I don’t think it’s a very big secret that I love coffee. Like for real, I have a serious love affair with caffeinated beverages, hot or cold.
Whenever I go into a coffee shop, I have a routine. I myself am a barista, so I already know the best way to prepare these beverages, but I must decide what the flavor combination will be, so I stare at the board, pretending to make a decision based off of what I see there, but what i am really doing is having a discussion with my taste buds and trying to negotiate a compromise between their opposing demands. Finally, when we all come to a conclusion, I then scan the pastries to decide what would best go with that drink (the pastries I see may or may not affect the treaty that my taste buds and I have signed). Once that has all happened, I lay this request at the mercy of the barista behind the register, pay for my order (including a tip; if you want a good drink, you MUST tip) and then find the place that I want to hunker down and celebrate this magnificent creation I am about to receive.
I admit, this is a bit on the crazy side, and I promise that I am not embellishing. Actually, I left out quite a few details… Mostly out of self-protection; I can’t let everyone know exactly how crazy I am, right?
I say all of this because I recently felt convicted about this type of behavior. Before I get too much into this, I want to say that it is not a bad thing to know what you want and to request exactly that. In fact, God encourages that behavior.
What I was convicted about, though, was that I don’t always exercise this type of precise-ness, this “Nothing but the best” mentality, in my spiritual life.
Let me ask a few questions:
- How often o you have a quiet time?
- How long do they last?
- Do you let anything distract you, whether that be a text message, a person, an event, etc.?
Honestly, I can say that I have very frequent quiet times (if you don’t, please don’t take this the wrong way; we are all on our own level of growing). But, if I were to be 100% honest, I would also say that the quality of these times isn’t always the greatest. And looking at it, I think it’s because there isn’t a standard set up. For example, when I get my coffee, I expect it to be a certain way, and I will refuse it if it doesn’t meet those expectations. Those expectations are my standard. So what expectations should I have when going into my quiet times? Well, here are some that I have for myself. Maybe you can implement them in your own life.
- I expect God to be my “center”. He is the God of the Universe, and the Lord of my life, so He out to have my thoughts and my attentions set only on Him.
- I expect God to refresh me. The Psalms talk about God “restoring the joy of my salvation.” I should leave my times with God feeling encouraged and blessed that He has chosen me, and that He counts me as His son.
- I expect to look more like Christ. Paul talks about being conformed to the image of Christ, and also about Christ being formed in us. If I do not leave my prayer-times looking more like Jesus, then (honestly) I have wasted my time.
- I expect to grow in love. John talks about God being love, and how Christians are known to be disciples of Christ by the way that we love people. If I don’t encounter Love Himself, then I will not look like Love Himself.
By implementing these in my own life, I hope to be more addicted to God. I hope that in reading this, you are encouraged to make your own expectations on your relationship with Him. I’m finding out every day that it is more about the love that God and I have for each other that makes our relationship, and it is less about what He can do for me. Yes, He shows me how much He loves me by what He has done and also by what He is doing, but this is just a one-sided, selfish relationship. I want to love Him back, and for Him to take center-stage in my life.
My hope is that this post has stirred something inside you to pursue your Heavenly Father more.