Early in the morning, while it was still dark, I was going to get out of my bed and go to a quiet place where I could pray. (Mark 1:35) Then I'd drive Andrew to school, come back and read, and talk to God and listen and journal. Then I'd go running, listen to my favorite worship music, come back to shower, and do some writing for my book proposal.
Now I know all that freedom with no people sounds like a tropical vacation. Alone time is something many women would almost kill to have, and you just might want to hate me at this moment, but don't. I have to block out chunks of time to sit and soak in lots of Jesus, then read and write what He shows me. Otherwise I can't do what God's called me to do at home or in ministry, which includes working on a book for now. Anyway, it's a great plan but rarely does it happen like I planned and sometimes it frustrates me and makes me not want to plan it.
Like yesterday. I woke up early and was praying in a quiet place - my bed. I was telling Jesus how much I loved Him and how I was looking forward to snuggling up in my favorite chair with Him and my Bible and my journal. And just as my feet were about to hit the carpet to go do that, my husband came in to see if I was awake. He said he was taking Joshua to school soon, and then he was going to come back to get breakfast and hopefully get some time to read His Bible.
Here I was gonna hog up a whole day with my Bible in my quiet place and this dear man was just hoping for some time. Well, you know what happened, don't you? God told me to get myself out of bed and set aside my dreamy plans so I could take Joshua to school. Then JJ could have an unhurried quiet time in a quiet place with Jesus. I wanted that for him. I'm so thankful my husband wants to spend time with Jesus, but selfishly I didn't want to give up my dreamy plans. I knew that once I was in carpooling momma mode, my day would be in motion and my quiet place would be noisy because I'd be thinking instead of being.
When I got back from an hour of carpooling, I spent time with Jesus. But it was shorter than I hoped. Jesus had other places for me to be. All throughout my morning while I wanted to sit and seek, He prompted my heart to serve. A friend called and wanted help with something. Another friend had something to give me, which was very kind, but it meant going to meet her somewhere. A thought to encourage another friend came to me, which meant a phone call to make. A co-worker needed some direction and advice on a challenging situation.
My extended time in my "quiet place" didn't happen until very late in the day. I was tempted to be frustrated, but for some reason I wasn't as much as I normally am. Maybe God's making progress with me and my ways. I guess He's teaching me that my "quiet place" to pray will sometimes be just as I planned. But sometimes it's won't be what I envision, or what I long for. I know God wants me to be with Him - to pull away, to set aside, to plan ahead. But sometimes He rearranges the furniture in my "quiet place" and it becomes more of a place in my heart than a space in my home. A place where I simply abide in Him.
1.to remain; continue; stay.
2.to have one's abode; dwell; reside.
3.to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, last.
Maybe it's in the pulling away, the setting aside, the planning ahead, that we are positioned to give Him our emotions, our thoughts, and then invite His perspective and plans to invade ours. And then we can continue in that attitude - so it lasts - as we try to follow where He leads us physically, all the while remaining in Him spiritually and emotionally.
I'd love to know what your quiet place, or not-so-quiet place, with Jesus looks like? Does it frustrate you when you plan time with Him and then life or little people interrupt? Do you keep trying or do you give up? I'll be back to share a few things that have helped me, but first I wanted you to know it's a struggle for me, too.