I’m prone to feeling overwhelmed by the stimulus-galore lifestyle that seems to have wormed its way into my existence and which is society’s new drug. The constant beep of text messages, hordes of emails, phone calls, social media, and a half-dozen daily tasks- from my work writing books, articles and blogs; to washing dishes, preparing food, paying bills and doing things to maintain my health- can really bring my stress meter into the red at times.
As a single, self-employed entrepreneur with some health challenges, a demanding career, and many friends, it’s not easy, and I’ve found that the only way I can stay balanced and take it all in stride is if I spend the first hour or two of my day in prayer.
This time is sacred for me, and I viciously guard it- ignoring my phone, text messages, email, and the other dozens of obligations and distractions that come at me like wild horses every morning. In fact, I often unplug my land line, and squelch the urge to pick up my iphone and check email and text messages while I make my organic coffee. Because I find that if I cave in to that temptation- the devil stealthily sucks my quiet time away from me and before I know it, my mind is occupied with a dozen other things besides God, and the window for my quiet time is over….
So my goal when I emerge from bed, somewhere between 8 and 10 AM, is to make a beeline for the coffee maker, and then sit quietly on my sofa, bed or living room carpet for a one-on-one chat, or some praise and worship time with God.
I’m sure some of my work associates don’t understand why I’m not available to take their calls at 8 AM in like the rest of the so-called “normal” world. I schedule my engagements for the afternoon whenever possible, because sometimes, I don’t start my workday until noon. It often means that I have to work at night, but the most important hour of my day is the hour that I spend with God.
No matter how much I have to do in the day- this time is more vital for my wellbeing than anything else I could do. And I find that God often makes me more productive when I honor Him by taking time out of my day to listen to His voice, thank Him, praise Him and petition Him on behalf of my friends and family.
When I don’t, my perceptions of the world become distorted. I get crabby and fret over the small, and not-so-small stuff. I become inefficient in my work. I focus on my aching back or tired limbs; the lack of food in the fridge, the ten thousand emails I have to answer, or the loneliness of my profession as a writer. Instead of embracing hope, positivity and what’s right with my world, I embrace all that is wrong, and I forget who God is for me- my provider, my joy, and my peace.
Besides, I’m a person who needs to ease into the day. I don’t do well trying to work and talk to people before I’ve had a chance to wipe the sand from my eyes, or fuel up with a cup of joe. God prepares me for the day, and He helps me to quell the negative thoughts that quite often come at me first thing in the morning.
The world in which we live is awash with distractions. A thousand things clamor for our attention daily and it’s easy to put off the one thing we most need- time with our Creator. Probably the most insidious are those we find on the Internet- Facebook, You Tube, the news, etc. While they are great ways to connect with the world, I’ve found them temptations that also take me away from my life with God.
God created us for communion with Him, but when we are so distracted by our phones, Facebook, email, TV, family, friends and the constant demands of life, it’s easy to lose touch with the One who gives us wisdom, perspective, and peace, and who refuels us for the day ahead.
He wants us to hear His voice, soak in His presence, and be transformed by our time with Him. Our spirits don’t get fed unless we do this, and our minds are prone to being conformed to the ways of the world, instead of His ways, if we don’t seek His face or His wisdom.
At least, that’s how it is for me. And as much as I know this, there are yet times when I allow myself to believe that there are more pressing, or urgent things to do in the day, and so I step away from my opportunity for conversation with Him. When I do this for more than a few days, one of my best friends notices, because my spirit of peace becomes replaced by a spirit of anxiety, and she’ll say to me, “When was the last time you prayed or spent time with the Lord?”
And then I recall that it’s been too long…and that I need Him, once again. He is my sustenance, my friend, my provider, my peace…and my reason for being.