How does God reveal His beauty to us?
How do we set our gaze to behold it?
The Lord has impressed on me a phrase that I am carrying with me in these days -
We become what we behold.
I must set a rhythm in my life that brings order out of the chaos and shows me the way toward a simpler, more purposeful life. Simplicity can ultimately only come from fixing my eyes, my heart, and my mind on Christ. These are great goals for our lives, but how do we actually make them a reality?
I’ve been on that journey for over thirty years and I have found that I do best when I don’t lock myself into a formula of how I seek Jesus, but instead, intentionally make time and space for my soul to listen to Him to order my days. For me, it has looked different in the different seasons of my life. When my children were small I would try to get up early when the house was quiet and spend time in prayer and the Word. Some days it worked, some days it didn’t. I learned to give myself grace in those times, but realized that I couldn’t put my spiritual journey on hold until my girls were grown and life seemed less complex. The truth is that life is just complicated, regardless of the season in which I find myself . In those days as now, my family needs me, my job demands lots of energy and I want to display the heart of Christ in my everyday moments.
And so I began to set a daily rhythm of devotional time with Jesus, seeking to meet Him in the morning hours to gain His perspective, strength and wisdom for the day. It doesn’t always happen the way I would like and what that time has looked like does vary from time to time, even day to day.
After spending over 8 hours in the emergency room throughout the night last week, mom was released and amazingly is recovering. When I finally made it home and tried to sleep, my sweet husband knew what we needed most. He sent out the call for prayer, for mom, for us as caregivers and those prayers once again carried us.
When I woke, I was so grateful to see the calls and texts from friends covering us once again. Oh, how we need a community of believers to help us bear the load and come before the throne when we are too weak and burdened to do it alone.
Sometimes we do just need physical rest to survive the demands of our lives. When I got home from the hospital, I crawled into bed about 7am and slept till noon, grateful that I didn’t have to teach that day.
Above all though, through the years, I have discovered that I need to learn how to come before the Lord and enter into the rest of God. Being still in His presence and learning how to enter into that deep soul rest is a place I can depend on when life is just hard and difficult to understand. In that place I find peace and hope.
This is a Scripture I have clung to throughout the years. It is true for you too, whatever pain or fear, or circumstance you face. Our God is always enough. Ultimately, we need the strength of His presence to face the days and the deep needs of our souls.
I’ve often been asked what devotional time looks like for me. I share this today, not to give you a formula, because you must find your own way of making Jesus your One Thing. It is really about the priority of our lives.
These days, I usually sit in my chair in the living room. It is where I come to meet with Jesus.
I most often begin with a cup of coffee or two and then move to tea. I have a kettle next to my chair. (I’m not a morning person!) I usually play worship music in the background, mostly instrumental.
I light a candle - a sign of seeking the light of God’s presence for my day, a signal for my family that I am meeting with Jesus. I love the scent and the light. It’s a routine, a habit that reminds me of the value of setting my gaze on the beauty of the Lord and my intention to seek Jesus as a part of the rhythm of my everyday life.
The scent lingers when I leave my chair to go about the routine of the day and I am reminded of the lessons He has taught me as I pass through the room. I carry His presence with me.
- I must simply choose to come.
I come in days when I am filled with joy, hopes and dreams and also in days when I feel the brokenness in my heart that might overtake me. I come with my disappointments and when I am desperate for answers. I come when I feel I have nothing to give, when the pain in my heart or for those I love is so great that we are just hanging on. But I come because I know that Jesus will meet me in HIs grace and mercy and wisdom. We have a history together in this home, in this chair, in His presence.
- I come because He draws me.
- I come to pray and praise, inviting the power of the Holy Spirit to engage my mind and heart. Here I do battle for those I love, for God's kingdom work among us.
- I come to worship at the throne of God. I lay the pieces of my life at the altar of Jesus and wait for His fire to fall upon my heart.
- I come expectant as I read Scripture and meditate on His truth. I don’t rush this time. I sit with the words of Scripture. I reflect and ponder God’s love letter to me in the Bible and let the text ask questions of me.
- I come out of love to simply dwell and find my rest in His presence and in His character.
- I come to write and journal what Jesus speaks into my heart. It might be a line or several pages.
- I come to study, to go deeper into Scripture. I need to know truth, to know the God revealed in Scripture - not a god of my own design.
- I come in gratitude to read wisdom found in sacred books. I want to learn from the lessons the Lord has taught others. These authors mentor me in my faith journey through sacred writings.
- I come to be still. In the quiet, I am renewed in peace as I ask Jesus to help me order my days in a way that is pleasing to Him so that I reflect His beauty.
- I come because I have history with my Savior here. This is a place of refuge, prayer and wrestling that we have built together.
- I come and place my life in His hands and trust in His love for me.
- I rise and His presence goes with me.
Because we become what we behold and our world, our families, our friends, our neighbors and strangers need to behold Christ in us.
As I am writing this I have music playing and an arrangement of Just as I am - I Come broken by Travis Cottrell plays on my Spotify. The Lord always has a sweet way of encouraging me with songs of worship. I had to stop and listen and make it my prayer. Perhaps the lyric is a picture of where are you are today. In HIs music He ministers to the longings of our hearts. I pray it will bless and minister to your spirit and encourage you in these days to come to the Father and make seeking and beholding Jesus a daily rhythm of your life.
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I'm welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am
Just as I am
When you choose to make it the rhythm of your life you will find that He will sustain you through your days, even the hard ones. It ultimately comes down to what the priorities are in our lives and how we choose to spend our time.
I’ve never regretted the choice to come and seek Jesus as my greatest delight. Neither will you.
Here is the youtube link to the beautiful old hymn Just As I Am with the new chorus I Come Broken. I invite you to take a moment and listen.
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