At one time I had not been so closed off to the world around me. I had been open to the Lord and to others, but that was not the case anymore. Relearning how to open back up has not always been an easy task. In the process of relearning I have developed a morning routine for my devotion time that helped me open up to Him and surrender all the pain and yucky stuff inside of me. He took it and put healing in place of all that yuck. A part of that process has been to develop habits that have helped me along the way. One of the things I had to teach myself how to do was to be still, quiet my heart, and be open with the Lord. I discovered that if I learned to relax my body that my heart and soul relaxed too. Eventually I was able to come to the Lord in a way where we were able to commune back and forth. I found the intimacy I once had in my relationship with Christ and I had missed that for so long. Here is what I do every morning to start my day:
1. I do a relaxation exercise. This helps me to be still before the Lord and to quiet my heart. The relaxation exercise that I do is imagine my body as a bottle. Water slowly flows trickling in until I am full from the tip of my head to the souls of my feet. Then once I am full I imagine the water slowly draining out of my body. This leaves me relaxed. I had been so guarded and this helps me relax in His presence.
2. I meditate. Meditation has gotten a bad rap in the Christian community because it is often used in the Hindu and Buddhist religions. There are some forms of meditation that I am not a fan of, such as clear your mind and let anything that wants to enter come in or transcendental meditation . The type of meditation I am referring to is meditating on Scripture. I keep lists of verses to use for meditation in a three ring binder. I spend 5-10 minutes focusing on a verse. Last year I meditated on one verse per day and worked my way through a list of verses about who I am in Christ. There are many lists of God's promises and often times I will incorporate those versed into my meditation binder. The key for me is that IT MUST BE SCRIPTURE. It can not be a poem or some other quote from a Christian. I don't want to become like any particular poet or other Christian. I don't particularly care what a poet or other Christian person thinks of me or what they think I should do-- there are plenty out there who are more than willing to give their opinion with or without your asking. I do want to be like Christ. I want to do what God says I should do and I care what He thinks of me. Meditation on Scripture helps me in this when done in addition to studying and reading Scripture. Meditating on Scripture alone would not be enough Bible for good, healthy Christian living, therefore, reading and studying the Bible also need to be a regular part of the healthy Christian Life. When I meditate I close my eyes and repeat the verse over and over and over. My own personal experience is that the Holy Spirit will illuminate things that need to be illuminated and drive them deeper into the core of who I am. Then the Lord uses it to transform me.
3. I read Scripture Then I read 1-3 chapters in the Bible. Currently I am reading the last week of Jesus life from all four gospels. Sometimes I have a topic that I have looked up and read the chapters around it to get those concepts in context. Other times I pick a book of the Bible to read. The important thing is to read God's word.
4. I pray. I tend to follow a structure with the flexibility for the Holy Spirit to lead me differently when it is right. The structure I follow is ACTS:
- Adoration-- I take time to just adore my Lord
- Confession-- This is the time to confess my sins, my struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings.
- Thanksgiving-- During this time I just spend time thanking the Lord for all he has done.
- Supplication-- This is a time to lift personal, family, friends, political affairs, things from your church prayer list, etc.
What are your devotions like? How do you quiet your heart before the Lord? How do you stay in the Word?