mowingOne of the biggest obstacles to developing a closer relationship with God is the very nature of that relationship.

It’s “invisible.”

And felt, experienced results from living nearer to God are often delayed.

I usually can’t spend time and energy deepening my surrender and obedience to God and then immediately see the results like I could if I spent time and energy doing the dishes or writing a paper or mowing the lawn or going to work.

While we can and should use concrete, physical, touchable, observable details of life to further our relationship with God, they often simply distract us.  They lie to us and tell us that we “don’t have the time to be with God” because they are right before our eyes and need to be done.

The lie is twofold: first, you are always with God and all that you do affects your relationship with God, whether positive or negative.  Second, you’re not too busy.  Things can always be cut out or diminished or changed to make way for greater priorities.  Your greatest priorites get your time.  Period.

Most of the time I choose to work on and finish what is right before me.  What gets measured, or graded, or easily observed.  I did that all the time through seminary, and still do.  The paper or the book had to be finished before I could really pray or just “be” with God.  I needed to get that “A” rather than get a “B” because I intentionally spent time away from my studies being quiet with God.

The easy cop-out is to say that I’m using the actual schoolwork or yard work or family time or job to grow nearer to God.  Ideally, that would be true.  But let’s be honest, most of the time it’s just an excuse to do what we always do and appease the divine tug upon our conscience in one fell swoop.

Certainly jobs and chores need to be done.  And families need to spend time together.  But not at the expense of our relationship with God.  Never at that expense.  It is a price much too high to pay, even though we often don’t feel the cost right away.

It’s all about balance.  Not between your relationship with God and concrete, physical details of life, but between the types of time you “spend with God.”  You need both times of quiet with God and work with God.  You need both times of disengagement from the world with God and engagement in the world with God.

My struggle is to spend time that could be used for something “more productive” to slow down and be quiet before the God of the universe.  To invest in what usually cannot be immediately measured, but is of infinite importance. 

And my guess is that’s the side of the balance most of us need to address.

So no more excuses.  Not for me.  Not for you.  Invest in the invisible.  Truly, in more ways than you or I could ever know, our lives depend on it.