Tuesday, December 16, 2008

slowing down to the speed of God

During our daily lives we are so often busy that we tend to overlook the things in life that are important such as our loved ones, and the moments we miss because we are doing too much. The same is true of our spiritual lives. God commands us to be still, and know the He is God. Jesus never instructed us to be continually busy, overworking, overpromising, overstimulating, and over looking that which is beautiful in our lives. Have you ever taken your family on a trip to somewhere special? A year later, when you ask your kids what their favorite memory of the vacation was, they point out the journey instead of the destination? Too often we treat our day to day lives as a hurried trip with an end in mind such as closing that business deal, getting that raise or promotion, saving up enough to be able to take that vacation with the kids, when we are overlooking that the greatest gifts in life are right in front of us. It boggles me how much I see in youth ministry, an early reflection of what is so wrong with the lives of adults. I see students at the age of 12 or 13 who are already overwhelmed with life. They have so many extracurricular activities outside of school and home, that they never get a chance to slow down and enjoy their lives.
About a month ago, we had 16 high school students here at the church for a spiritual retreat. We took away cell phones, ipods, etc. and we made them slow down for a full 25 hours. At one point on the retreat, students sat in silence around Goldwater Lake for 2 full hours. Even though our volunteers worked hard on putting on some excellent classes and we structured the retreat in a way that would be most useful to them so that they could take away the most out of the weekend, guess what their favorite part of the weekend was? The silence by the lake. Man, if I knew that was gonna be it, I wouldn’t have worked so hard on all the details.
Silence, stillness, slowing down, so that we can hear God. These are the things that we are missing out on.
You know it’s really hard to listen to someone who is whispering to you, when you are surrounded by noise, and that’s just what the devil has done with this world. He’s made it so busy, that we don’t hear God speaking to us. We don’t slow down, quiet down, and listen, thus, we don’t hear. How do you get to know someone? Lets say that I want to get to know _____ better. Do I get to know ____ by talking to _____ over here? (“so what do you think about ____ over there?”) Wouldn’t it make sense for me to stop what I’m doing right now, and talk with that person.
I feel very strongly that as Christians we work hard on getting to know about Jesus, but we never Know Jesus. As fallen humans we always feel the need to work at something in our physical and spiritual lives. We feel like Jesus is something we need to research and analyze, but we forget that God is a mystery. We cannot understand Him. We can’t know all about Him, but we can know Him. Almost ten years ago I met the most beautiful girl in the world. I’ve spent the time in between getting to know her. And I can truly say that I know my wife, but I don’t know all about her. There are still things that I’m learning about what makes her tick (or more importantly what ticks her off). She is still a beautiful mystery to me. I don’t understand her fully, but I know her. If I spent the last ten years studying her from afar, I would have missed out on the greatest joy of my life. Now my question for you is, “Do you know about Christ, or do you know Christ?” It’s through the knowing that we encounter the joy of the relationship. It’s through the knowing that we experience the beautiful mystery of God.

Now, how do we know Him? It’s easier than you think. We talk, we listen, and we notice.

· Talking is easy. We talk at God all the time. But we need to remember to share with God. God calls us to prayer, not because he doesn’t know what we’re about to say. (ps 139:4). God calls us to prayer because he wants us to share with Him. You can always tell the difference between when you are talking with someone and when you are sharing with them. Sharing is more personal and intimate. Sharing is how we get to know each other.

· Listening can be harder. It takes effort to stop and listen to someone. It takes even more to stop and listen to someone whom you cannot hear audibly. We have to immerse ourselves in scripture and spend time in silence with God. We are called to “BE STILL” in psalm 46:10. Once we have talked to God it is important to be still, to listen and wait with the full expectation of hearing him either through our thoughts or through scripture. We must Wait for our answers. I cannot expect to get an answer from _______ if I ask him a question and then walk away. I have to wait for his answer. Don’t have one sided conversations with God, because you’ll never get to know him that way.

· And finally, noticing God is something that we rarely if ever do. When we want to know someone we watch them, don’t we? We notice the things that they are doing. Noticing God takes practice, but it’s a worthwhile effort. A question that is useful is, "What is God doing in my life right now?" Or, "Where do I see God moving right now?" It’s through this practiced reflection in which we learn to notice what God is doing with and in our lives. It is impossible to notice God without slowing ourselves down, both physically and spiritually. The busyness of our day can seem overwhelming, but if we take moments to stop and reflect, we can find God even in the busiest of times.

What makes music, is not just the notes played, but equally it is the spaces in between the notes. That is what makes it music beautiful. Don’t forget to make room for spaces in between the busyness of your life.


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