Slowing Down to Connect with God
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Loving other people is fulfilling – God designed us as relational beings – but it’s ok to admit that it is draining at times. In fact, it is not wrong to be drained by time with people, because it keeps us in touch with our need to go back to God to get filled back up with his love, which will then flow out to others. There is a spiritual cycle God wants to form in us – get filled up by him, pour out to others, come back to him for more (see teachings on the feeding of the 5000 – Matt. 14 for example.)
Ajith Fernando is a Christian pastor and author deeply in touch with both the cost involved in ministry, as well as the culture we are serving. Here is what he has to say in Reclaiming Love on the need to get filled up by God:
“A life of service to others can be draining, and there are often tiring and painful experiences. We must be strong to engage in this kind of service. What better way is there to grow in strength than to spend time with God?... We must come to God daily to get our strength from him…He is an inexhaustible reservoir of healing for our souls. Finding strength and fulfillment from God is what enables us to engage in a lifetime of service.”
A life lived for God is a full life – full of people, full of spiritual work. My brain is full, my calendar is full. I am often in large groups where there is so much happy noise. These are all good gifts from a good God to be enjoyed. But I find that I need some quiet space with God to enjoy these full times.
“Being still” takes practice – if you are someone always on the move or always on the screen, being still could be accompanied by a sense of restlessness or even boredom. Your brain has gotten used to constant input and it will take some time for it to adjust to a slower pace. Those longings do not have to control you. They will slowly lose strength as you replace them with other things.
“Being still” is not just about being alone – we also have to quiet our minds and hearts when we are with other people so that we can settle in and truly focus on them. I (Chris) am sure I am not alone in wanting to check my phone repeatedly when I am in conversation. It is a habit, and the longer I try to go without checking, the stronger the urge becomes. But, doing so fractures my attention (Day 8).
The human heart resists slowing down. But even non-Christians agree that we live in an unprecedented time of constant stimulation. God will show you ways that you can slow down and enjoy time with him and others, without any interruptions. I pray that he will lead you into a solution that is exactly right for you right now, and will show you when to try something different.
- Consider turning your phone off during time with the Lord.
- Are there ways during time with God to get off the screen? Paper Bible, paper prayer lists, etc.? Consider trying one for a month and see if it works for you