** Hi friends! This post is part of a blog hop for Advent. At the end of my post you'll find links to some wonderful blogger friends who want to help you prepare Him room. Take some time to read them all. They really changed my heart and they will change yours too. **
When I started thinking about what to write for the theme "Prepare Him Room" it took me about a half a second for "Love Languages" to enter my mind. Specifically the "quality time" love language. (If you've never read those books, please please check them out!) And then my brain went to an unfortunately sad place -
- to the fact that I think quality time is my love language because I've seen it be the hardest to come by.
I've been surrounded by addicts my whole life. All types. They've been my family, friends, clients, coworkers and myself. I've watched us choose our substance/activity over our most precious loved ones, not to mention our own health, safety, and well-being. Most of these people haven't really been the "functioning" type of addict. In other words, full blown jail time and losing jobs, children, and marriages.
Maybe you've been there too. Or you've watched it unfold. The chains of the thing that results in neglect, disloyalty, leaving, disappearing, and tons of missed time.
I feel like this is why when I take the "Love Languages" survey I always come up with "Quality Time." If someone will always choose me - over anything or anyone else - I can't imagine more obvious proof of their love. Me instead of that other thing. Whenever. Wherever. There's nothing they'd rather be doing and no one else they'd rather be with.
I've talked about this before but in case you haven't read any of that, I grew up going to church but I wasn't a Christian until 40 years old. It was just a lot of rule following and trying to be moral.
I did a Bible study called "Experiencing God" (by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude V. King) that totally changed my perception of the whole religion thing. They talk about God pursuing a relationship with us and inviting us to share what He's trying to do in the world. So in other words - it's not about showing up for church and swearing off cigarettes. And swearing off swearing.
One of the assignments in the book is to go on a date with God. I don't remember any other homework in the book but I can feel that one as if I just did it today. I sat by a stream on a beautiful day and listened to the water and talked to God. It made me realize that I never made space in my life for God. I made space for church and do-gooding and praying (so people I care about and I could get good things and also because I thought praying was what "good Christians" did) but I didn't have continuous space for God and just share my life with Him.
I imagined if my kids or husband or best friends went to a meeting about me once a week and did a bunch of nice stuff for other people and asked me for help a lot but otherwise never talked to me, listened to me, or hung out with me. We never made plans together. They might be physically with me but mentally and emotionally they were somewhere else.
I realized I didn't have an actual relationship with God and I didn't actually show I loved Him. In reality I don't know that I did love Him. I respected Him and tried to do the right thing but didn't think about loving Him.
I do know I love Him now.
Too often though I still have to be reminded how devastating it feels to be neglected for other sparkly shiny stuff. I never want to do that to God. He thought me up, designed me, created a life for me, gave me every gift that exists, and gave me Jesus. My whole life is because of Him and I want to spend it with and for Him. It's the only way to experience the fullness and best of what my life can be.
So the Advent season in Christianity is about to begin. It's about getting ready for Jesus' birth. The famous Christmas carol "Joy to the World" says "let every heart prepare Him room." My heart as a believer should already have room for Him... especially because the Bible says that I should love God with ALL my heart... but in reality I know it doesn't. Even though I'm not an eating disorder addict anymore, I'm way too dependent on stuff like people pleasing and my cell phone.
I hate that I also constantly choose plain old life stuff over God. I neglect Him in the exact ways I never want to be neglected.
Right now the following (and more) is taking up most of the room in my heart:
- I'm worried about decisions my adult kids are making.
- We're hosting the entire neighborhood for a Christmas party in a few weeks.
- I'm dreaming about some creative projects I hope will be successful. Plus deadlines.
- Bank accounts vs. all the needs and stuff and goals and wants.
- The recent presidential election still leaves me with a big yuck because it's dividing people I care about and there is so much antagonism in the air.
- Christmas lists and shopping and decorating.
I want to remember that no matter what I'm worried about, excited for, dreaming of, or feeling angst over, I still stay connected with my human loved ones and I certainly need to stay connected with God.
Neglect feels devastating. I never ever want to feel it and I don't ever want to give it.
As I said in the intro., I wrote this post to be part of a blog hop and I'm so glad I did. Writing this and thinking it through gave me the idea to make the handlettering piece in the blog title, and I'm keeping it in my planner. My wish for all of us is to find what works for you - how can you prepare and maintain room for God before, during, and after Christmas?
Room for His love.
Room for His peace.
Room for His direction instead of winging it.
Room for His values.
Room for Him to soften our hearts.
Room to serve others like He did.
Not out of obligation but because I'm pretty sure it's His love language 🙂
Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" (Mark 12: 29-30)
Be sure to read all these blogs that are part of the Prepare Him Room blog hop!
Wrapped in Grace – by DeanaLynnRogers.com
Welcoming Jesus is less about perfect preparations and more about scooching over.
Lessons from Jonah on Advent – by Faith For Her
Advent Week of Hope: A man, a fish and God's grace are more applicable to your life than you may think (and very telling of God's character).
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room – by Living for God
Pause, Reflect, Enjoy, Praise, Accept, Rejoice, Exclaim
Prepare Him Room – by Revelations of a Southern Girl
Revelations about celebrating the season with an illness.