Tag Archives: quiet time

a moment’s peace

I wonder how many times a day I wish I could have a moment’s peace and quiet?  Not just from the actual noise of my family, but from the things-to-do, worries, good-ideas and other thoughts that constantly spin around inside my head.

My life is inside-and-out noisy.  Good noise mostly just now, but I know from the past that grief, pain, anxiety, disappointment and not being very good at saying no to things can also cause different kinds of overpowering ‘noise’ that I eventually become desperate to escape from and utterly exhausted by.

I said I would write for the next few weeks on some of the ways that having a relationship with Jesus makes a difference to my life.  If I had to answer the question ‘What difference does it make having Jesus in your noisy, cluttered, slightly out of control life?’ – this is the picture that comes into my head:

My life is like an LP being played at full volume on the record player my dad gave me when I was 9 years old.  It’s loud with no pause button and I mostly love it, but every now and then, I come to God desperate for some respite, and for a moment he carefully lifts the needle from the record and holds me there, out of the noise.

recordplayer2

And those moments- of peace, of restoration, of rest – I could no longer live without.

The peace of being lifted out of the noise is not just silence… it’s a stillness, a quietness of heart that somehow enables me to hear the pure, clear song of heavenly places. The voice of God that can so easily be drowned out by the clamour of our everday lives, has the power to lift and restore us, to reset our perspective and slow down our anxious hearts.  Hearing it, allowing it to wash over you, leaning back for a moment into God’s arms and listening to the song he sings over you, is inexpressibly beautiful.

And after a little while, sometimes just five minutes, sometimes a bit longer, he gently lowers the needle again and the music begins to play in more or less the place it was in before. The noise resumes, but now my heart is better able to deal with it.

I know that each of you who reads this are living different, complicated, unique lives.  The noise you might need to be lifted out of might be very different to mine.  Loneliness or boredom can be just as deafening as busyness is.   However, I’m equally sure that there is noise that you need to be lifted out of and away from once in a while.

This picture is a promise to each of you.  Although the record will probably not stop turning, and your own noise may well still continue for a while; at any time you can call out to him,  and God will lift you out into this place of peace.  He will hold you so that you can lean into him, he will whisper to you in the stillness,  he will sing his song of love over you and he will restore your soul.  And then… he will put you back into your noisy world, but with the stillness of heaven in the centre of your heart.

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Running on empty?

This is my fuel gauge this morning. I’m not actually sure how far I can drive with the fuel light flashing, but I do seem to test it quite regularly…

Stupid, because I really don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of a dusty nowhere or worse, a noisy junction… But there are some jobs that you just keep putting off until ‘there’s time to do them’.

It was what happened next that ‘winked at me’ though, (in the way that things do sometimes when God wants to tell me something through them).   Although the little light had been flashing angrily at me all the way to school and back early this morning,  when I got back into the car after leaving it for five minutes sitting on the driveway the needle was back up to nearly a quarter full and the accusing light had gone out again!

I know why of course –  the driveway slopes. It happens all the time, the slight incline pushes fuel into the tank at the back of the car and gives a false reading. It looks like I have plenty of petrol to make it to pick up the girls and back, but probably I haven’t.  Fortunately, on this occasion I’ve been paying attention, so I know that the truth is that I’m down to fumes and need to go to fill up.

What I feel like God has been saying to me today is that there are things in our life that can give us a ‘false reading’ about where we are in our relationship with Him.  Ministry and busyness especially can keep the gauge reading high, when actually the tanks are running empty.  How many of us have found ourselves running dry in the middle of serving the Lord?  The answer of course can’t be to just give up being busy, or give up doing ministry (The church would suddenly become a lot less effective if we all did that!) But we perhaps need to accept that those things can leave us with a malfunctioning ‘fuel gauge’…

When I was a student I had a car which had a completely broken fuel gauge (amongst other complaints).  Until it was fixed the only way to keep it running was to choose to top it up every other day!  I wonder if for similar reasons that it’s necessary for us to keep coming back to Jesus for a top-up of his forgiveness, grace, love and Spirit as often as we can.  I’ve sometimes rebelled against the ‘daily quiet time’ idea as it seemed like legalism, and although I don’t think the time of day matters and believe that some people hear God better outdoors, or indoors, or in a church, or in silence, or with music on… I have realised that finding a way and a time to meet with God EVERY SINGLE DAY, although it isn’t a rule, is just really sensible advice.

Great journeys are made of little steps.. So here are mine.  Today on the way to pick up the girls from school I will leave the house early enough so that a) I can stop at the garage and get some fuel  and  b) I can sit in the park next to the school with my Bible for 20 minutes and chat to (and listen to) Jesus.

What about you?

Fuel Gauge Feat

 

 

An invitation

“This picture is an invitation.”

I lost count of how many times I said that over this last weekend.  I was sharing postcards – pictures with a message – with the many lovely seekers-after-truth-and-comfort who visited our booth at the local Mind Body Spirit Fair.  And as I shared the pictures I’d painted, I kept hearing myself say that phrase: “this picture is an invitation”.

And I suppose that many of the pictures I paint are just that: An invitation to trust; an invitation to step out; an invitation to surrender; an invitation to love and be loved;  an invitation to ask for more…

This one is an invitation to come and ‘be’

A bench sits in a shady part of the garden.  It’s a place of peace, rest and friendship.  It’s a place of quiet and of conversation.  It’s a place for you to meet with Jesus.

Have you been there lately?

Sometimes I get so busy with life that I forget to retreat into this place of quiet with Jesus, forget to do the one thing that restores my soul and enables me to keep up the busyness.

Sometimes I’m so ashamed that the garden that is my life has become overgrown and messy that I put off inviting Jesus into it until I’ve had a chance to tidy it up a bit.

How foolish am I, that I am so busy trying to make my garden look pretty that I forget to take the time to sit down and have a cup of tea with the master gardener that is waiting for me?  How crazy is it that I stand alone, fighting to hack back the weeds with my bare hands, while Jesus stands behind me holding a scythe?

 “I’ll be with you in a minute Jesus, just let me deal with this first”

 

Here’s the news:   Once you’ve invited God into the garden that is your life  he is always there.  He is always ready to sit with you on this bench, to listen to what is on your heart -however ugly it might be- and to speak and to pour out forgiveness, restoration and love into your heart.  He is waiting.   And he already knows about the mess, the corners of brambles and weeds; he even brought a spade.  But his priority, his heart, is to take time to be with you.

 

So you don’t have to invite him in, and I suspect you can’t keep him out, but you can refuse to listen to his invitation to join him in this quiet corner.  You can be too busy, too distracted, too tired or too ashamed.  There might be a hundred and one things you think you need to get done first.

But hear the invitation he is speaking to you now:

 

come to me

 

I wonder if it would be even better to not wait until I am aware of how weary and burdened I am, but to come today anyway….

… and when you come and make time to sit on that bench,  I think he says something like this…

come in poem

 

bench

 

 

reflect greens

 

If you’re reading this post, and thinking that you’ve never invited Jesus to be a part of your life, never known the closeness of a friendship with him that is like sitting on this bench in a garden with him, please find someone who knows him and ask them how.  They will be so happy to talk to you about their friendship with him.  And if you don’t know anyone to ask, drop me a line – I would LOVE to tell you more…

 

For your Journal:  (it’s great to process things with God on paper – I can heartily recommend it)

How does this picture of a bench and the idea of sitting on it with Jesus make you feel?

What things in your life distract you or hold you back from spending time alone with Jesus?

What do you find hard about making time with Jesus and what things could you do/ put in place to make it easier?