Disclaimer: The map of this post is filled with bunny trails that all lead back to the same map dot. My lady spaghetti brain is darting from place to place, at the moment, so here goes nothin’!
One of the most simply profound concepts I learned in high school was Gary Chapman’s idea of love languages. The most uncomplicated way I can think to explain this concept is that everyone has a dominant way in which they want to be loved by others. Also, the way in which you want to be loved by others is the way you express your love for others.
In our all-girls Bible class, we took the free online survey to find out what our love languages were. (Here is a link to the website, which has a wealth of information & many resources, including the free online survey: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/)
The five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
The results from the first time I took the survey were that quality time was my dominant love language and receiving gifts was a close second. Fun fact: I scored ZERO for acts of service. I’ve always kept these nuggets of knowledge in the back of my mind, but never really acted on them. Awareness is a great first step in the process of change, but action is also required at some point, if change is desired.
I have taken the survey at least once since high school and my results were the same. I realized, though, that my personality type of being an introvert dovetails perfectly with my love language. I had an epiphany this year that quality time is not just my channel for building deep, earthly relationships, but for my relationship with the Lord, also.
I’ve met and continue to meet many who want the benefit of God’s help in trying times without having spent daily quality time with Him. Prayer is on a when-a-tragedy-happens-but-no-other-time basis. We want to pray for Orlando, Dallas, and even cities in foreign countries, like France, but any other time someone prays, that person is crucified by the media, like at a high school football game, or in public schools as a whole, along with many other instances.
I don’t know about you, but if someone spoke to or spent time with me only when they needed something, I’m not so sure I’d be excited or willing to help that person.
God graciously allows us into His presence whenever and wherever and most only enter it when something traumatic happens. What an empty life to only enter into the Throne-Room of the Creator of all things who loves us beyond our understanding only when you need something. The fullest of lives can be found in daily communion, hourly communion, minute-by-minute communion, second-by-second communion.
I notice a difference between when I spend time with the Lord throughout the day and when I’m too focused on myself and my immediate surroundings. At the end of any day spent not focusing on the Lord, I end up wishing I had just let go & let God handle everything happening within and around me.
For the past month, I’ve begun each day by reading a devotion from Ann Voskamp’s devotional called 1,000 Gifts. Each devotion has a prayer at the end, which I write in my prayer journal. I branch off from there and spend time talking with the Lord about the evidence of His hand in my life & in the lives of those around me. I thank Him for the abundant blessings He has bestowed upon me. I ask Him to reveal Himself to me in new ways. I ask Him to show me who He would have me encourage. I thank Him for sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. (My Papaw always did that each time he prayed before supper.) Then I pull out my 3rd book of the morning, the journal I have paired with the devotion book. The eventual goal of 1,000 Gifts is to write down 1,000 gifts God has given to you. Being intentional about looking for God in everything has been life-changing for me, as it has become a way in which I spend more time with Him.
Growing up in a Christian school with daily Bible class and going to church every Sunday often left me in this place of Jesus just being a normal part of everyday life… very routine. It’s taken me 14 years in Christian school, 6 years since graduating from the Christian school, 3 of those 6 years not going to church, and 8 months of being back into church to finally understand the importance of spending time with the Lord. There is nothing like pain to get our attention & that’s been the catalyst for this recent change.
Do I love one-on-one time with a friend in a quiet coffee shop? Absolutely! It’s difficult to find anything that can make my heart smile as much as quality time does. I’ve often read the quote that says if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. It boils down to priorities. You’ll spend time doing what’s important to you or with who is important to you.
I’ve wasted most of my life filling my time with unimportant things & just existing with a bunch of Christian head-knowledge. I’ve finally begun investing in the only thing that is important. I know I’ll lose some things along the way… interest in petty activities, people whose priorities are different & probably much more, but in no way do those things compare to what I gain from spending quality time with my Savior.