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Cultivating Time Alone with God

God is asking us to come near to him, so what’s keeping us from taking time to recharge and allow God to speak to us?

Have you ever been to a place so amazing, you wished that someone you loved was with you? Maybe it was the beauty or the peacefulness or the fun, but you wanted so badly for them to experience what you were experiencing. You just knew how much they would love it, and how happy they'd be if they had come.

This is how I feel about my time with God. Moments spent in his presence, with his word, and with all of my attention. I have so much to learn from him, so many things he wants to show me, I can't help but want this for everyone. It might sound strange because, granted, not every time I'm with him is a glorious event.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with my sin, sometimes I'm hurting, and sometimes I just feel blah about everything. But I think you can recognize that this is like any good relationship. Our deepest bonds are with people who have walked with us through life, with its messiness and highs and lows. God wants to walk with us like this.

So it's definitely not every time I'm alone with God that I feel an amazing rush. But many times I do. Many times over the years I've been brought to tears as God has so obviously shown me how he is working in my life. As I read and meditate on his Word, it is amazing how quickly it can snap me back into place, and align my heart with his heart. There are times I'll pray about the smallest things, and he will answer me. Do you know how thrilling it is to realize that the God of the universe is reaching out to you? This is what I'm yearning for every woman to experience.

And it won't happen by chance. It won't even happen if you go to church every Sunday. Every great relationship takes time, commitment, sacrifice, and effort.

The apostle James reminds us: "Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world" (James 4:8).

I hate to admit it, but at times my loyalty has been divided. It's as though I can't make a decision about who my heart belongs to. I can whine and complain about feeling distant from God, but I have only to look at my time management to figure out how it happened.
Running around on empty for so long is exhausting. And then I make that choice to be still before God, to submit myself to him. I stop the madness of my life for a while and "come near to God." The amazing promise is that when I do this, he will come near to me. He isn't hiding from us. When we come humbly before him, he is right there.

Picture that God has personally invited you to a great banquet. He has a seat held for you at his table, which is filled with every good thing you could imagine. He would be sitting across from you, and his table would hold everything your heart needed or desired to live for him. You could have your fill of wisdom, comfort, patience, endurance, peace, love, joy, or forgiveness.

It would make no sense for you not to show up.

It also wouldn't make sense for you to crawl around on the floor picking up crumbs, when God has so clearly invited you to come and sit at his table. Crumbs will not leave you satisfied. And crawling around on the floor will leave you feeling unimportant and unloved.
Sit down with God. Let him love you and know you and change you and give you what you need.

I think deep inside, we all know this is what we need. Nothing is more important than cultivating that time alone with God. And I'm hoping to motivate you to run to his table right now. You won't be disappointed.

Lisa Chan is a mother of five and co-founder (with her husband, Francis) of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California. Lisa recently produced a devotional DVD series called True Beauty, dedicated to helping women discover and create authentic conversations with God.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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