I got away for the long weekend. By that I mean I left here on Sunday after worship and drove 2 hours to a friend’s house, and then drove back last night. That’s a whole day and a half. In clergy world that’s a long weekend.
What did we do while we were together? Nothing, mostly. We had dinner on Sunday and my friends invited their children and grandchildren to join us. What a pleasure to see them all, to talk with the kids and find out about the plans for getting back to school and get caught up on all the changes.
Then we watched TV, played cards and sat around and talked.
Monday morning, we had a long leisurely breakfast, talked a whole bunch more. Since they had shown me their vacation photos the night before I loaded up the family website and showed off all the current photos of my grandsons. Then my friend and I watched 3 movies while her husband puttered around the house. Everyone grabbed their own lunch when they were hungry, and we finished watching the final movie while we ate supper.
When I thanked them for a fantastic weekend when I left, my friend said, “We didn’t do anything.” That for me was the point. I know from reading Chapman’s book “The five love languages” that my love language is spending time with me. I don’t need big plans and lots of activity. I just need to spend time with people whose company I enjoy. Talking, playing cards, watching TV and talking through the shows…. for me that was and always will be a perfect visit. I left relaxed and restored and eager (well maybe ready) to get on with the work that God has called me to.
As I drove home I started thinking that my relationship with God is starting to reflect the way I express and receive love. My evening time spent with God isn’t always profound, but it is an appointment that I try not to miss. Just like a do nothing visit with good friends restores my balance and my spirit, the time with God does the same. I read Scripture, pray, spend time in silence. Sometimes I fall asleep. It’s all good. I give of myself to God and God gives of himself to me. And for me and God, it works.
Then I started thinking about a conversation that I had with a friend, who is feeling guilty that her nighttime routine does not include study and prayer. She said that she started saying to herself, I should do this, after all this is what Ena does.
As we talked about that, I said the evening ritual is my thing. And this is why I said that. It works for me because I usually have more energy at night. I am without a doubt a night owl. Don’t talk to me in the morning, which usually comes far too early, until I have had coffee. I don’t want to spend grumpy time with God, I want to spend quality time with God. That is why the time I spend with God is a time that works for me and suits my energy cycle and my personality style. I blog about it and hope it inspires you to develop your own relationship with God in a way that works for you and God.
I don’t expect you to commune with God in the same way that I commune with God. I don’t want to place any pressure on any of you. Just spend time with God in a way that you enjoy and in a way that nourishes you spiritually and emotionally and you will discover for yourself what I have discovered and am exploring.
For me and for God it is just about spending time together. For you and God it may well be something else. Think about what fills your love tank, your emotional tank and your spiritual tank and your enjoyment of the Spiritual Disciplines will flow from there. It really will.