Loving God

I woke up earlier than usual this morning.

Attempts at falling back asleep were not working, so I pulled on a cozy sweater, blinked a half-dozen times till I could see straight, grabbed my Bible and went outside to sit on my garden swing overlooking the woods.

The rocking of the swing was making me sleepy again, so I sat up straighter and flipped open my Bible, determined to learn something. Okay, brain. Stay awake now. It's time to collect some knowledge. Learn some doctrine....oh.

I suddenly realized something, and it wasn't pretty. Over the past little while, without noticing it, I've started to view my quiet time in the morning almost as a duty, as something to be accomplished. Something to scratch off my to-do list. I love God. I want to know Him...so why have I been approaching this time with such a hurried heart? As if it's the knowledge I'm after, and not my Lord Himself?

"...You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind..." (Luke 10:27)

Conviction. That's what I felt this morning. Conviction that led to repentance, which will, I pray, lead to change. Studying the Bible and seeking to grow in the knowledge of God's ways is crucial, but my love for Him needs to come first. I want to start my day by lingering in His presence, offering Him an attentive heart of worship. Reading His Word to know Him more (which leads to loving Him more), not just to learn about Him.

How about you? Have you ever started to see your time with God as more of a ritual than a relationship? What do you do to help guard against this?


Jennifer said...

I'm Guilty!! This post has really convicted my heart. It's funny(maybe funny's not the word) how this sense of duty sneaks into your walk with God. It was not my intention. However, looking at my time with God that is exactly what it has become-not only as a duty, but also as a way of learning. Like you said, it's great to learn, but loving Him is even more important! Great post!

Stephanie said...

Hi Jennifer,
I'm glad you were convicted, as I was!
I'm finding that learning to have a quiet and worshipful heart before God is definitely a continuous process. But by His grace, we'll get there. :)

Angela said...

I always look forward to my quiet time, its just that sometimes I get there and I'm not at all focused or really feeling like I'm in the presence of God. I always want to be real before God, so I let him know that I'm not with it, and try to connect as much as I can.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for commenting, Angela. You've made a great point - it's important to not let our emotions (lack of passion or "feeling" God's presence)decide whether or not we spend time with God. And being honest with Him is always good. :)

Edie said...

I'm in that spot too. I was just telling a friend of mine that I feel so dry. I keep trying but I'm having a hard time connecting like I used to. I've been a Believer long enough to know that we go through dry spells. It's part of what grows our Faith. Faith is trusting God even when your feelings don't line up. It is walking with Him even when your feelings aren't with the program. It is the doing not the feeling. But I sure do hate the dry times.

I am beginning a couple of in depth Bible studies to try to combat this period.

Thanks for your honesty. I needed to hear it. Blessings to you Sister.

Anonymous said...

You encourage me greatly Stephanie. Only, my prolem is rationalizing my lack of formally meeting Him by thinking, "Well, I talk to Him throughout the day..." or "Oops. I'll do better tomorrow..."

If I love Him--I would love to be near Him, to soak in His 'letters' and live for my special tiem with Him.

Hm. I'm learning.

Your sister, Hannah

Stephanie said...

I'm sure God is pleased to see your desire to be closer to Him. It's hard sometimes to find the discipline to spend this quiet time reading the Bible and praying, but I've found the more you make a habit out of it, the more you desire to do it. Thanks for commenting. I prayed for you today. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your prayers Stephanie! God will shape us and mold us; I am willing to meet Him and whenever I do I know evne more how beautiful He is and long to spend all day with Him! Thank you for your Christ-praising blog and kind edifications.
And you are right; a habit can become more joyful to you, esp. this kind, as time goes on!
I know what Angela said is right also. :)
may God guide us all,