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Transitioning out of my busy first year of university, I am overwhelmed with the excess amount of time I have each day to do things that I enjoy doing rather than completing an assignment for a grade. With that, I am wanting to make sure that I use my time well to rest in a life-giving way, while keeping God at the centre of it all. Reflecting on my spiritual habits this past year, it strips my pride away to say that I had a very hard time keeping up with a regular routine of what my personal devotion time looked like, differing day to day. Though I received that extended grace from God that every season in my life may look different on how I connect with Him, it sparked the commitment to instill habits within myself over summer so that I am well established on how to structure my time with God. 

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I decided to write myself a long overdue rhythm of life to follow for the summer. The hope behind this is that I can continue to learn how to abide and be in His presence, while also picking up life giving habits that instill rest into my busy life. My rhythm of life consists of attainable habits, and as I grow in them, they can lengthen and deepen at my own pace. Each day, it includes limited screen time, reading books that are life giving, 10-minute timer for silence and solitude, 5-minute timer for prayer, and Scripture readings. All baby steps to get my habits back in place. It is important to centre your day around God and bring Him into all routines of your life. My hope is that these habits instilled will carry on to and through the next school year and that I can learn how to go to God and life-giving avenues for rest, rather than simply scrolling on my phone.  

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This image birthed out of a frustrated prayer. Not necessarily directed at God but giving Him my frustrations of what it looks like to find rest and enter His presence. I write out to God “overwhelmed, I seek for help. Searching for rest. Trying my best. Though seeking rest is like a chore, not sure what fits for me. My phone is eating me alive while I claim it brings me rest, but I need you to replace that daily bread. I wish I could throw away technology and leave it all behind me.” The next line I wrote out is what I believe God to be speaking to me. It was hard to write, as I knew it to be true, but never had wanted to admit it to myself. The pen strokes on the page changed to thick and messy as I wrote “it’s the one thing blocking me from you,” which brings me to my main point. Am I truly not experiencing life-giving rest and time with God because I am seeking in all of the wrong places? I instantly got this image of myself on a journey towards God, but the only block in my way is the fact that I keep stopping at my phone along the road. It is like I am wondering why I am not experiencing the fullness of rest in His presence, and it is because I am reaching for my phone more times than I am reaching for God. 

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This image shows someone holding their phone and Googling ‘where is God?,’ yet Jesus is right there in front waiting for them to simply pause, look up, and receive what He has to offer. Psalm 23 says that God makes us lie down in green pastures. God knows exactly what we need and knows that we need to rest with Him. He does not ask us if lying down in a green pasture in His midst is all right, but He makes us do so because He knows what we need before we even do. So then, why are we continually running to our phone for mindless rest knowing that God is waiting for us to do that with Him. Being with God is much more life giving than scrolling on Instagram or posting on Facebook; yet in our instant world, it seems a lot more attainable than seeking Jesus. Silence, stillness, and solitude are foreign concepts. And waiting? What even is that? We can get 3,900,000,000 results in 0.57 seconds when ‘Jesus’ is typed into Google, so the concept of waiting... yeah, that does not seem like much of a thing for my generation, and at this point, even our culture.  

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I am reading a book called Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton. She goes through the reason in which a leader needs to primarily enter a place of solitude with God to be well equipped and sustained to lead others in the context of the church. She talks about the signs of a leader taking on too much, and one of them being noticing escapist behaviors. She goes on to say that often when we feel burnt out, we use our breaks and times of rest to be fed by the internet and TV, rather than seeking life-giving avenues that we are passionate about to find rest, such as cooking or reading a good book. Barton concludes by saying that “this is a vicious cycle, because escapist behaviors actually drain us – energy that we could use to make life-giving choices – and then we just get more and more lethargic.” Which, quite honestly, I have noticed for myself. Reaching for the easy and instant mind break of watching Instagram Reels rather than truly filling myself up with prayer, Scripture, or simply something that God has made me passionate about, have been nothing but mindless and draining. I have wondered why I have been so tired, unmotivated, and feeling a lack of good things and God filling me. I have concluded for myself that the reason is not that God is not here, He always is and is waiting for me, I just have not put my phone down long enough to notice that.  

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My hope from this is that someone can be encouraged today through what God revealed during my prayer. My prayer is that if you are struggling to rest in God's presence, that He will work in your heart to find those life-giving ways and remove the areas in your life that are an obstacle for you, technology or other areas, we all got them.  

 

So, my question for you is, where are you seeking your daily bread? Jesus or what the world is offering?  

 

 

Ashley Galvin