Prioritizing God’s Presence in a Busy Life – Donna Hanshumaker, Online Contributer
Psalm 42:1, 2 NIV “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” One of the definitions in the Webster’s dictionary for the word pant is to long eagerly or yearn. Have you ever been so thirsty that you could think of nothing else but getting your hands on a drink of water? I have! And what I found is that no matter how busy I was…if I was thirsty enough I would make time to get a drink.
What does this have to do with prioritizing God’s presence in our busy lives? It has everything to do with it. You see, when you are passionate about something it becomes a natural priority, but when you are cold or indifferent, it then becomes a chore. When you are thirsty, no one needs to convince you to go get a drink- you are driven by your thirst to go and get one. Prioritizing God’s presence really has little or nothing to do with how busy we are. There are some well-known ministers who maintain extremely busy schedules who daily spend substantial amounts of time with Jesus. How do they have the time for this? They only have 24 hours in a day like we do? The difference is they make the time for it because they realize that apart from spending time in God’s presence, they can do nothing.
This is the reality that many of us miss. We would never in a million years utter the words “God I don’t need you on a daily basis. I can effectively live for You without spending time with You.” Although we don’t say these horrible words, many of us live this way-often times not even realizing it. There is a deception that we don’t need to spend quality time with the Master-especially when the Lord is continuing to use us in ministry. I say this from experience.
I had the amazing privilege of growing up in a Christian home. I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at 3 years old and was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues at age 10. I was very dedicated to having my set apart personal prayer time all throughout Junior High, High School and College. Glory to God, I never walked away from the Lord. That is my testimony. However, as an adult after the birth of my son, my world was rocked. My time was not my own. My time with the Lord got more and more sporadic- but I knew God understood because of this precious baby whose life I was investing in. I would pray throughout the day and I knew God honored that.
The problem was that as life went on I never returned to my passion for prayer. I would be so tired and push prayer off to the next day. Days turned into months and months turned into years. As I did this I never lost my love for Jesus- I would give my life for Him in a heartbeat. However, I lost my passion and my dependency on Him. Life was good! God was using me in many real ways to minister to others and I thought I was ok. I was not ok- I was deceived.
I started to die spiritually and didn’t even realize it. I started becoming depressed, cynical, and my body experienced tremendous pain. Until one day I was spending time with a dear friend who was very much in love with Jesus and as I listened to her speak about the Lord it woke me up. I realized how far I had drifted from intimacy with the Lord. I went home that night and I cried out to Jesus. I said these exact words: “Jesus, I lost it and I don’t know how to get it back”. Immediately, and I mean immediately, I felt the presence of God all over me and I said “I’m back!”
From that moment on I promised the Lord that He would never need to make me desperate for Him again but rather, I would remain desperate for Him. I not only intentionally put time aside every day to spend with Jesus but I also learned HOW to pray. I learned to pray Scriptures over my life and my family’s life. I learned to declare His promises. I learned the power behind fasting. My body is healed! My mind is transformed! My life has been drastically changed and it’s because God’s presence became the priority again. It wasn’t about changing my schedule…it was about changing my heart.
However, there may be those who feel extremely busy and unlike my story, you actually DO realize you aren’t prioritizing God- I want to say to you…Be Encouraged! It’s not necessarily about making huge cuts or changes to your schedule. It is more about making a commitment of getting up earlier or staying up later to get refueled by spending that set apart time with Jesus. When we take this step of faith in adding yet another thing to do in an already busy life, we tap into a supernatural strength that will equip us to do everything else we need to. Remember this….we are too busy NOT to pray. We need Him!