As my alarm went off this morning, I rolled out of bed, made my coffee and was eager to blog; since I didn’t finish another draft that I was working on yesterday. I kept thinking that I have to keep this going now, it’s all up to me to get some content out. But as I raced through my evernotes to try and find a piece of inspiration, God tapped me on the shoulder and said “Robin, that’s not the way we do it, remember?, You get your inspiration from spending time with me.” And there was the problem. For the past several days I have been pre-occupied with getting my blog back up and running, reading books on writing, life, and blogging; that I had pushed God out of the process; ouch. So I took a deep breath, too impatient to read my Bible because I just wanted to write; I asked God to show me what to do. That’s when he reminded me of how he has been teaching me to spend time with Him through soaking. Some might call it meditation, but I think soaking goes a little deeper, and it can look different for each person.
When we choose to soak with God, we are super intentional to give him our full attention; something I wasn’t willing to do this morning. But as I fought him, he reminded me of this very important practice.
Just like in any relationship, you have to be intentional; taking time to be with, hear and share with another person; to grow that relationship. You have to want it, and then fight for it. Yes, in a world full of distractions, we do have to fight for our time with Jesus, and any other relationship or activity we deem important.
So soaking for me, in it’s most natural form is first deciding that time invested in my relationship with Jesus is going to be beneficial to our relationship, and ultimately to my spiritual growth. Often I will just start by playing some instrumental soaking music without any words to distract me. Sometimes the words can help, but usually at first I just need to clear my head of noise, or what is waiting to get done, and just show up at the feet of Jesus. One of my favorite soaking artists is Moses Piano Music. (More on finding soaking music and artists in another post). It is hear where God begins to rest my head on his shoulder and allows me to just be with Him, nothing else. I allow the melody of the music to bring me rest in his embrace and allow the conversation to happen very naturally, not even asking for anything, but to begin by remembering who God is as my creator and then who I am as His beloved child. Gaining this identity as I come before Him is so key to how my time will go. Just like in any other relationship, when we are around someone we trust deeply and can be real with, we are more relaxed to be ourselves. However, if we are around those who place expectations on us, we feel anxious and a need to perform. Soaking helps us to remember that God does not want us to come to Him out of obligation or even habit; but He wants us to come to Him out of our hearts desire; to just be with Him, so he can talk with us, leading us into His truths about him and ourselves, in His time and and in His way; to teach us and to guide us; but we first must come to Him unhindered of expectations and any looming fear, and lay before Him our hearts desire to just be with Him; nothing more, nothing less.
This is a practice that we will learn to cultivate more and more as we choose Jesus as our friend and our help.
Distractions: I know it can be hard to stop what we think is important and sit quietly with God. This is where it really needs to become a value in your life. Making space and time is one thing, but then not letting distractions in, is the other part of this. Turn off your cell phone, or put it on vibrate for emergencies. Find a comfortable place to sit or lay, (but don’t fall asleep); bring your Bible, some paper and a pen or pencil to write down what the Lord might be saying to you, but only for that reason. I have heard of people in their prayer time, take a notepad to write down distracting things that come to mind, such as not forgetting to pick up that gallon of milk, or mailing a letter at the post office, or other daily things that need to get done. Don’t do this, that’s what your planner is for, so keep it that way. How annoying would you find it, if you went out for coffee with a friend and all they did while you were trying to talk was write down what needed to get done. Or we all know those people who are in a restaurant, and make no eye contact, and have little meaningful conversation with one another because they are buried in their cell phone, checking email and facebook, and responding to a text conversation! But if we don’t become intentional about seeking to know God (or anyone else for that matter), how authentic is that relationship? What value is there? This is where we can look at our relationship with Jesus and see how much desire we have there. It’s a heart-check that we need to do everyday. All relationships have their ups and downs; dry spells happen to the best of them, but it doesn’t have to last. Being intentional and wanting it, is the first step. Nothing just happens because we want it to, we have to make the time and say “this matters to me, so I am going to do what it takes to make it work,” whether that is a relationship, loosing weight, eating better, etc. In anything that mattes and where we want to see results we must deem it “time worthy”, where we place a value upon it, and then go after it.
Ok, so enough of my motivational ranting. We are called into a relationship with Jesus, a deep, abiding, ever growing, non-guilt ridden, love and grace filled relationship. Soaking for me, is a way to turn off everything else and be with God. Sometimes it happens at home, as I have talked about above, when I have alone time with God; sometimes it’s in the car, where I can be focused on driving but worship music draws me to Him, and sometimes it when I am out for a walk, taking in nature and trying to take care of my physical body and health. . Whatever it is, it will look different at different times, and that’s OK, because all relationships do, but the key is to carve out intentional time to just be with God, whether sitting, driving, or walking. To give Him your full attention so that you can, as the image above states, “wait on the Lord to renew our strenth, not growing wearly, but soar on wings like eagles.” If you are feeling weary today, perhaps you need to cut out some noise, wait on the Lord, so he can renew your strength in Him, and teach you the way to go. That is what he did for me today and I will never be the same because of it. Thanks Jesus! Blessings, Robin