As most of you know, I treasure, protectively guard, my time with HaShem when I take my daily jog or walk while listening to Messianic Jewish music. It is a part of my day like daily grooming, or regular meals, but with obviously elevated purposes and unique aspects. Prioritizing this intimate time of connection with the Divine is often very challenging, like today, when my day was already overscheduled with work commitments and meetings. Yet I knew that if I could carve out just 30 minutes of time with Him, I would be blessed with peace, insights, and encouragement.
As I was noodling these thoughts around on my jog, I realized that some days I joyfully look forward to this time with our Abba. Other times, like today, I was already so tired, yet had faith that I would feel better afterward if I could just make myself do it. Sometimes the days are gloriously beautiful, and on the beach (my favorite place to connect with HaShem). Today, however, I would barely have time to squeeze in ½ hour, let alone drive to the beach. So I was jogging on the circle near our home, granted not hard to take with stunning views of the ocean, but it was overcast.
I couldn’t help but think how God’s unwavering presence was in all the scenarios – beach, streets, sunny or cloudy days, even winter and rainy days. The circumstances on my side were variable – Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. (For you younger readers that’s a reference to an old Almond Joy and Mounds commercial). The point is I might be wishy washy, but our Abba is always waiting to bring us to Him in all situations. The only variable to being with Him on our end is whether or not we show up.
That’s where discipline matters, and faith as well. On those days when I’m exceptionally busy, or tired, choosing to jog for ½ hour is not something I look forward to doing. Yet since I’ve made it a priority, and it’s become part of my routine, and I have experienced the transformative effect of doing so, having the discipline to run with Him results in the beautiful result of feeling His Presence. When we make time for Him on those days when it is most difficult to do so, the result is all the more palpable since suddenly all the stress and busy-ness seems manageable and insignificant compared to the feeling that He’s with us in it. The situation becomes manageable in the real sense since my not having control is the whole point. He’s got this.
Jewish prayer three times a day as a routine, a spiritual discipline, must be partially based on this deep understanding by our sages of the importance of intention to set aside regular times for this intimacy with our Creator. If we don’t do so, in whatever ways are meaningful and a regular part of our days, we can so easily lose the amazing connection we are designed to have with Him. It is when we least feel like we want to that we will be the most amazed in Him, in our Abba who is always there, always constant, always waiting for us, wanting to hear from us, facilitating situations to be with us, helping us know He is with us. The more we make time for Him, the more often He shows up in ways we can more easily see – synchronicities, perfectly timed signs, answered prayer.
I encourage you to try to set aside regular times to be in conversation – prayer, discussion, meditation, quiet moments – with God. It helps to pick a time or activity that you do each day and associate that with your time with HaShem. In that way, the discipline you’ve already established for the activity will become connected to your time with God. I know that when I jog, I spend that time with Him. Maybe for you it’s when you first wake up, before the day gets too crazy, or you start to wake up ½ hour earlier to make that special time. Maybe it’s while driving a certain daily route, or when you take a daily walk.
Once He is part of your day in that way, no matter what, and in addition to your other times spent reading Scripture and praying, stressful situations and busy-ness will not overtake you. Our Yeshua, our Abba, our Creator will open your eyes to see and understand the world in ways not otherwise possible.
Our appointments with God are truly divine. You will not be disappointed. You’ve been given the choice to set them.
Just show up.