Seeking God’s daily touch

“So you’ve determined to find your quiet space,” my friend Susan observed this week as we eyed each other over steaming hot lattes at a local eatery. We get together every six weeks or so to celebrate the events of our lives, console each other over the challenges, and laugh most of all. Such an observation brought out a giggle from me, even though this endeavor of mine has become serious business. It’s been a lifelong goal and with great determination I am making it a daily reality. I do it with great anticipation, for I long to increase my sensitivities to God’s daily touch.

“Well, I think it’s cool,” Susan clarified, “but you might want to explain how you do it.” I noticed her raised eyebrow and understood such a punctuation deserved my attention. I like that about my friend. She not only reads my weekly column but dissects it. And she was right, the numerous perceptions of how I “get in the moment and quiet down” does leave much to the imagination.

Initially she pictured me cross-legged and yoga-like on my bed; teenaged children rapping frantically on the other side of the closed bedroom door, asking for car keys and loose change. But she knows me better than to entertain that image for very long. There’s not much room for mantras and abdominal breathing in my life. It’s not quite my style. But getting up early and ahead of the frey, when darkness and down comforters keep my family sleeping, does strike close to my reality.

Thirty plus years ago, when a young and intense theology graduate named Darrell Johnson joined a Southern California church staff to pastor their youth, he urged us to set aside a daily time — to be quiet and spend time with God. In fact, he referred to this as a “Quiet Time” and promised that we would grow in strength, hope, conviction and influence if only we would make such a practice a priority in our lives.

Today when I stop to participate in my own Quiet Time, I often think back on his words. Passionate and articulate, Johnson weathered the teenage romances in our ranks, conflicting sports schedules, and an explosive political scene—complete with flower power and free love — to point us in the right direction as he saw it. The world has changed in so many ways, but the wisdom and promises that come with time spent on a daily basis with God remains potent and true.

So yes, Quiet Times must include an element of being quiet. It amounts to settling down. Focusing on God and working to keep Him in the forefront of your mind. But quieting your spirit can be done as you walk the beach. It can be done in the shower. It can be done as the band plays during half time at the local high school football game. It requires that you focus more than anything on things that distinguish your life. It means noticing the goodness that fills your daily experiences. Feeling thankful and greatful, then offering all that you have to God with a glad heart.

Quiet Times also require that you dig into your Bible. Read along in a daily devotional. Listen to the various programming offered on a Christian radio station. God speaks through people, books, music, art, world events, personal lives of those with whom you work and live, advice, friendships, and nature. But to hear His whisper and observe evidence of His work and movement, you must continually educate yourself about Him. You must know Him. Be familiar with His motivations. His history. His character and personality.

And you must talk to Him. Share your thoughts, worries, theories, and hopes. Even your anger, frustrations and hurts are God’s concern. He wants it all, but we must step away from the hubbub on a daily basis to speak it. We must get quiet enough to pull our thoughts together and give words to all that rolls around in our hearts and heads. If speaking is uncomfortable, try journaling. Written record of things you are experiencing and thinking will reveal His answers, His movement, and your growth.

Creativity counts. I have a friend who loves to play hymns and praise songs on her piano. Someone else I know takes advantage of the time she spends waiting for kids to finish up sports practices by having her Quiet Time in the car. Another friend prays as she quilts. I like to pray for those I’m preparing food for.

Quiet Times may not always be quiet, but they are intended to quiet your soul and your inner thinking. They ask us to focus on God, to learn and apply what it is that He wills for our lives.

It’s time well spent.

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