Gracefully Truthful

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Read His Words Before Ours!

Matthew 14:13-33
Matthew 6:5-8 
Psalm 91
Mark 1:35-38

“The Lord knows everything anyways, why should I sit and talk to Him? Who has time to sit?!”

“I want to pray. Really, really pray with deep connection. How, Lord?”

“This is just a busy season; God knows I can’t stop to read my Bible.”

“I listen to Christian music when I drive around. That’s my quiet time.”

“I pray when I can.”

“I don’t want to be legalistic about quiet time.”

“There is no such thing as ‘quiet’ time anyways.”

Sisters, all of these quotes are mine.
Uttered from my own lips, multiple times.
Sometimes only to the ear of God.
Other times when I felt I was actually encouraging another sister!
But there is no encouragement in those words.
Those words reflect a lack of relationship,
attempting to hide behind a makeshift smoke screen of justification.

Consider…
“True transformation cannot happen apart from the regular intake of Scripture.”

Tim Overby, pastor

“Take in the Word of God daily. No Christian is sound who is not scriptural.”
E. Stanley Jones, missionary to India

A spiritual life without spiritual discipline is impossible.”
Henri Nouwen, professor and Christian psychologist

“Prayer is friendship with God. Friendship is not formal, but it is not formless; (…) the casual mind kills it.” George Buttrick, pastor

There is no Christian who does not have time for praying without ceasing.”
Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation

Sisters! Wow!
I dare you to read those quotes again and remain unchallenged.

I’ve been following Jesus for nearly 30 years, and I’ve always talked about the importance of quiet time,
but I’ve always had justifications handy for when I couldn’t be consistent.
Growing up legalistic, I pushed hard against the mindset that I needed to obey the “rule” of doing quiet time “every day”.

And I had a slew of justifications that fit that mindset beautifully.
Mom of 7.
Endless dishes.
Laundry all the time.
Full time home educator.
Pregnant and/or nursing for about 170 months (yikes!).
Church commitments.
And it’s seriously never quiet!

But then, keeping it completely real here,
my life became too broken for me to continue relying on smoke screen justifications.
I. Needed. Jesus.

I needed more than a worship experience on Sunday.
More than verses I memorized as a kid.
More than a few sporadic moments stolen when I could.
More than living on the fumes of my “come to faith experience”.
More than reading to read.
I needed depth.
I needed relationship.
I needed the everyday Jesus.

My marriage was broken, I felt alone, and I had nowhere else to turn.
In this desperation, the Holy Spirit met me in my mundane.
In the middle of the everyday task of brushing children’s teeth, it struck me that no one considers daily oral hygiene to be legalism.
In the same vein, no one would say an exercise routine was legalistic.
None would consider practicing an instrument legalism either.
These practices are simply a diligent, necessary discipline.

With this clarifying realization, I drew a line in the sand and committed to praying for my husband every day, reading Scripture, and journaling those prayers for him.
I was done with my excuses.
I determined that if God was serious about meeting with me, then I would be serious about showing up.
Everyday.
Noisy or quiet.
Crying kids or happily playing ones.
Kids climbing all over me, or my door locked and kids sitting on the other side of it.
Late to my day or starting on time.
I was finished with smoke screen defenses.

I need to tell you it was awkward; painfully so.
And it was never convenient.
I didn’t know what to write. My prayers were monotonous and….lame (in my opinion).
I didn’t know how to do it “right”, but I kept praying and kept showing up, awkward, but honest.

I can’t tell you about an “ah ha” moment when Jesus became everything to me.
I can’t point to a date in my teal journal where an obvious shift transformed my prayer life.
But I can tell you that what happened was genuine, real, and authentic.
Eventually, the space where I met with the King of Kings became sacred.

As quiet time became non-negotiable,
consistently sitting with the Lord
became as necessary to my everyday life
as food to my body.

I felt physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally weak without that intake of Scripture and prayerful communication.

I began showing up everyday to meet with God out of desperation for my marriage,
but it was me God changed in the process.

It began simple and awkward,
but grew to become beautiful, fluid, complex, deep, and sweet.

Was choosing to be consistent in my quiet time an act of legalism?
Sisters, it was the farthest you can get from legalism!
Aside from my decision to ask Jesus to be my Savior,
even above choosing to marry my husband,
this decision is the best one I’ve made. Ever.

If quiet time feels impossible.
Or superfluous, extra, and un-needed.
Think again.
There is absolutely nothing this life can offer me that is more precious than this time I spend daily with Jesus.

Pastor Tim’s quote is solidly true:
“True transformation cannot happen apart from the regular intake of Scripture.”

He’s right, my friends.
Are you ready to sit with the Savior?!
Radical, deep, life-giving transformation awaits!

**Ready to go deep and be challenged in your quiet time?
Check out Thomas Kelly’s Testament of Devotion!
I also highly recommend Devotional Classics, compiled by Richard Foster.

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Lila Diller
Lila Diller
5 years ago

This was such an open and honest reminder of coming to the only One who can fill our souls. We don’t think of eating three meals a day a point of legalism, either. We just need it. So it is with God’s Word and fellowship with Him. If we don’t come and get it, we’re spiritually malnourished (“hangry” as my kids say), and then no one wants to be around us. I can still fall back into that legalistic mode of “okay, I can check my chapter reading off for today,” or “I spent 5 minutes in prayer today, I’m… Read more »

Merry Ohler
Admin
5 years ago

This is so good, Becca. Exactly what I needed to read this week.

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discipline,dwell,hope,intentional,prayer,purpose,quiet time,scripture,worship
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