Week 1: Making Space For God
What does it look like to make space for God? During our time together last weekend, we talked about daily rhythms that help us make white space for connecting with God intentionally during our days.
Connecting with God was different for each one of us – some of us need silence, some of us connect to God through reading, and some of us by listening to music or by doing something creative with our hands. Discovering what connects us with God is part of the journey.
This week, I encourage you to think about what it is that helps you feel closer to God. For me, it’s being outside. Whether it’s on a walk around the lake, getting lost in the woods, or even just sitting on my patio, there’s something about seeing the sky and hearing the birds chirp that helps me feel closer to my Creator. I’m learning that it’s important to be silent during these times. By default, I am usually playing a podcast or music in the background. It’s important for me to turn everything off and simply be. I am learning to rest in that silence.
Here’s an online assessment that may help you discover how you feel close to the Lord. It was a helpful affirmation to me, and nice to have a little direction. https://www.soulshepherding.org/sacred-pathways-survey/
Take some time this week to schedule intentional time with Him. It will look different for everyone; embrace your unique way of connecting. Put it in your calendar and treat it like an appointment that you are not able to miss. And when you get in that space, let your soul unfurl and relax in His presence.
To close, here is one of my favorite quotes from the book Whispers of Rest:
God’s Whispers to You
I’ve always longed to love you the way
You’ve always dreamed of being loved,
In the way I’ve always intended for you.
There will never come a time
I’ll stop whispering words of love to you.
Come back to me. To your first love.
Let me turn your valley of troubles into a door of hope.
Don’t worry about anything.
Just let me love you.
Glow bright. Let me be your First Love.”
[Whispers of Rest, page 306]
He loves us. He doesn’t require anything but our presence. Let’s meet Him there.
Week 2: Living Authentically in a Digital World
So here we are, in 2019, surrounded by technology. It’s such a good, good tool. And it’s such a good, good distraction. As with everything created, it’s meant for good. But Satan likes to ensnare us by good things. He sneaks in lies that it’s in fact the best thing.
That our good moments are only good if others have commented and liked them. That we have to check. We can become addicted. We can become distracted.
Pray for God’s wisdom on the topic. (James 1:5)
God can and will give you wisdom on technology. He may be ancient, but He is not behind the times. He has a will for each of us with technology. Ask Him to guide you on what to say no on. It’s going to look different for each of us – cable TV, social media, tablets, etc. Ask Him to give you a limit on what you say yes about.
Check in with the way you are using technology. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about how not all things are beneficial for us. I think this is a good grid to run our technology use through. Maranda and I were talking and she gave me this question that has been a good grid to use as well: “If there’s no fruit, why are you doing it?”
For me, this means I try not to scroll mindlessly or check my phone as a way of not being present in an uncomfortable situation. I ask God to nudge me when I am doing this. If I notice I am mindlessly scrolling, I stop and look at the post I am on and make a genuine connection with that person. I write comment, pray for that person, or send them a message.
I try to post things that bear fruit and not simply post something for likes or boredom. I post to bear fruits of relational connection, encouragement, and praise to God.
Guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23)
Check in with your heart. We must guard our hearts for places where Satan can sneak in and gain a foothold. And social media can often be a slow leak place….a tiny crack becomes bigger and bigger until it’s a big issue.
If you’re noticing envy, discontentment, bitterness, anger, judging, selfishness, pride, boasting, or any feelings that aren’t serving your relationship with God and others, check in to see if a social media break could be valuable.
In all things, pray.
Dear God, we want to live life your way. We want to be intentional in our online presence as well as in our offline presence. Help us to do this well. Help us to be Ambassadors of You and not of the world. Convict us, nudge us, when we are falling in the way of the world. Renew our minds, transform us. God, we surrender our technology use to you. Amen
Week 3: Some thoughts from Ann’s Journal
Simple – Simply You Jesus.
To slow down, to tuck away
in order to write, to dance, to sing, to paint
To rest without reservation, judgement, guilt, worry or desired perceptions.
To instead, listen, laugh, smile, wave, encounter, play and enjoy …
each moment: easy or difficult, emotionally painful or joyful
physically painful, challenging, or exhilarating.
And to do it all under and in the delight of the Father
You have said that nothing separates us from Your love
NOTHING can take away my relationship with you
Help me respond by not putting anything in Your place
Nothing and no one else can make that promise to never leave.
In You, there is fullness, beauty, boldness, play, laughter, and sweet precious moments.
May I not miss these moments today.
Thank you for ______________,
for the laughter and freedom to play,
for the quiet places,
for the love of family, friends, spouse, children, people in my life
for the level of health I am currently in as it is a place to meet with you
for animals and how they bring joy to life
for landscapes that bring wonder, awe, and mysteries I will never understand.
TO YOU BE THE GLORY!
SIMPLY LISTEN Visual Art Practice
As an artist, I have found that working and playing with visual art materials creates an open space to hear from Jesus. In the studio, I intentionally keep the room quiet, on most days, so that music or other voices do not interfere with hearing the voice of God.
Instead, of going in to great detail on what this looks like to me, I invite you, through this blog, to take time to play and listen for Jesus today. Steal away to a quiet room taking simple art supplies with you. For example, some colored pens, markers, watercolors, paints, or crayons (whatever you have for yourself, kids, grandkids, visitors, etc) and some paper. Sit down and set a 15 minute timer (or longer if you so desire). And simply begin putting pen to paper and doodle like you used to in elementary school. Draw whatever comes to mind and just listen. Listen for God to speak, to inspire images or words, just doodle and listen and be still. Remove the notion that this has to be a work of art, instead enjoy the journey of playing and making in the delight of the Father.
by Ann Williams