For this week, I wanted to give advice, tips, and share some of the mistakes I have made in my devotional/Jesus Time during the day. One of the most important aspects of my time with Jesus has been journaling. I began journaling for the first time in September 5, 2017.
Building the Relationship. Like any other relationship that you may have in your life, it takes time to build, walls need to come down for there to be even further closeness established–there must be progression. Let’s face it they take real WORK. Same thing with Jesus. You need to commit to Him. He wants this relationship with YOU so badly. He wants to be there for you. He wants to support you through life. He wants to reveal those things that make this life worth living. He wants to give you FREEDOM. He wants to give you purpose. He wants to give you HOPE! In order for your relationship with Jesus to deepen, you will need to persevere.
I love meeting with people and finding out about how far God has brought them out of themselves. It is a process, and most of the time,–rather painful during the lesson. But one thing that I have learned through the progression of my relationship with Jesus, is that the temporary pain is all worth it!
I just finished my most recent journal a few days ago, and I really believe that God wants me to explain and relate my devotional journey to encourage others who are wanting to really COMMIT time in their lives to Jesus. Developing and committing to that quiet time with God is hard. It really is! It is going to inconvenience you! It is going to be uncomfortable! It is going to feel pointless sometimes. It is countercultural (it does not line up with the standards that our society has for us–will not make sense to some). It is going to be discouraging at times. You will fall off at times. God will call you to challenges–He does not want you to only get to a “certain” point…He will always be gently pushing and pulling you into Him.
Just to point this out beforehand. This is my own “personal” relationship with Jesus and my own time with Jesus. Do not think that your time with Him has to look exactly the same. You may know things right now, that I did not know then, and maybe things that I still do not know. These are just a couple aspects that I observed throughout my own journey and want to give a few pointers to those who are trying to enrich or start their own committed time with God–making the daily decision. I will share some methods that I found to work for me–and then some mistakes that I was convicted of.
So, let’s get started…
Like I have already said…I highly suggest journaling of some sort in recording your prayers, thoughts, and the things that God will speak to you. Journaling has acted as a source where I really just am able to connect with God. I picked up journaling because I liked how it allowed me to be able to physically write down, see my requests, leave everything by getting it out of my head and onto paper, and how I was able to look back and reflect on what God has brought me through. My quiet time with God started out small. Small as in only writing maybe a few verses down & a request or two–(but even that is alright). For those of you who have thought about beginning to make your time with God more consistent, remember it is going to take time. You may not seem like you are “getting something out of it” every time, but be reminded that for anything to grow, there needs to be patience. Press past the uncomfortable times, the times where you cannot “feel” anything, the times when it does not practically make sense to take time out of your day to spend time with Him… Stay still! Listen for Him! You will have to learn one of the hardest lessons…PATIENCE.
Tell God exactly what you are feeling. I never felt like I could do this for a while, but once I started…so much healing took place. I slowly began with writing everything down in as specific detail as possible. Let it out! It was hard for me to do this. I was writing those things, that I would not dare to tell anyone else. I encourage you not to only brush over the details of those sins, situations, and annoyances, but really express it in entirety. God already knows what you are feeling so might as well express it to Him. Break that wall of self-containment down. This may be slow, but that is perfectly fine. Our God is gentle and loving and patient.
Adding onto breaking the wall of containment, confess all of those things that nobody else knows to God. Write those very things down. Get them off of your chest. Hand them over to God. This helped me so much in overcoming some of those shameful things that I have done in my life. Trade that shame for JOY! Again, it may take a while to really let go of the shame…that stuff is so hard to convince ourselves that we do not have to carry it.
Something else to try. When beginning to first spend real-time with God, I would turn on worship music to reassure me of His goodness and make sitting down more bearable (let’s be real!). Sometimes I would get annoyed listening to it, and actually annoyed by the seemingly repetitive and empty lyrics. This changed when I downloaded Steffany Gretzinger’s “The Undoing” album. This album holds a very special place in my heart and I have met a lot of other girls who it ministered to a lot when they first really started committing to their relationship with Jesus. With these songs, I would write down the lyrics and really try to find spots in my life where it could be applied. Being a lover of music, this really helped me understand worship and employ some of my own musical gifts into the time I spend with God. Steffany Gretzinger in this album so beautifully portrays the intimate relationship that Jesus wants to have with YOU. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
I did not really want to include this but…Oh boyyyy! Here is another lesson that I learned the hard way and am still learning…GIVE GOD THAT BOY! I am assuming that mostly girls are reading this, but for guys obviously this could apply to you with girls. When we build up a liking and crush for someone else, it can be very easy to obsess ourselves with it. Give it over to God, but do not do what I did and use your time with God as an excuse to over think it and obsess yourself even more with it. Pray for God’s will and direction in that area of your life–but do not use your prayer and devotional time to over think that situation. Leave it in God’s hand and leave it ALONE! Trust Him enough in that He has it under control.
Here is a mistake for you to avoid: Do not only write down your thoughts for the day. Make sure that you are getting fed TRUTH! I would sometimes (and sometimes still do) decide to just use the time as an excuse to just get my thoughts out…maybe occassionally this is what you have time for, but be sure to not make a habit of this. Spend some time in your Bible. Pick one verse in scripture if nothing else and just read it over and over again–(Always remember to ask God to reveal Himself to you while you are doing this).
Sometimes I got stuck into phases where all I could do was complain about my life, I never took the time to be thankful for the good things that were going on in my life. Be careful and ask God to convict you when you enter this kind of thinking. God is good. He really is! Remember to always be thanking Him as you ask for more.
My amazing roommate Alyssa Jade has challenged me in searching God in silence. Sometimes you will know that you need to turn off the worship music, let God speak to you. Do not always turn to what you would rather do…choose the unconformability of silence. Embrace the awkwardness, learn to seek God above all the extra noises. I know that I am one, growing up in a noisy house with 6 other people, am used to noise, and silence actually scares me. Put the noise aside to listen in to Him.
In summary, a couple of the things that I learned especially within my devotional/journaling time in the day include:
DON’T…use your time with God as a time about YOU, make the time a rant session about your latest crush on a guy, make it a time where you focus on your life situations too much & become dependent on noise.
DO…write down/pray over SPECIFIC details of your life, tell God EVERYTHING without restraint, turn on some worship music, shut the music off sometimes, READ THE BIBLE, & supplement your requests with thankfulness.
I just want to exit this post restating what I said earlier…
SPENDING TIME WITH GOD IS HARD, KEEP PUSHING THROUGH THE AWKWARDNESS.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read! I hope you were encouraged! If you have anything that you do during your devotional time that you would like to share, PLEASE COMMENT!
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