It is often only when our life circumstances feel completely out of control that we realize everything is temporal, and our only lasting treasure is in Jesus Christ. In this article, Cathy McIntosh draws on her own experience of looking to Jesus amid seasons of chaos and overwhelm and shares 5 essential practices that helped reignite her passion for spending time with God.
Less than six months ago, without warning, Colorado experienced the most destructive fire in our state’s history. It was yet another awful reminder of how quickly things can change.
The pandemic seemed just the first in a long line of reminders that now included a ravaging fire. Ultimately we have very little control over the circumstances in our lives. Yet we place our hope and assurance on the fleeting things of this world. The pandemic quickly showed us how we’ve made idols out of our schedules, our access to information, and our independence.
Perhaps we’re starting to learn how easily the things we value can slip away. As a society, we’ve had to ease our grip on the reins on such things as church services, work schedules, school routines, holiday gatherings, celebrations, memorial services, and even our vacations.
Not knowing what we can truly count on makes us wonder who or what we can genuinely trust. It has stirred feelings of hopelessness, sometimes even helplessness in my heart. So I did what many have done and hunkered down hard. I found far fewer reasons to leave my home. It has become my treasured sanctuary, my safe haven.
And then, in an instant, my home—along with so much else in my life—felt as if it could melt away as well.
A friend who is a first responder told us that he received word of a small grass fire, then within 15 minutes the fire was jumping highways and threatening urban residential areas. It all came on incredibly fast.
ASKING MYSELF THE HARD QUESTIONS
The Colorado fire devoured an overwhelming part of two towns in a large metropolitan area. These are communities where we’ve shopped for necessities, celebrated family milestones, and served others. The destruction was all too close to our own neighborhood. The evacuation area covered about 20 miles of terrain—and our home is much closer than that to the burn area. One shift in the unpredictable front-range winds of Colorado and the raging fire could realistically spread in our direction.
Gut-wrenching news videos and reports revealed what I instinctively knew. Firefighters couldn’t put the fire out. The winds were too fierce and erratic to gain a foothold on the firestorm, so they were doing all they could to get people out of harm’s way.
I stood in my kitchen wondering what I should try to save if evacuation became necessary. People first, of course. Then pets. Important documents, as many photo albums as I could carry, and our computers, which now hold most of our memories and legal documents. If there was time, I could grab a few clothes and toiletries.
My list was short.
Standing in my home—the structure that my dad built with his own two hands when I was 2 years old, where I was raised and stayed to raise my own children, the place where my grandchildren now laugh and play and bump their heads and skin their knees—I knew there was little I could protect. There was not much I’d try to rescue if our lives were in danger.
FIND LASTING TREASURE BY SPENDING TIME WITH GOD
We didn’t have to evacuate. Ours was not among the more than 1,000 structures destroyed. We were not among more than 30,000 people who were displaced.
But make no mistake. My thoughts ran amuck with fear and dread. I cried and prayed for those affected. We reached out and offered a place to sleep, some food, even something to wear for those in need.
As we did, the thought prevailed:
Our treasure is not in the things of this world. The only lasting treasure lies in Jesus Christ.
I felt our Heavenly Father remind me of the foolishness of placing our hope in temporal things. God alone is worthy of such reverence.
And yet we—no, let me change that to ‘I’—too often neglect my connection to Him.
The fires reminded me of something vital that day. I need to stop relying on the comfort of my surroundings or the consistency of my schedule to find a sense of inner peace. As the fires raged, the Holy Spirit provided a gentle nudge to rekindle the familiar habits of spending time with God. For that is truly the only way to center my life on Him Who is our immovable Rock.
I began to ruminate on questions like:
How can I grow closer to God?
How can I revive my spiritual life?
In His abundant goodness, God pointed my heart toward the answers.
PRIORITIZING TIME SPENT WITH GOD
First, I needed to reprioritize the time I spent with Him.
Since I started working from home, it’s become far too easy to succumb to the constant pull of my down-the-hall office. Work is hard to ‘turn off’ when it lives under the same roof, and it was evident I needed to adopt new routines.
It has been a challenge to step back into habits that spur my spiritual growth and enrich my life. But little by little, I discovered several routines and mindsets that helped me become more intentional about practicing my quiet time with God.
Re-establishing healthy spiritual patterns, at first, required a lot of determination. But over time it began to feel more natural, especially as I began to experience God’s fullness and the richness of His Word.
HERE ARE 5 ESSENTIAL PRACTICES THAT HELPED REIGNITE MY PASSION FOR SPENDING TIME WITH GOD
1. Carve Out the Time
As I began to reprioritize spending time with God, I didn’t step into the same rhythms of my pre-pandemic life. Once upon a time, I enjoyed time in Bible study, prayer, and meditation early in the morning before work. Now, since work seems to hit me in the face the moment I wake, I’ve learned to carve out different time slots from my day. Implementing new routines was freeing and took some of the regimens out of my practices.
Lunchtime has become my new favorite time to spend with Jesus. It’s a quiet time of day for me when I can engage with Bible studies, read a devotional or passage of Bible verses, or sit in silence and listen for God to speak. I also enjoy spending time with God before bed—or more frequently in the wee hours during nights when sleep is elusive.
It doesn’t matter what time of day we turn to God. What matters is that we find time to spend with Him. He’s always awake, always available, and God wants us to turn to Him at all times.
2. Invite Him In
My husband, Mike lived a life of faith through his childhood and into his high school years. Shortly after high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and, as he tells the story, he didn’t pack Jesus into his sea bag. In other words, he left his spiritual habits behind as he started a new life. It was in this season of his life that he began to segment his faith.
Years later, God got his attention. He gently convicted Mike and opened his eyes to the way he left God at home when he went to work each day. Over time, Mike discovered the blessings of inviting God into every part of his life. Since then, he’s led our family to do the same.
Recently, I needed the same reminder to invite God to lead me through every moment. I need Him in each decision I make as I fulfill the roles He has assigned to me as a wife, mom, grandma, business owner, Bible teacher, daughter, and friend.
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t limit His availability to times when we find a quiet place and open our Bible. He’s here for us, waiting for us to turn to Him in every second of the day and night. We’re spending time with Him when we acknowledge Him before a business meeting or seek His help before making a parenting decision.
3. Remember Him in Your Story
I’m so thankful that God is not bound by a clock or calendar. Our past, present, and future all converge into the now of God’s economy of time. When we remember what He’s done in the past, it is a form of worship for what He’s doing right now, today.
We’re reminded through many Bible verses to look back—at history and our own lives—to recall what God has done.
“Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:12).
“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).
“And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
God is a central part of my story, and of your story too. The act of remembrance, like looking back into a scrapbook of our spiritual journey, is a meaningful way to spend time with the Lord of the Universe.
When God calls past things to mind, I’m learning to look for Him there. To gaze backward with a new lens and see the situation knowing God was in the midst of it all. It’s a delightful practice that reminds me He is with me always (even when I may not recognize it), and helps me look for Him in my current circumstance.
He shows me the treasures He’s provided, whether they are physical, spiritual, or emotional. He helps me count them all as blessings.
4. Acknowledge Him in Your Moments
A dear friend of mine calls them “God sightings”—ordinary moments when you see evidence of God’s activity or are reminded of His character.
We can develop the habit of watching for God’s fingerprints among the regular activities of our day. I’ve enjoyed ‘God sightings’ while watching sunsets, seeing a smile light up the face of a child, or discovering answers to prayer.
I’m learning to acknowledge God’s presence when I receive needed encouragement or suddenly understand something that’s been difficult to grasp. By keeping my eyes on what is unseen, watching for God’s hand and involvement in my life, I am learning to seek God’s subtle fingerprints as readily as His indisputable miracles. What a blessing it is to my life!
As we keep an eye out for His activity in the day-to-day, we’re spending time with God, drawing close, and placing our trust more firmly upon Him.
5. Celebrate Him in Your Milestones
The Bible tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a). We do well, then, to celebrate every blessing or accomplishment we receive as a gift from the Father.
It’s an easy temptation to say, “look what I did!” or “see what I accomplished?” In reality, there’s no way that we would possess what we do or attain great things without God’s involvement and help.
When we recognize something wonderful in our life, it’s an open opportunity to praise Jesus for His provision and glorify His name. We can celebrate Him in our milestones by recognizing His active role.
Each time we do, we point our hearts toward Him and fix our gaze on His rock-solid presence in our life.
REMEMBER THAT EVERY EARTHLY THING IS TEMPORARY
Wildfires are not unfamiliar to us in Colorado. But last December they spread into highly populated, urban areas and wreaked havoc. It was a horrifying experience, but I can grab hold of the encouragement that God shared with me that day.
Everything around us—including our very lives—is temporary. The only permanence we have is in our Lord Jesus Christ. Above all things, I must fix my focus on Him and reprioritize spending time with God to guard my relationship with Him. I pray you’ll join me in doing the same.
Our treasure is not in the things of this world. The only lasting treasure lies in Jesus Christ.
15 SIMPLE WAYS TO ADD JOY TO YOUR DAY IN LESS THAN AN HOUR
Need a little extra joy in your day?
Our team has put together this FREE printable for our readers to help you infuse joy into your life quickly. Enter your name and email below and we’ll send this fun printable right over!
Share This Post