory being used – the gadget freezes up and stops responding. At this point, the only thing you can do is just hit the restart button.
This is exactly what I have to do with my life.
Restart. New mercy. New grace. New joy. New strength. New peace.
There have been times, and will continue to be times until I get to that Celestial Shore, that I have to hit restart. My day has become overheated, overwhelmed, and it’s acting just plain wonky.
Being able to recognize the need to hit restart is crucial to our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
We are constantly bombarded with suggestions of what we should be doing to be happy, healthy, and not missing out on anything. There are dozens of images to pin to my various Pinterest boards that should help me to organize, beautify, and simplify my life – basically an invitation to try harder to make my life seem less crazy.
As a parent (and homeschooler on top of that!), I am told that there are a thousand activities that my children “should” be doing in order to have a well-rounded life. These activities may all be good, but depending on our stage of life, they may not be the best. All of these ideas, suggestions, and life helps only end up adding to my overwhelmed state of mind if I’m not careful.
I’ve learned that it takes courage to stop…to breathe…to reevaluate what we are doing, where we are going, and in what we are investing our time, and therefore our lives.
Is it bringing any lasting value to our lives? Are we just doing it because everyone else does it?
Maybe it’s all good, but we just really need to stop and take a break.
Maybe we need to focus on relationships for a time. Is someone in our family really struggling with a certain area in their lives? Do they need some focused one-on-one time? Do we need to be dedicating more time to prayer for them?
As a mom, I have learned that when I focus too much on those distant, far-off goal that I tend to project onto my kids, I sometimes miss the day in which I’m standing. I miss who my child is right this minute – a stage that they may be out of tomorrow or the next day. I’m so focused on who I want them to become that I forget that this day, this moment with them, is the one I’ve been given. I lose the peace that comes from trusting God with their future.
I have to wonder if this is, indeed, a ploy of the enemy… to keep me so distracted that I fill my days with unnecessary work and activity, so that I look back on my life and see nothing eternal…nothing but endless busywork and mindless, relationship-less filling of hours.
When I stop and ask God to show me exactly what it is that He wants me to focus on at this time in my life, this is when I realize that His yoke is easy and His burden in light. Each day comes with fresh mercy and strength that He is waiting to give me, if I will be brave enough to ask.
Each day He invites me to hit the restart button—at any time of the day, I can lay down the burdens that I bear at His feet. He doesn’t want me to drag along my ever accumulating burden of grief, pain, tiredness, and whatever else that is zapping me, overheating me, and making me feel overwhelmed…and maybe even act wonky.
Restart. New mercy. New grace. New joy. New strength. New peace. A restart is available to us at any time throughout our day.
I want to be a woman of prayer. I aim to have a strategic and powerful prayer life, to pray for my family, my friends, myself, my ministry, and anyone else God places on my prayer list. I have been praying through these resources: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I also simply pray the scriptures over my family on a daily basis. I want to make myself available to Holy Spirit to teach and guide my children, and to support and love my husband.
I encourage us all to lift our eyes. When we focus on ourselves…our pasts, our situations, our issues, our feelings, our emotions, our problems, our clothes, our social media popularity, our inability to control stuff, our weight, our stuff, our mess, our successes, our beauty, our smarts, our mistakes, our happiness, our depression, our fulfillment, our purpose, our want, our lack, our excess, our anything…it becomes our god.
When we constantly look inside, we see only how we measure up with human standards. Instead, let’s truly move our mind up. Let’s focus on the greatness of God – the God Who made the universe and everything in it, with just the words from His mouth. This same God knows us. He has always known us. Our names are written on His hands. He is our purpose. He is our strength. He is our joy. He is our Peace.
Do you have a special way that you like to start or restart your day with Jesus? Let me know in the comments.
Stay tuned for next week’s Simple Tip for Peace: Taking Care of Yourself