I know the stories of Jesus. I know he retreated often to pray. I know He only spoke His Father's words. I know, I know, I know.....Sometimes I think I'm so "familiar" with the Bible that I forget to take these truths to heart. I brush them off without giving them thought and reflection, pondering how I can apply these examples to my own life for my benefit! But for some reason, when I read that phrase, said that way, a light bulb went off in my brain. aka Revelation!
In essence, I saw the relationship and the contrast between being filled up and being poured out. Jesus' whole life was poured out for us as an offering AND He says we can come and drink of the waters of life that He has any.time.we.want. But....we have to make time for that. (see these scriptures)
The story of Mary and Martha comes to mind, found in Luke 10:38-42, amplified translation:
"Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha, overly occupied and too busy, was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me, to lend a hand and do her part along with me! But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion, that which is to her advantage, which shall not be taken away from her."
Now, I would like to take a moment to point something out. Martha had an idea about what Mary should be doing. Oh dear! We are always coming up with good ideas of what we think others should do. This is a form of obligation that we put on other people. I'm willing to bet that if Martha had also sat at the Lord's feet, eventually everybody would have pitched in and it all would've gotten done with great joy and fellowship happening at the same time! I picture lots of laughing and talking while the work was getting done. :)
"My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me caretaker of the vineyards, but I have not taken care of my own vineyard. Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock?" Song of Solomon 1:6,7 NASB
"My beloved is mine and I am His! He pastures His flock among the lilies." Song of Solomon 2:16 NASB
The truth is we make time for what's important to us. We prioritize as we see fit when we should prioritize as He sees fit. Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added to us. I like to think of it like this: If I prioritize Him first into my daily life, everything else will fall neatly into place. THIS is the secret to making YOUR life work!
Here's a few tips, based out of the Word:
(Please keep all things in the perspective that God doesn't "need" anything from us & He's also not staring down at us, knit-picking over every little thing we do or don't do. He is gracious, kind & always working things for our good. We do these things because they help us keep healthy, happy & ultimately lead to our success!)
1) We need to be reading and meditating on the Word of God, daily.
Psalm 1:1-3 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners...But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.
2) We need time in prayer. Both to speak and to listen. Sometimes we have things on our heart that we have to get off our chest or we will explode! And we won't be able to listen until we unload. On the flip side, it's also important to be still and know that He is God. Ask God for sensitivity to His Holy Spirit to hear what is being said. Often, it comes in the still small voice of a whisper.
Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Lamentations 2:19 Arise, cry aloud in the night watches; Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him...
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
3) Setting aside time before our day gets going is always helpful. Before the crazy kicks in, it's good for us to get "centered" so to speak.
Psalm 5:3 In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare a prayer, a sacrifice for You and watch and wait for You to speak to my heart.
Bottom Line: I won't have anything I need to give to anybody else, if I don't get replenished in quiet time with the Lord. I have found that putting Him first somehow energizes me to do what I was discouraged about facing today. And don't feel pressured. His mercies are new every morning! The truth is none of us get it right 100% of the time and we can't do ANY of this without His help. So ask! It is good for us to see our need for Him and to depend on Him DAILY.
Invite God into the process of helping you with your schedule. Ask Him for the grace and wisdom to find what works for you and how you can put Him first. Don't get frustrated and quit if it doesn't work perfectly the first time you try. Allow time for tweaking.
And if you are shaking your head at me thinking, "You are crazy lady! If you only knew how much I have going!!!!"....know this: We all have seasons where we feel like things get out of control. Not a single one of us has escaped that. Thank God for grace in difficult seasons. :) Here's the good news: If you ask God for help, He will help you.