How to enjoy spending time with God

Spending time alone with God should be the most natural, enjoyable thing we ever do. But for a lot of Christians it's awkward and frustrating. There's a better way, and it's simple. Today I want to give you the all-important starting point to enjoying time with God.

If you've been around Christian circles, you know we value spending time alone with God. It's one of those things all Christians should do. ("Should" -- I've come to look sideways at that word. It is the source of much evil.) The problem is, if you're like a lot of people, you don't enjoy spending time alone with God. You likely feel that you don't know what to do. You try it, but all the while, you fret that you probably aren't doing it right. But dutiful you, you plow through devotions -- at least a handful of times. But it's confusing, feels like work, and makes you anxious. Soon and very soon there comes that day when you decide to walk past your Bible and pick up the tv remote instead. You are only days into a practice of devotions, and you've already quit. Now you feel guilty and do what people have been doing since Adam and Eve: you hide from God. So, what started as a way of connecting with God turned into the exact opposite: something that keeps you from God.

The reason I know this cycle is because I've done it -- all of it. But over the years I have found a better way. I'm enjoying my life with God like never before, and you can too. In fact, God wants that for you.

I'll start right at the beginning, because the starting point sets the tone for your whole meeting with God. If your starting point is getting things done, devotions will feel like work. If your starting point is that you're a miserable sinner, devotions will feel like wallowing and cowering. If your starting point is getting devotions done right, then it will feel like taking a driving test at the DMV. And so on.

Here's the starting point I recommend: make time with God a treat.

Simple idea, right? But what does it look like?

Making time with God a treat can look like this...
I like to have time with God as soon as I get up in the morning. I make myself a cup of strong black tea with just the right amount of milk and honey to soften and sweeten the brew. Often I light a candle because I like how scented candles make the whole room feel and smell. Then I settle into my favorite chair -- a leather mission recliner that has been "my chair" for years. The scene becomes a vehicle to enjoying time with my Father. A sip of tea becomes a prayer. The fragrance of the candle reminds me of his goodness. And the words of Scripture blend into all this. I love doing devotions. It's my favorite part of the day. I find that my heart softens to the Father as I luxuriate with him. And let's get one thing straight. God is infinitely enjoyable and likes for us to enjoy him and the world he has given us!

Making time with God a treat can look like this...
This week one of our parishioners at Sanctuary told me she recently bought a leather chair she had been wanting for a long time. When she went to do make devotions a treat, it had to happen in that chair. Then she made herself a chai tea. And -- here's my favorite part -- she munched on a Pop Tart. She said she started thanking God, and suddenly her whole being was filled with his joyful warmth. So, there's one recipe: a chair, a chai, and a Pop Tart.

Making time with God a treat can look like this...
Another parishioner texted me a photo of her scene. She lit a scented candle and opened her Bible to Psalm 118. As she settled in, her dog came over and laid his chin on the table. Apparently he wanted to get in on things too. Smart! She says she's finding that setting the scene for our time God is like getting the house ready for company. "You get out the good stuff." For her, that includes the good coffee with cocoa and sprinkles of cinnamon. She's moving from viewing time with God as a burdensome "should" to making it a treat, and it's flavoring her whole day.

Making time with God a treat can look like this...
Last night after a long day, I shut my laptop at 9:00 (no laptop after 9:00 is my rule). I decided to make the rest of the evening time with the Father. So I turned on the water fountain in the back yard, poured myself a glass of wine and settled into an Adirondack chair. I even smoked a little bit of a cigar someone had given me. I made no great speeches to God. I just relaxed and enjoyed him. Somewhere in there I had a whim to listen to a bunch of Queen songs too. :-) Some would say I was doing time with God all wrong. But the Father and I simply communed last night, and that's what matters.

There is a lot of advice out there about how you "should" spend time with God, and "here's how to do it right." Let's begin with a more relaxed starting point: make time with God a treat. Try it and let me know what happens!


Popular Posts

A test of your relationship with God

Mother Teresa's turning point

Two signs that someone is humble

Ten essential Dallas Willard quotes

Why I have no hope of going to heaven