I used to do it nearly every day, but it's something I have to fight (discipline myself) to do. Of late my habit had slipped and I'd left Him waiting there alone, while I pressed snooze again and again and then jumped out of bed with barely enough time to shower and prepare myself for the day. "Promise.... I'll meet with you this afternoon..."
...But afternoon slips into evening and there's always something to do. Something to take up my time. Things that are so trivial can seem so urgent (putting on makeup before stepping out of the house, eating a meal, shooting off an email) while the truly urgent things are treated trivially. It's because they're the invisible realities--the things that can't be touched or seen are the things that we need more desperately than air, or food, or water.
It isn't that I'd ignored Him completely. He's a part of every moment of my day, in a way. I breathe my thoughts to Him almost as naturally as talking to myself. I try to invite Him into every moment, every emotion, every decision. But the quality time just hasn't been there. The purposeful times of setting everything else aside to gaze in His eyes and give Him my undivided devotion. He deserves so much more than the crumbs left over from my day; than the sleepy moments before my eyes drift shut and my tired mind fades to sleep!!
Last night, we had a talk. He laid it out for me pretty clearly. I had typed some words to a friend that made me sound so close to God, like I had it pretty much together. But He had been reading over my shoulder, apparently, and was not impressed by my piety.
"What was that, Dani?"
"Those words... they sounded so right. They made you sound so completely devoted to Me. But words are cheap and your heart has been distracted."
My heart burned with shame. He was right and I knew it. A marriage wouldn't last all that long if I were to treat my husband this way. Why would I think my relationship with God could work without 100% of my effort? All at once my heart ached to be held by Him again, to be alone in our secret place together in the quiet moments of the morning like I had been in the habit of doing for so long. But the shame also made me want to pull away; to do some kind of penance before I tried to draw near to Him again. Isn't that how it always works? The enemy's subtle ploy to keep us from Him: guilt.
"No, Danielle. Don't do that either. I forgive you. I wouldn't be drawing you back if I didn't want you back. I want your heart and your devotion more than anything and I'm not going to put you on a guilt trip or hold you at arm's length until you're 'sorry enough'. Just come to me. I'll meet you there."
I did, and He did. I fell asleep with a light heart, with my alarm set and the snooze button looking for another place of employment. I had a date for the morning and I was NOT going to miss it!
...And then the alarm goes off (it's a "piano riff").
So annoying. Doesn't matter if it's crickets chirping, a duck quacking, a motorcycle revving, or harp music: I've tried nearly every sound on my iPod alarm and they all annoy me pretty equally in the morning.
So I scowl at it, groan....and sit swaying on the edge of my bed with my eyes at half mast, like a big dope who can't even think straight, let alone come into the presence of the King of the Universe in a few minutes. Not feeling all that excited anymore. This is gonna take shear willpower.
So I put one foot in front of the other.
I wash my face with fa-reeeeezing cold water.
I tip-toe downstairs and build a fire in the fireplace.
(Sure enough, that dear, faithful Friend was waiting there for me.)
So I sat with Him and wrote in my journal,
"Rose early this morning to meet with my Love. Oh how good it feels to be here, in the quiet semi-dawn , before a warm, crackling fire, communing with my Lord! Why do I fight for sleep when THIS is what awaits me? In Your presence if fullness of joy. Come, Abba, meet with me here. My heart longs for You."
Now, I'm going to sign out and get to bed so I can do it again tomorrow; re-build the habit. But I write this to encourage you, if you've perhaps let your intimacy with the Almighty take back burner, to come back to Him. Rekindling the love in your heart is an act of will, most often; not emotion or feeling. But He understands that and He wants quality time with you so, so much. Join me in intentionally cultivating your relationship with Him, and oh, how we will rejoice His heart.