Learning to Adore

We are always fighting the clock it seems; never finding enough time to do it all. Many days, we can find it difficult to devote time to our relationships with God, and then we feel convicted that we are not giving priority to God, or anxious because he doesn’t feel near.  If this sounds at all like you, I urge you to start with adoration.

If gratitude is the memory of the heart; then adoration must surely be its song. Adoration is telling God who he is to you using your own words. Just look at a verse or short set of verses and consider who scripture is telling you God is and tell him that.

I was first introduced to the concept of active adoration by Sara Hagarty in her fabulous book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet.  She describes adoration as “inhaling his word and exhaling praise.” On her website, she provides a monthly downloadable adoration guide, with a scripture and adoration statement for each day of the month. Several months ago I started downloading these and using them…and incorporating adoration into my relationship with God has changed me.

Adoration is a beginning—a change in how you think about scripture and who God is to you. When you begin to think through the filter of adoration rather than our selfish natures, you find yourself drawing nearer to God in any moment of the day. Ann Lamott writes that our prayers fall into three categories: thanks, help, and wow.  Adoration helps us to see the wow in our every day, not just in the stunned or shocking moments.

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Adoration trains us to look up to God rather than around us and it has been amazing to me to see the changes throughout my life from changing my focus. 1 Corinthians 3:18 says “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  You become what you behold!

If you choose to follow the monthly days of adoration list, it is super quick to read that day’s adoration statement and the accompanying verse or you can read your own scripture selection and write your own adoration statement.  Then you can meditate on it and talk to God about it the rest of the day.  If you have more time, you can journal additional thoughts on adoration or explore commentary or study bible footnotes on that verse.

An Awakening

I’d been rushing for weeks it seemed.  Work hours bleeding into family hours—into all hours actually. Those precious minutes I did take spent cramming laundry into the machines or picking up legos for the thousandth time.

For months I’d been dreaming and planning for this time, for this event, for these women. I stole time to create little extras businesswoman in her office and flying paper sheetsfor each of them and wrangled my husband into building the prayer wall I’d envisioned. I spent time I didn’t have scrolling through the dozens of posts on the Facebook page for leaders. As the minutes wound down to the start of our local IF:Gathering, my house was ready, the tech was ready, but was I ready?

My mind was full of lists, and work, and all the things I hadn’t gotten to before this day. My body was weary from the overly stressed pace I’d been keeping for weeks. Little claws of guilt snagged me in random moments asking when the last time I spent any real moments with my family was.

Looking back on that weekend now, I see just how ragged and weary I was going in to it.  Yet at the time, I was just looking forward to a break.

It was just a small gathering of women—ladies who’ve become my friends since moving to this new town. But when I sat down to start the first session, all I could think was “Please God, don’t let me fall asleep.”

Well I didn’t fall asleep, and I can’t say that I listened to everything as closely as I might have had I been in a better state, but two words kept coming to me clearly and repeatedly during the weekend: be still. As the women around me shared their lives, their hopes, their pains, I could feel God nudging me to attention.

Be still.

How often did I get so caught up in doing that I disregarded the people I was doing it for? How often did I listen, just listen to my family, to my friends, to my God? My strength in planning had become an impediment to my relationships with others. Rather than listening to the person, I heard the need and immediately starting making plans or lists on how we were going to deal with whatever it was.  From the trivial to the serious…I had a plan.

Be still.

Still….seriously? Still makes me anxious.  I’m not sure I even know how to be still. What does this look like? It’s not like I can just quit my responsibilities and sit around all day being still.

Be still. Pray. Talk to me.  ListenGoethe_mattermost

Throughout the entire weekend, these words just kept coming to me, convicting me with the reality I’d been living: the numerous things I said yes to, the things I said no to, the people I didn’t make time for.  If I truly believed that my God was real, why wasn’t I living like I believed it.

I was putting productivity over people. I was living like I could control and compensate for anything. I just needed the right plan and a longer to do list. I could do everything.

Be still.

I still don’t know exactly what this will look like, but I know I’m going to try. I know I’ve been awakened to the need for change in my life.   And, I know it will take practice, as I learn to give over control of my life and be still in the presence of my God.

 

Taking Stock

I ended this past year weary. I had so many to do lists that I swear they mated and had babies during the few hours I slept each night. The holidays were exhausting, I foolishly said yes to too many projects, and it seemed unending. I was overstretched and tired.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It wasn’t until recently that I had a chance to sit down and reflect on the last year and the current state of my life.  And you know what, I’m in a pretty good place and I’m missing most of it.

I love my work, but I’ve come to realize it’s my comfort zone.  It’s easy and known.  And I’ve been hiding in it.

We’re coming up on two years in our new home, our new church, our new town.  I’ve met some wonderful people and found a few ways to use my skills and talents in our community. My oldest has started school, my youngest will soon. I’ve found a circle of women I am happy to call my friends.

Yet I’ve been hiding in the comfort of what’s known to me rather than stepping out and engaging fully with our new world. And through weary eyes, I was finally able to see. God has chosen me to be right here in this place, or I wouldn’t be here.  So, it’s time to slow down, to be still, to be present, and to engage more fully in what matters. It’s time to say “yes,” rather than “maybe another time, I’ve got work.”