Systems Verses Sitting

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message:

I am a systems girl.

Give me a new system, whether it’s in my house, on my computer, or for my calendar and I’m in my happy place. I feel deeply that if I have a good system, along with enough Post It Notes, I could rule the world.

So, when I signed up for the course on developing a devotional system, I thought to myself, “This is it! This is the secret sauce I’ve been missing all these years. If I just had a devotional system that really worked, my quiet time will be so much deeper.”

I got my system all organized (my inner Office Supply Geek was leaping for joy). There was a place for my Bible notes, my sermon notes, my prayer requests, Bible memorization and more. I loved all the tabs, lists and fill-ins. Loved each and every page of that devotional.

And then I sat down to use it.

Oh, it was fun to flip through all the pages and tabs, but after a little bit, I realized that this new system was not making me go deeper with God. It was a great tool, but the system wasn’t what I was missing.
Systems are great to help us establish routines to get us into the practice of quiet times, but when it comes down to it, what I need are exactly two things:

1. My Bible

2. A chunk of time

For some reason, I thought that the system would get me where I wanted to go, spiritually, more quickly. But God is not interested in our speed.

I realized I was trying for an instant connection, instead of giving myself, and God, time to truly linger with each other.

What I’ve come to understand is that my way of practicing the presence of God needs to be less about systems and more about sitting.

Sitting and anticipating the slow, faithful hand of God.

Sitting and waiting on his voice, even if I can’t hear it right away.

Sitting quietly and expectantly.

While systems are great, and can give me a false sense of presence. I need to take steps to go beyond the system, so that I can truly meet with God. Here are a few things to consider if you are struggling:

1. Pray for desire and grace.

If you know you should be having a quiet time, but it feels like a struggle each and every time, ask God for the desire to meet with him, and then ask him for the grace when it comes out less than perfectly.

2. Put your phone in another room.

When things feel dry in my quiet time, I want an instant hit of connection – and that’s what social media offers. Instant connection. Put the phone out of reach so that you wait on your connection with God.

3. Anticipate.

God is not hiding from you. Persistently linger in His presence. He will meet you there.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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