Artis Divina - Where Artists find ways to follow God

Monday, January 09, 2006

How to think about alone time w/ God - Structured Time vs. Unstructured Time

Greetings in the Name of Jesus

Early on in my attempts to spend daily time with God, in solitude, silence, prayer, reading the Word, and Meditation, I struggled so much with simply finding the time to do so. Being a freelance Photographer, my schedule would change every day, and I could never seem to get God on my dayplanner's time schedule. I actually had made a commitment, with a group of other men and women at my church, to do this, AND, my Pastor was writing daily studies to go through.

I had the encouragement and prayers of others, I had something to do with God to spend time with Him, and I watched as others were indeed having this daily time, and were growing from it. I couldn't figure out why it was that I couldn't have this time with God.

I had the desire to do so.
I had the method and content to study and build up my relationship with God.
I had the encouragement from the (saints) around me.
I had time available in my schedule, even if I couldn't seem to find the time...
And, I was Single, with no Family or marriage responsibilites...

So what was the deal?

Earlier in my life, when I worked in a Photo Lab, everyday, I was able to get to work earlier than needed, go in my darkroom, close the door, and have time with God. (Then, the issue wasn't the time, but WHAT to study, and actually do with the time...?) Which I have now mastered... mostly,...

So, I compared the two settings in my life: the Structured Time of a regular houred job, and the completely Unstructured Time of the Freelance life.

My realization and solution to the problem, was that of imposing structure into the unstructured time schedule.

In order to have time alone with God, I would prepare for it, and schedule it in my brain, the previous day...

Somewhere in my day, I would review my schedule for tomorrow, and assess my start time and location, figure in my travel, equipment loading, shower and breakfast, then add 45 minutes for quiet time, and figure out what time I had to get up, to leave that hole in my schedule for God and me... This would tell me also what time I had to go to bed that night, so that tomorrow morning, I would not be so tired to want to hit the snooze button, and lose my time alone with God.

That system worked out quite well for several years, until I got Married, and have a little boy here around the house with me, as Mom goes to work, and I play dad/mom at home when I'm not working...

It's quite different now, with a wife who wants her snuggle time, and a baby who wants attention...

Now the strategy is changing, and I don't yet have the really good strategy yet, but is is developing.

But another strategy for being alone with God that has worked extremely well for me was having a place to go to for this time with God.
We lived in a Condo, and on the front of the house, we had a low wall, 6 feet from the front window, that stretched across the front, to the entry.
With large Plants growing there, for a screen, I built a very small deck, between the house and this low wall. This proved to be THE perfect size and place for me to have time alone with God, out of the house, listening and watching the birds and creatures, and watching the sky above.

It was a great place to listen for God's leading in my Life, and this intimate space helped grow my relationship with God immensely.
I liked the space, and sometimes had the time and inclination, that I would spend four or six hours out there with God, reading, praying, and listening for His voice. It was where God asked me to be a Pastor to Artists and Creatives.

If you have some level of control over your environment, I highly recommend making a personal space to spend time with God.

Maybe these thoughts can help you, or another person...

Only by His Marvelous Grace,
Paul Kiler
Art as Servant Ministries
1 Cor 3:5


Anonymous Teddi Deppner said...

Thanks, Paul. Like you, as a relatively new mom, I'm seeking that new strategy for spending consistent daily time with God. This idea of creating a space for it is very timely for me. THANKS! -- Teddi

4:22 PM  

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