In my ideal world, I’d have a Starbucks’ frappachino every morning. But that requires that I go to the coffee shop and shell out $4 to buy one. That doesn’t happen often. Sometimes I buy those Starbucks drinks in the small glass bottles from the grocery store and pull one of those from the fridge. Not the same, but still yummy. More often than not, however, I’m drinking tea with God.
I’m weird about drinking hot drinks in the morning – I only like them at night unless I am freezing cold. On the coldest mornings I’ll have hot tea or hot cocoa with God. However, mostly I drink iced green tea or Diet Coke. We usually meet with friends or family over coffee, tea or food, so I figure why not with God!
Besides my liquid of choice, I like to have a scented candle lit to set the stage. It makes me settle down and feel all warm and fuzzy. Something about that flame says to me: this is special time. The lighting and later the blowing out of the candle marks the official beginning and ending of my "quiet time." Of course, I’m never really apart from God:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
I’m a scented candle kind of gal. That’s an understatement since from where I sit at the moment I can see 11 different candles across two rooms! But I try to use the same candle during my time with God. That way I have a visual reminder of how often I’m spending time with Him. As the wax level drains I know my spirit is filling up. If I get to the end of a week and that candle jar looks just as full as it did on Sunday, I know I’ve not been making time to connect with Him. Some people might like to check it off a to-do list, or mark an X on the calendar day to indicate they’ve spent some time with Him, but I like watching the scented candle wax disappear into the heavens like a fragrant offering.
A final way that I set the stage for spending some time with God is with music. If I’m trying to read the Bible I usually avoid playing anything with lyrics so I can concentrate. I have several instrumental Christian CDs - try hymns set to a Celtic beat for something different. I also have ambient music CDs like a running stream or birds chirping at dawn.
Occasionally, however, I just feel like "gettin' my praise on" as my worship leader girlfriend Gwen says. So I'll put on an up-beat contemporary praise and worship CD and crank it up loud. I’ve been known to dance and sing. I've also been known to lie on the floor with my eyes closed ... lost in the music and the One it is for ... letting the tears that sometimes come push their way out between my closed lids.
Music can usher us to God’s throne room! If you're trying to connect with God or the Bible and can’t seem to “get into it,” try playing some worship music, closing your eyes and contemplating the lyrics as you listen for awhile.
Other times I enjoy the weight of the silence in the room. Sometimes silence is just what the soul needs. Now, if you’re a mom with little ones I KNOW this feels like a tall order. I have two kids, and once they reached school-age I began home schooling them (in an open floor-plan home no less). So alone time and silence were very hard to come by most days. Hard to come by, but not impossible: I could get up before them, or stay up after them. Or I could adapt to the fact that other things were going on around me, and make the effort to press into God anyway. My friend Marybeth who was also home schooling her brood used to tell me she did her praying in the shower because that was the only place she could find some peace and solitude!
Tea, candles, music - none of this is necessary but it helps me transtion into a place of connection with the Lord. So set the stage in whatever ways you can to help you to come to and connect with God. Don’t set yourself up for failure, however, with expectations about how a quiet time “should” be (or used to be) that your current circumstances can’t match. Just make it a priority and press in, letting God take care of all the rest.
Have you decided yet when you’ll sit down with God tomorrow? Remember it doesn’t need to be long; it just needs to be done!
stay tuned for more to come on this topic