Take a look at your calendar. Are you amazed at how much free time you find? Me neither. My calendar is so full that even when I hear about amazing things — great concerts, new movies, good restaurants — I don’t have space to squeeze them in.
In my last blog post, I started talking about spiritual disciplines. Spiritual discipline is training a habit or a skill, or creating space in our lives when we can make ourselves available to God’s word and His working. In my life, I have proved over and over that effort is not enough to make me like Jesus. I need God to do it for me.
I divided the idea of spiritual disciplines into four categories. These categories are not super spiritual or even found in the Bible. They just help me think about the disciplines.
The first two were in last week’s blog: Seek-Speak (where we seek for God to speak to us) and Seek-Shape (where we seek for God to shape us). In both of these categories, we pursue an encounter with God.
This week, I’d like to look at another approach. This takes us back to the busy schedule. I’ve found that when something is really important, it doesn’t matter how full my schedule is, I’ll change my schedule to fit around the important thing. Encountering God should fit into this group. So, these next two categories are about making space in our lives to be available to meet with God.
3. Space-Speak Disciplines
I make space in my life, in my day, for God to speak to me. I am often so busy, and I have so much noise and information coming at me, that it is hard to hear Him. Silence and solitude are incredibly valuable disciplines that create space in my life where God can speak.
One time, before I taught on these disciplines, my wife encouraged me to get away for a day of silent retreat. I didn’t have time to go far or to any place special. I just rented a room near our home. I checked in, got set up with all my study material, and started to settle in. I made it about 15 minutes before I turned on ESPN. I didn’t mean to; I just did it automatically. We are used to being entertained. We have noise coming at us all the time and it’s uncomfortable to be without it. But when I do manage to shut out the noise, I find God speaks.
4. Space-Shape Disciplines
I make space for God to shape me. Sacrifice, frugality, and margin are all ways we make space in our schedules, budgets, and lives that allow God to shape our hearts. In the Space-Speak category, I excise the voices coming into my head, so that I might better hear His. I excise the things my heart longs for and depends on, so God might stir up a deeper longing, a greater dependence for Him. At times, it means giving away stuff. Sometimes it means deleting an app that I don’t need but waste a lot of time on. Most of the time, it means looking at my schedule with a willingness to delete things, so God has more of an opportunity to have my heart.
These spiritual disciplines aren’t going to make God love you more. That can’t happen. He loves you perfectly. But I’ve found that when I seek Him and when I make space for Him, He helps me love Him more.
Todd Agnew’s Previous Praise.com Blog Posts:
- God’s Cure for Stress and Anxiety
- How to Pray Anxiety Away
- Finding Peace on This Earth
- Creating Space for God