December 5, 2010

Quiet Time On A Sweet Ride

I use to hate mindless work since I always saw it as a waste of my "precious" time. Although God's time is still precious, I now do not think as highly of myself so that time I now see as God's, not mine. God, who is precious and infinitely more valuable than I anyway. I also see that time is anything but mindless. People in the church say that you need quiet time with God. Does quiet need to be quiet? When I get into labor or laborious situations that require rhythmic mundane or repetitive tasks that do not require much thought, I dedicate the forefront or primary portion of my thought processes to thinking on God's word or on things of God.

I have found that these multitask situations are where I find the most profound insights. Specifically mowing my grass and mountain biking. Many say they go into a trance or zen-like state. I personally go for the Biblical meditation myself. If there is an especially troubling or complex passage I have been brooding over I will internalize the words or memorize the main gist of it before starting a task and then I will take it with me. I will also usually carry some index cards and a pen in my seat pouch if I am on the bike. If I am on the garden tractor I just get off and walk in the house to write down anything I do not want to loose. I believe my wife does this when she is gardening or working in the flower beds.

When Paul said pray without ceasing he wasn't saying never get off your knees physically, he meant something along the lines of always having God at the forefront of your mind and making Him the first factor in the decisions in your life-and praying a lot. When people say you need to rest in the Lord and find that quiet time I believe that to looks different to different people. I personally cannot lock myself away in a closet or small quiet room. Well, at least it wouldn't be my first preference. It would make my kind of batty.

“Be still, and know that I am God" Psalms 46:10

A commonly misunderstood passage. Being "still" in God doesn't mean be immobile in Him. Still- הרפו Raphah: it means "to be weak in" or turn your problem over to Him and let Him take care of it. To slacken, let your pressure abate and ease. It doesn;t say you need to be totally relaxed and lying prostrate in the ground totally limp. I find it is most beneficial to dwell, focus and meditate on Christ and Christ-likeness when my mind and body are both active to some extent and in sync. I find these are the best times to study and retain things to and I believe it has something to do with blood flow to the brain. Most of my intense memorization is often done on a treadmill or StairMaster or after a bike ride in the summer I will often have my flashcards for Greek along to take advantage of the fact I am at my peak alertness.

Being still can mean being idle but it doesn't have to mean that. For me it is often not. I am active in this life and it is how He made me. I am active and I am to use that activity as much as I can to serve God. It was the way I was raised up, I was raised in the way I should go (Proverbs 22:6). It was who I was when I was knit in my mother's womb (Psalms 139:13).

For me being still really means moving and being active. That place where people say they get a zen high when running or riding bike? I get a Christ high. That mindless loop around the wife's flower beds in the front yard aren't so mindless anymore. They are some of my most productive "face time" with the Boss. Unless of course I crash or wipe out on the bike. Then I end up getting face time with a tree or the ground.

Let's be perfectly clear though. I am not saying that this passage says you do not or are not suppose to be physically immobile. If you literally want to be still and not move to dwell and meditate on God, then go for it. What I am saying is different people worship and meditate on God in different ways. We were all made different. God being infinite may enjoy the variation (or not).

Now if I could only figure out a way to combine the bike ride with the lawn mowing I would have the perfect quiet time and perfect ride. Hmmmmmm.

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