You can drive on “empty” in your gas tank for only so long before you end up being stranded in the middle of a highway.
You can ignore pain in your body for only so long before you end up in a hospital bed.
You can neglect a relationship for only so long before it dissolves completely.
And you can live a life without God for only so long before you hit rock bottom.
A few months ago I found myself sitting inside of Les Schwab having my car taken care of and at the end they printed off a quote that had everything that needed to be maintained listed.
My first reaction was to file it away, in a recycle bin and forget about it until the next warning light started flashing in my car.
But then I realized that I could throw it away and wait until the next problem came up or I could sacrifice some time, sacrifice some money, and get it all maintained that day so that I didn’t have to wait until my car was broken down in the middle of a road somewhere before I decided to have it fixed.
Often times I think that’s exactly how it is with us in our spiritual walk with God.
Maybe we are not as close to God as we want to be.
We get busy with life and we neglect our one on one time with God.
Postpone if for another day.
We try to squeeze in a chapter from the Bible on the go whenever we can.
We attempt to meet with other believers to dig deeper into God’s Word and encourage one another… when it fits into our schedule.
And it takes only so long before you find yourself living on empty.
Before you forget the last time you opened God’s Word.
Before you realize you want to spent time with God but you have no words to say because you can’t remember the last time you really talked to Him.
Before you find yourself lost, confused, and broken… wondering how in the world you ended up there.
And the older I get, the longer I walk with God, the more I realize that maintaining my relationship with God isn’t a one time thing.
It needs to be a daily spiritual discipline.
Not the kind of discipline you don’t look forward to because it’s a hassle or a burden.
But one you choose to make a priority because you know how beneficial it is for your day.
For your future.
For your life.
Taking care of my car may be a hassle… but I choose when I want to take care of it.
I can continue maintaining it now when it’s running fine. Or I can choose to maintain it later when I have no choice because it’s broken down.
In the same way I can choose to seek God daily in different ways now. Or I can seek God when I have no choice because I’m at the lowest of lows and I can’t neglect Him anymore.
I think we all have times in our lives when we hit rock bottom, but I don’t think that should be a common recurrence in our lives.
Yes, Jesus is there at the bottom with you.
He will bring you out of whatever situation you find yourself in.
He will help you rise up again.
He will help you overcome.
But He can also help you stop from hitting rock bottom.
Stop living on empty.
Stop ending up at dead end’s.
How? It’s simple. Walking with Him every day.
Being intentional about pursuing Him, NOT just when you need Him, but every moment of your life.
I know that many of the times I’ve hit rock bottom in my life it wasn’t because of the terrible situation that happened which I couldn’t control (although that could likely be the case as well) but because I stopped.
I stopped spending time with God.
I stopped digging into God’s Word.
I stopped meeting with believers who would encourage me.
I stopped seeking God’s direction for my life.
And it took hitting rock bottom for me to realize how much I needed God in my life.
How long I went on without seeking Him out.
How purposeless my life had become.
And my challenge to you (and me) today is this: Don’t wait to hit rock bottom before you turn to God.
Don’t wait until you find yourself at a dead end to kneel in His presence.
Don’t wait until you have nothing left to keep you going to run back into His arms.
Seek Him today.
Spend time with Him today.
Dig into His Word today.
Do what you need to grow in Him today, before today turns into the tomorrow’s that never come.
I want to leave you with a few disciplines and habits I’ve implemented throughout the years in my walk with God that have really helped me stay focused and in tune to Him on a daily basis.
Devotionals – there are so many different devotionals out there to choose from but I always love having one on hand in the car or in the office for when I have a few minutes to read one. My current favorite one is “Just a Thought“- which is written by a retired pastor.
Prayer – it’s important to pray unceasingly (as Paul talks about in the Bible) and there’s a few things that help me remember to pray and what to pray for every day.
- I like to post things or names of people I need to pray for in places I can physically see – such as on my wall at work, behind the steering wheel in my car (on a small index note), or on my mirror in my room. Then when I am driving, working, or getting ready for my day I am reminded of what I should be praying for.
- Praying with other believers is essential in our walk with God. That way we can not only be encouraged and uplifted in our faith when we need the support from our brothers and sisters in Christ but we can also bear one another’s burdens and intercede for others who are struggling or in need. For me this means making it a priority to attend my church’s weekly prayer service or getting together with a group of girls for a night of intercession and prayer. I have seen the benefits of meeting and praying with other believers as one of the key things that has kept me close to God.
- Having one on one time with God. The kind where you shut all your technological gadgets off. Where you lock your room and put a “do not enter” sign on your door. Where you tune out the world and tune in to God. And for this, the most important thing is to have a time and place you regularly meet at so it becomes a normal part of your daily routine, like meeting with your best friend for coffee every morning. Unless you have it set in place it becomes easy to ignore it. Also- one of my good friends recently told me about the IHOP church that has prayer around the clock that you can watch and participate in live stream. If you are having trouble starting to pray on your own this could be a helpful way to begin – to pray and intercede with all of those around the world who are doing the same thing.
Books – I love reading and it’s been so important in helping me grow in Christ more by learning from those who have walked in faith longer than I have. Who have learned things they can pass on from their own experience to encourage other Christian’s in living for God, to shed light and understanding on what God has taught them about Himself, His Word, and what it means to truly live a life that honors Him. I’ve learned that if I read one chapter from a book before bed I can usually read a few books in one month. Whenever and however you can, try to make time to read a good book and learn from those who have went before you in faith.
Church – Being connected and planted in a church is one of the basics of growing in Christ. It’s the first thing God made happen when Christ was taken to heaven after His resurrection: He helped create the first community of believers who would meet with one another because He knew that we can’t walk out our faith on our own. We need to be connected with other believers who we can share life with and encourage, learn, and grow in Christ with one another as we continue to seek Him. If you are in a church make sure to find a way to get plugged in and meeting with other believers often. I’ve been attending a small group since I was 14 years old and I have been actively participating in ministry since I was 16 years old and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for me being connected with other believers all those years I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What I listen to – What you listen to, watch, and participate in makes the biggest difference in how you face your day. To me personally, music is a huge part of my life. I listen to it in the morning when I first wake up, at work all day, in my car, and when I get home at night. I’ve learned that it takes listening to the right stuff to help me focus on Jesus. For me this means listening to worship. On pandora. On 8tracks. On my playlist on the computer. And let me tell you… when you’re listening to worship all day you can’t help but think about God! 🙂
I also love to listen to podcasts by different pastors throughout my week especially on topics that are relevant to what’s going on in my life or on something I want to understand more.
Reading God’s Word- this is another one of those “obvious” one’s but I think reading the Bible can be one of the easiest things to neglect when you’re just “too busy”. But it is one of the essentials in your walk with Christ. It’s your spiritual food and if you choose to not read it you are (in a sense) choosing to live without the strength that you need for your day, just like if you choose to not eat for a week because you are “too busy” or too lazy your body will become weak as well.
I have learned that what has helped me is having a Bible Reading Plan to stick to. We went through one with my church last year and it made a night and day difference in how I read my Bible. I used to stick to just reading the New Testament and a few of my favorite books from the Old Testament, but I had a chance instead to read through the whole Bible in a year (and yes… this includes books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy) 😉 and I can honestly say I think I dug deeper and learned more from God’s Word last year than I have in the past years because I stayed disciplined in my daily reading and I didn’t opt out of reading books that I didn’t think were as “interesting”. If you can, find a reading plan you like and stick to it (and maybe have others join in with you so you can keep each other accountable).
Journaling – It’s important not only to read God’s Word, listen to sermons, spend time with Him… but also to record what He has been teaching you along the way. I have over 14 journals I have written in throughout my life and honestly re-reading them is the greatest testimony and reminder of what God has been doing in my life all of these years. Last year I tried a new “style” of journaling called SOAP’s and I absolutely love it. It’s simple and easy, and a great way to remember exactly what God has been teaching you every season in your life. You can do it on paper, on a computer, or online. Currently I use a free journal website called Penzu where I keep all my SOAP’s (in case my computer decides to crash on my journals get lost). Choose whatever works for you and make it a daily habit to write in it.
Day with Jesus – Whether you like it or not – sometimes in life you need to do one very important thing or else you will end up burning out. It’s called STOP. And stop not just for an hour or two during your day, or even your week. But stop for a day. Maybe two. Whatever it is that you need, and just have some time with you and Jesus. I call it my “getaway with Jesus“. A day where I set everything aside. Where I press pause. Put my life on hold and just spend one day with just Jesus. A day where I reflect on what’s going on in my life, where I allow God to speak to my heart, where I make goals for my future. It may seem like an unusual concept, but sometimes you need a week off from work to get refreshed and renewed….and I think it’s just as important to take time off from your busy schedule and life to have some time for just you and God to remember what life is all about. 🙂 (And this goes beyond your day of rest or sabbath that you should have weekly).
These are just some of the habits that have kept me walking strong with God all of these years.
If you have anything you do as well feel free to share them here, I’d love to know what keeps your walk with God fresh every day. 🙂
Be blessed! –Anna… ♥