This Christmas my mom wanted to find a way to share Jesus with us in a way that would be personal to each of us. As she was praying in preparation for our Christmas Eve gathering, the Lord revealed to her a message through Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. The December 14th devotional spelled out a promise in each of the ten lines; she typed them out so that each sentence was separated, and then cut out each promise. She placed them in a bowl, and on Christmas Eve, we each drew out a promise – no doubt the one God had intended specifically for each to receive.
“Begin each day alone with Me, so that you can experience the reality of My Presence.” (From the book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, December 14.)
My oldest sister looked at me, and said, “You do that already.” I loved that she thought that, but I was quickly convicted and responded, “Yeah, but I haven’t been lately, so this is a perfect reminder!” (I have it prominently displayed on my desk to do just that.)
Since that day, I’ve been able to spend each morning with Him alone. Right now, on Christmas break, it’s been pretty easy, but talk to me on Monday when the “back-to-school/work” routine kicks back in and we’ll see where I’m at…
But in these short few days, I’ve found that turning my thoughts to Him as soon as I wake up changes my day – or rather doing so changes me.
Luke 4:42 tells us that, “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.” You see, Jesus knew what was most important. Jesus sought time alone with His Father, before doing anything else, because He knew His strength, direction, peace, and power could only be best utilized when they were aligned with His Father’s will. So, first thing in the morning, Jesus spent time with His Dad.
If you read the rest of the verse, you’ll see that the people began looking for Him, and when they found Him, they tried to keep Him from leaving. But Jesus knew what He had to do, so He said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
Jesus knew what He had to do that day, because He had spent quiet time alone with the Father. More than that, Jesus knew what to do in that moment because of the time shared with God.
I know we don’t all have crowds following us – searching for us (unless you are a mom, which makes this quiet time even more precious! Heck, time alone in that bathroom is a prized moment when you have kiddos at home!), but we all have that “thing” that distracts us from what is important. And it’s quite often (at least that seems to be the case in my life) that that “thing” or “things” – those distractions – find me. Even when I’m trying to stay centered in God’s will, the distractions of this world are unavoidable, and will often beg for my attention. I’m not saying that the distractions are “bad,” I’m only saying that without guidance from above, it’s difficult to discern the necessary response to them.
When I spend time alone with Jesus each morning, I do experience the reality of His Presence – not just in that moment, but in my day! Somehow, investing time with Him, softens my heart and grants me extraordinary grace that I’m able to extend to the “distractions” that always seem to find me.
And that’s how I want them to find me –refocused, revived, and reenergized by the unfailing love from my Dad.
That’s what I want this new year to be about. I want it to be a year of amazing grace. A year of encouragement and love. A year that reminds us all that we are in desperate need of something more powerful than our own egos and our own selves. A year that reminds us we don’t have to be bound by the trappings of this world, or held back by distractions. The Savior came to set us ALL free, so that we might have life and have it more abundantly!
I want to know what that looks like, and I know He’s waiting to show me.
That’s why I begin each day alone, so He can remind me that I never am.