Life seemed like it should be full. True, the first semester had been absolutely insane. I was at a new school, yet I had adjusted fairly well all things considered. Everything was picking up speed as we approached the mid-terms and consequently, Christmas break.
I was constantly studying and making sure my end of term grades were perfect (or as perfect as they could be). Friends wanted to hang out before break when everyone was traveling.
On top of that, there were plenty of holiday parties to attend.
Surrounded by innumerable students, leaders, teachers, family, and everything in between, it felt odd when I realized that something was missing. Something hurt, and I didn’t know quite what it was. I still felt empty, even while full of my busyness.
Sometimes God Has To first empty us
Finally, as the semester was coming to a close, I took a moment and sat on the floor with my Bible and journal in my lap. I was going to get to the bottom of this.
I’ve learned recently that when I feel any sort of negative emotion that bothers me, I need to pause and ask two questions:
What is this that I’m feeling, God?
Why am I feeling this?
When I ask these things, I usually receive clarity about why I’m feeling that way. This time was slightly different though. There was a pause. Then I heard it.
“This is loneliness. It hurts, but it’s for your benefit. Let me distance you from the rest of the world so you are able to run to me without anything holding you back.”
Filling Our Hearts With the most important thing
I have to be honest here; that hit my heart. I hadn’t seen that coming. It wasn’t as if I was filling my life with bad things. The things I had been running after were good! Certainly, I had been going after them with the best intentions!
But that moment sitting on the floor changed something. I was able to see that, yes, talking to friends is a good thing. It’s healthy and needed, but sometimes that can get in the way of spending time with my Abba Father.
Of course, the fact that I was constantly making sure my grades were the best that I could make them was a very good thing. However, it had become my top priority. While I knew that spending time with Jesus was important, I wasn’t making it something that I was striving for each day.While I knew that spending time with Jesus was important, I wasn’t making it something that I was striving for each day. Click To Tweet
As the New Year approached, I began to empty my heart to Him in the quiet and loneliness. I knew that growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus was something I wanted to become my number one priority in 2019. And as the clock struck twelve, change was not something that I would put off. It would begin now.
But how would that happen?
How to be filled by God in the Day-by-Day
There are a few practices that we can implement into our routines.
Since the New Year, I have made it a high priority to spend a minimum of fifteen minutes a day, asking Jesus to highlight something new. I want to ensure that my mornings are filled with his truth. Typically during this time, I read my Bible and listen to a lovely worship music playlist. The Bible is God’s word and is one of the many ways He communicates with us. I want to make sure I’m tuned in to what He is saying before I start my day.
Another thing I have started doing has been praising Him in all circumstances. Around the middle of January, I had a really tough week. But the entire time, I made sure I was singing along to Rend Collective or Elevation Worship whenever possible. Listening to worship music and actively looking for things to be thankful for help us to develop an attitude of praise. This helps us to love God more and draw closer to him.
The last thing I think is crucial to this is taking our thoughts captive. This is hard, and I would even add counter-cultural, but it’s what will enable us to live the free life God planned for you and me. Whenever we notice that our thinking is starting to drift away from things that are good for us or things that are positive, we need immediately stop and correct them.
It’s maddening how easily we can get derailed nowadays and dragged away from our true identities and purposes. But it all comes down to this question:
“What is filling the place where God should be?”It’s maddening how easily we can get derailed nowadays and dragged away from our true identities and purposes. But it all comes down to this question:“What is filling the place where God should be?” Click To Tweet
As soon as we ask that, God will pretty quickly illuminate something that is holding us back. The good news is that if we begin to seek God’s help in removing that thing from its place of power in our lives, that’s when God steps in.
He gave us the invitation to a deeper relationship, now we have to take it. When we do, and empty ourselves of the things of this world, God will fill us, and peace and abundant joy will follow.