All of you who have kids under the age of 4, or (like me) are regularly around that age group, are extremely familiar with the concept of a time out! This morning I found myself in need of a self-imposed time out. For some reason I woke up on the grumpy side of the bed and just couldn't seem to snap myself out of it as I began working.
I worked through the morning hours in a slightly dark mood and then finally stopped, thinking to myself that I had to find a way to get rid of this completely unnecessary icky mood. Just knowing that I was IN a bad mood for no reason was cheesing me off...vicious cycle!
One of the things I've decided to work on is taking time out of my day (every day!) to spend with God. To get back to reading His Word and praying...to take the focus off myself and pray for my family, my friends and others rather than allow myself to wallow in the daily frustrations of life.
So I took a time out.
I turned everything off...and if you know me, you know how hard that is! I do my best work with music or Food Network on in the background - I don't work well in total silence! However, the Creator of the universe deserves my undivided attention...so I put my insane urge to multi-task on hold and sat in silence.
I am reading my way through a book my sister Kate lent me called "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy - Making the Choice to Rejoice" by Lindsey O'Connor. I'm not a parent yet and won't be for a few years, but the concepts in this book translate to so many areas of my life, even not having kids!
The chapter I read today focused on getting to know God better. She broke it down into 3 "P's":
1. Poring over His Word
2. Praising Him
3. Praying to Him
Besides bringing joy, God's Word is able to convict, correct, confirm and train us in righteousness. Through His Word we come to know Him and His will for us...if we don't read it, how can we really know Him? I have to say I felt a decent-sized twinge in my conscience reading that excerpt!
Praising God is one thing we can do to shift our focus from ourselves and our problems to God. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people and we can enter His presence when we praise Him! This is exactly why I took a time out, I knew I needed to change my focus, and what better way than by thanking God for all He is and all He does in my life?
Prayer is a privilege, the ability to have direct access to God is a gift. Our relationship grows when we want to commune with God. Don't wait to ascend to your ivory tower and don robes of righteousness to begin praying. Pray today, wherever you are, in whatever condition you find yourself! This is a perfect summation of what prayer should be, and what I aspire to do each day.
I have this great little system for praying for those I love and for whom I have committed to pray. It's my little "prayer box" that contains 3x5 cards with requests and answered prayers. Before I start praying through the "requests" file, I go back to the "answered" section and thank God, recognizing the amazing answers to prayers He has given me. It always puts me in the right frame of mind to pray.
Today I read Psalm 37. I am reading through Psalms and it has quickly become my favorite book of the Bible. I love the practical application I find there and am so encouraged by David's pronouncements of God's faithfulness.
Many verses jumped off the page for me today, check 'em out:
v. 3-4 : Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
v. 7a : Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. (I definitely need reminding of this!)
v. 8b : Do not fret - it only causes harm. (Ok, God, I get it...I need to stop worrying)
v. 9b : Those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. (There's that whole "have patience" theme again!)
v. 21b : The righteous shows mercy and gives.
v. 23-24 : The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he may fall, he will not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds Him with His hand. (This made smile and I could actually feel my shoulders relaxing as God reminded me that He will always take care of me)
v. 28a : The Lord loves justice and does not forsake His saints.
v. 39-40 : The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, He is their strength in times of trouble because they trust in Him.
Sometimes grownups need time outs too! I'm so glad I took the time to sit down and spend about an hour with God through His Word and prayer.