“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
Psalm 46:10, MSG*
Traffic noise: motors, horns, someone’s booming stereo. Dust. Exhaust fumes. Movement everywhere.
We get used to navigating life in the middle of it all. This verse caught my attention, invited me to take a time out.
Then I saw this tweet from Sheila Wray Gregoire:
Have you and your spouse talked about something other than logistics–kids, groceries, errands–today? If not, do it now!
— SheilaGregoire (@sheilagregoire) June 2, 2014
It’s about marriage, but it applies just as well to a Christian’s relationship with God. We get so caught up in the “traffic” of daily life, the things we’re doing for God. Sometimes we drift into managing our responsibilities in our own strength (we all have stories of how well that works–not!). But even when we’re praying about it, committing the day and its needs to God, working with Him and for Him, it can get to be all about the work. The responsibilities.
Yes, we want to please God. We love Him, and He’s given us so much. But it’s easy to forget that this isn’t all He wants. It isn’t even the most important part.
God wants quality time with us. (Click to tweet)
Just like the husband and wife, the friends who work or study together, we can’t let it all be about doing—even when there are a million things to do. We need to pull back, “step out of traffic,” “be still and know” He is God. (Did you recognize the verse from The Message paraphrase? I didn’t!)
Some people schedule a daily “appointment” with God so their agendas don’t fill up and crowd Him out. I start with a morning prayer and reading, but you know, that’s starting to feel like the morning meeting with the Boss. Important, but needing to be realigned. Reinforced.
Step one: I need to slow down and enjoy that quiet time. Reflect more on who God is. Worship. Enjoy His presence.
Step two: It’s time to go back to having a tea date with God later in the day. No planning the rest of the day, just a pause for togetherness. Maybe with a worship song to help me focus, or maybe in silence.
God our Creator and our Shepherd, teach us to be still and to know that You are God. Help us abide in You, delighting in Your presence. Forgive us for what we’ve missed in our frantic pace. Help us to work diligently for You and in Your strength, but help us first and foremost to set our hearts on You and to let everything else flow out of that relationship.
A good prayer as we step back from the noise is Michael W. Smith‘s song, “Draw Me Close to You.” If you have 4 ½ minutes for an experiment, try this: listen to the song, concentrating on the Lord, without doing anything else. No checking email, no deciding what to look at next. Just 4 ½ minutes of you and God. (I confess I found it really hard!)
*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson