Have you ever had one of those decisions that you are super glad you made? Your entire life is better because of it? Maybe the direction you were headed wasn’t good, so you finally decided to heed the advice of a friend and turn around. Or unlike me, you bought a particular stock and became a millionaire. Maybe you asked a certain girl out on a date, and she said yes. One decision was the beginning of really good things starting to happen in your life.
Well, I am about to tell you about one of those things in mine. About two years ago, I stood in front of my mirror as I prepared for bed. I was having one of those really exhausting days, weeks or months. I don’t remember which. I said to myself, entirely accidentally, “You know if you were going to actually live a productive life, you would have to spend X amount of time with God a day.”
Now it was a passing thought. God didn’t show up in human form or send a band of angels to communicate this truth to me. It was entirely accidental, I thought. I tried to shake it off. It was, after all, only something I said one night when I was really tired. There could be no wisdom in it, and certainly God couldn’t have communicated to me through my own words.
So I fought. I fought every single day for almost a year. In fact, I don’t think there was one single day that year in which I spent that amount of time with God. “No, thank you, God, what do you think I have? Time?”
See, I was really confused. I thought I was giving Him something instead of Him giving me something.
I termed it “X” time because I have this crazy blog and I didn’t want anyone to know the actual amount of time. I did some negotiating with God and decided on an amount of time I thought slightly more reasonable but still significantly less than the amount of time I had specified on that evening as I reflected on my reflection in an exhausted stupor.
This blog will say there were days during that year which I successfully spent X time with God, but that is because I had reinvented the time. I had changed it. Maybe for a day or two, I did do the real X time; but I don’t think so.
Then came last October. Now my birthday happens to be October 15, which is tomorrow or today or yesterday or a week ago, depending on when you read this post.
Last October, I was really fiscally challenged. Now I know that you might say, “Laura, we are all fiscally challenged.” True, but for the last five years, I have lived ridiculously close to the poverty level in one of the most expensive areas of the country. For an American, I am fiscally challenged. (The good part about being fiscally challenged is that eventually I learned gratitude. An apple makes me sing for joy because an apple is a very expensive piece of fruit compared to a banana. I know I am living the high life when I eat an apple.)
As I was saying, last October I was feeling pretty poor. If I was going to be responsible, I didn’t even believe I should buy myself a cupcake for my birthday. I was broke with a capital B. I decided if I was too poor to give myself what money could buy, I would give myself what money could not buy. I gave myself time with God.
I decided that for an entire year. I would spend as much time with God as I wanted every single day. For one year there would be no guilt or shame attached to spending so much time with Him. For one year, I would allow myself to experience Him for X time – the real X time I had mentioned to myself in my exhausted stupor as I gazed at myself wearily in the mirror.
That decision changed my life. Have I spent X time with God every day? No. I have missed maybe 14 or 15 days. Maybe less than that. I can think of 10. I can remember those ten because they weren’t all that great. :)
But I will say this, finally I had the time I needed with God to actual process the emotion that I needed to process to turn my life around and love people well. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like I was always running on low. I quit feeling like if I only had more time with God, I would be okay. I began to function and face issues I never knew I could face.
This past year has been revolutionary in my life. As I type this I am at another crossroads. I get to choose which way I will go. Will I choose life or death?
Three years ago God convinced me to give Him my last addictive behavior by asking me if I would give it to Him for just one year, and I did. By the end of the year, I was like, “You can keep it. I don’t want it back.”
That’s pretty much how I feel about the time I spent with Him this year. The gift of Presence was more than worth it. I don’t care if I am poor the rest of my life. I want to spend as much time as I want with my God!
What was your last life-changing decision that headed you in a direction centered in Christ? Have you ever given yourself the gift of Presence? Would you do yourself the favor of giving it to yourself today?