I have this rocking chair in the corner of my bedroom that I have affectionately called “the prayer chair” for years. I have quite a history in that chair. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that history itself has been changed from that chair. But it’s been empty a lot the last couple of years. I’ve been in a very different–and very busy–season of life. I haven’t been happy about it.
I’ve always been a “Mary” living in a “Martha” world. Even our church culture mostly seems to value accomplishments we can taste and see and touch above simple devotion to Jesus. Although it took a while for me to be convinced, Jesus long ago affirmed to my heart the great value he places on time “wasted” on him even when there is no earthly accomplishment to show for it. My heart longs for big chunks of time I can spend simply gazing upon his beauty and leaning in to hear his heart. But those times have been harder to come by lately. I probably still get more of them than I even realize, but my heart is so hungry for his presence that I always want more.
It’s not that time itself is hard to come by. We each have 24 hours every single day. But time to linger in his presence has been difficult. It doesn’t help that my definition of what that means is probably a little different than the “norm.” I don’t want 15 minutes here, or an hour there–I want hours, plural. Really, I want days (or weeks, or months or … well, you get the idea). God is outside of time and that is where I long to be. We were created for eternity so our spirits chafe against the limitations of time in this realm.
As a man, Jesus had to live within the limitations of time, yet he was never rushed. He didn’t allow the “hurry” of the world to invade his soul. I’m trying to learn from that. I want the “hurry” purged from my soul for good.
As much as I would like to toss out my calendar and all the clocks –because I am so weary of being constantly driven by them–that is probably not going to happen for me in the near future. But I can be more purposeful with the small windows of time that I do have available. Sometimes I am so busy longing for what I do not have that I miss what I DO have. I am committed to things right now that make laying hold of large chunks of time quite impossible–many of those things do not involve much choice–but there are areas I do have a choice and that is where I need to focus my attention.
So I had this little epiphany this morning. It may not sound like much, but I know he was speaking to me. I often don’t make it as much of a priority to lay hold of the 10 minutes here, or 30 minutes there, that I could spend in the “prayer chair” because it’s just not enough for me and I know it doesn’t really make a huge difference in my relationship with Jesus. That may sound like a contradiction since I started out saying he had firmly convinced me how much he values time “wasted” on him when there is no agenda but to be with him. And he does. But he also knows that a longing to sit at his feet is the position of my heart and life. He is the One great Love and the Magnificent Obsession of my life–he knows it and I know it–whether I get time in my chair or not. What I realized this morning is that I am the one who needs that 15 minutes–not because it pleases him–but simply because it focuses me.
He walks with me and talks with me everywhere I go, every hour of every day. That won’t change regardless of the season of life. I think it’s called abiding. But I need time to set my gaze on him–even if it is just a few minutes–every single day. I would make it a priority in a heartbeat if I knew it was something he wanted. Really, my little epiphany was the realization that I am willing to do absolutely anything for him, but I’m not willing to do those same things just for me. Apparently he’d like that to change–it seems he thinks I’m worth it.
I’m starting to think I am too. And because I am, I think that chair will be empty just a tad less often.“Teach us to number our days aright that we main gain a heart of wisdom.” –Ps 90:12.