Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Think back to when you last took time for solitude and silence. What happened? Did God show up? Was it just boring? Did you fall asleep? What were you expecting? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not?
Even when you take times of solitude and silence, God will not always speak to you. Most often when I'm in times of solitude and silence, I don't hear anything. But it's worth taking the time to do that so that he has my attention if he needs it. This is important to keep in mind. If you impatiently expect great gems each time you meet with God, you will be terribly disappointed and lose interest. Instead, it has to be all about simply being with him, the way you would want to be with anyone you love. When you come to him, say something like, "God, I just want to be in your presence because I love you. Tell me anything you want me to know; I'm listening. But if there isn't anything I need to know right now, just help me to enjoy being with you."
Then don't feel guilty if your mind wanders and you end of thinking about what you are going to fix for dinner that night. When you realize your thoughts are drifting, just start being available to hear God's voice again. That's why doing this with an open Bible on your lap is good. It helps keep us focused and we have God's literal word speaking to us through his timeless truth. Start with something like Psalm 63, Matthew 5:1-16, or Colossians 3:1-17. Read a passage and then sit quietly for at least half an hour. Tell God you are willing to hear whatever he wants you to know. If you've never done this before, it's going to seem incredibly long, but stick it out.
Since I've made this a regular part of my life, so many things have fallen into place for me. I'm a lot healthier emotionally because my life is more balanced and I have a better grasp of why God created me and what he wants me to be doing. I also just enjoy my relationship with God more, which spills over into every area of my life.
JoHannah Reardon is the managing editor of ChristianBibleStudies.com. She blogs at www.johannahreardon.com and is the author of seven fictional books and a family devotional guide.
Copyright © 2012 by Christianity Today/ChristianBibleStudies.com. Click here for reprint information.