False Economy

I love my life. It’s just that’s there’s so much of it sometimes!

And when there’s so much life going on all at once, sometimes I make it all happen by economizing on the amount of time I spend with God. I rationalize that I can talk to Him while I’m showering or making my lunch or driving to work. I’ll be able to get more done that way—right?

Not really.

That had been my strategy this past week. I’ve had early morning meetings, full days at work, followed by evening meetings. Sandwiched in between have been phone calls, appointments, emails, personal projects, and deadlines. Add to the mix decisions I need to make and a fair amount of emotional stress, and you can probably guess why I was not sleeping very well. Sure, I was still praying—but I was always rushed. So it’s no surprise that I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Coping by abbreviating my time with God really wasn’t cutting it.

This morning I got up at 5, ready to hit the floor running again. I was about to put on my gym clothes and head out the door when the Spirit of God stopped me. How about spending the time with Me instead?

I wasn’t sure I heard Him right at first. I mean, usually I’m the one looking for any excuse not to work out. So wouldn’t God want to support my efforts at staying in shape? But He spoke to my heart again. If you go to the gym now, I will only get a few minutes with you later on. We need more time, child. I want more time with you. You need more time with Me.

It’s as if God had just excused me from gym class! I was surprised, but relieved. My morning was not going to be one more huge adrenaline rush. So I made coffee and headed for my cozy prayer spot with my favorite pen, journal, and Bible.

I began by pouring out my soul to God—I journaled everything that had been preoccupying my mind and pressing on my heart. Then I sat silently for a bit, inviting God to speak into what I’d shared. I sensed Him responding to a couple of the things I’d shared with Him. He was silent about others, but that didn’t matter because I’d done what I needed to do—I’d shifted the weight of my concerns from my own shoulders to His.

Then I read my Bible for a while—and He spoke to me some more. At the end of the time—which flew by—I felt lighter, refreshed, strengthened and equipped to face another busy day. I was amazed that I’d spent two full hours with God. And I still had enough time to get ready for my day!

I remembered what Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying: “Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer.”

I’ve often wondered how Luther could do that. How could I possibly afford to spend hours praying when there’s so much that needs to be done? But maybe the better question really is, How can I possibly afford not to spend the time praying if there’s so much I need God’s help to do? I guess maybe “saving” time by scrimping on prayer is no savings at all—it’s just false economy.



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