My brain won’t turn off. I obsess over the next best thing. It’s no joke. I go to sleep planning my next project and wake up having dreamt about it. Annoying for sure. My mind has to be busy. No wonder I’m tired. If I’m not anxious about something I am moving at top speed to the next thing.
I have realized this while looking for a new job. Thankfully, I think I’m nearing the end of this process. I was beginning to obsess about job postings. I was writing and rewriting my resume. I have so many versions of my cover letter I’m not sure which one went to whom. Since I began to back off on my job search, my mind went to the next thing.
On Tuesday I was finally on overload. I couldn’t keep anything straight. I needed what I call a “Date with God”. In college I began to take dates with God. My friends were going on dates and I wanted to as well. I took God out to coffee shops or out to dinner. These dates became essential for my soul health.
I carved out time in my schedule and today I went on a Date with God. The plan during these dates is to study God’s Word, to journal, to pray and to stay until I feel released to leave. I can’t quite explain the release, but a lightness of sorts descends over my body, my mind and my heart. I breath easier and leave refreshed.
The topics of my Dates with God have always different each time. I start with an idea of a topic and pick a passage to start reading. I pray for God to lead me where he wants me to go with him. Today’s topic started on bringing my burdens to God. I wanted to process my stress over leaving one job and finding another one. My date started in Psalm 55 which my pastor taught on it this past week.
God moved my heart towards him and took me to Psalm 56:3-4a (Message Version)
When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud foo praise God: fearless now, I trust in God.
During my date my fears, which propel my mind and my heart to run in circles, quieted. I rested my tired and overwhelmed soul. I slowed my pace, refocused by putting my fears into God’s hands, and returned worship to my tongue. God was gracious to be present and linger with me as I went through this process with him.
Here is the prescription for a Date with God.
- Find a place where there are no other distractions. For me, it is a coffee shop. Bring money for the coffee or the treat you want. This is important. This is not a time for worrying about calories. It is a time to bring enjoyment to this experience. If you are saving money, you can go somewhere free. I have driven up mountains and sat in my car enjoying a view. I have sat in a park with my water bottle. I have walked on a path or even sat in my favorite chair in my house. I prefer a coffee shop because I can zone into my date easily.
- Bring the stuff you want. I have worship music on my phone with earphones. The music is just loud enough to drown out the world around me. You don’t have to buy music to have this experience. Spotify, Amazon, Pandora and YouTube all have free playlists with amazing music for your dates. I bring a journal, my Bible, my Bible study stuff, a pen I love to write with, and my computer if I want to write after. You may need tissues for tears. There is no shame in tears. They can be healing and God-given.
- Time is important. Schedule it and keep it safe. This is hard to do. I recommend carving two hours for your date, if possible, so you don’t feel rushed. You won’t be bored. You might be released in a shorter time. You may also need to post-pone the end until later that day. That’s okay too, but don’t cut yourself short. If you only have 30 minutes, give it to God. If you can choose to linger, give him all the time he needs to restore you.
- Be present. Pray for God to center your mind on what you are there to do. Slow your mind and be with him. Sit at his feet and stay there. The only time it has been hard to sit with Jesus is when I stubbornly avoid repentance. If my heart is right with him it is easy to sit with him. I hope this is true for you as well. Breath, exhale and listen.
I’m leaving my date now. I feel released. I feel joyful and peaceful. I am so grateful I took the time for a Date with God today. I hope you can start to incorporate Dates with God into your life as well. Blessings on your day.