I sincerely enjoy one to one, face-to-face meetings. They allow for heartfelt conversation and sharing with openheartedness. Maybe it’s gathering around the table for a meal, as simple as coffee shared around the table, or taking a walk together. It is not so much the location of the meeting as the intentionality of the conversation that gives value to the time. Intentional conversation not only requires speaking with authenticity, it requires good listening skills.
When I agree to meet with another person face to face, I have purposed to set aside all distractions and give the person my undivided attention. The results are always worthwhile. Undistracted, face-to-face time is an opportunity to truly listen to another, to truly be heard.
Any relationship can definitely benefit from the intentionality of face-to-face time, but none more than our relationship with God. What would our time with God look like if we purposed to meet Him, face-to-face, to pursue Him with purpose and intentionality? Taking time to be still and to listen, as well as a time for God to hear from us regarding those things that really matter to Him.
“What really matters” in this world depends on one’s perspective and one’s values.
How often do we consider what it is that really matters to God?
If you were to have asked me if I was interested in the things of God, I would have absolutely answered, “yes.” Even though I was interested in what was important to Him, I probably would not have been able to say with absolute certainty that I knew what was important to Him. Living in the world of distractions, I miss the indicators of what really matters to Him. I wonder how many opportunities have slipped through my hands to receive a blessing, to notice a miracle, or to reach out in His love just because I neglected to be aware of His presence and activity or to make the effort to know what truly matters to Him.
Paul, writing, to the believers in Philippi says,“For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” (Philippians 1:10)
This verse indicates there is a benefit to us to understand what really matters.
Could it be that face-to-face time with God, bathed in intentionality, is an opportunity for us to know God’s heart?
I remember praying many years ago, when I was going through a difficult time in my life, “God please speak loud enough to get my attention, but soft enough that I must get close to you to hear what you have to say to me.” Think how intimate a whisper is compared to the normal, audible voice. The mere action of leaning in speaks of intentionality.
What would happen if I began to lean in to God, to position myself to hear from Him with the purpose of connecting with His heart? To be intentional enough to discover the things of God that truly matter to Him.
I do not believe God intends for us to live our lives being self-absorbed. I believe He created us with intentionality; for us to live an intentional life for His purpose. To know His purpose, is to KNOW Him; to KNOW Him is to KNOW what is important to Him; to KNOW His heart.
Where do you begin? How about starting with intentionality? Maybe it begins with setting aside distractions for just 10 minutes each day, to become comfortable in solitude. It takes discipline on our part to position ourselves to know God’s heart. Be willing to create some space – some margin – in the midst of your busyness in which God can reveal the unexpected work of His Spirit.
From solitude with Himself, God leads us into a community of people who are also learning how to live and proclaim the good news in their lives. This community of people begins to work together to join God shoulder to shoulder in his work in the world … to proclaim the good news and share His hope, His mercy, His love.
Face-to- face time with God equips us and positions us to know His heart and the things that matter to Him; heart to heart. When we are aware of the things that matter to Him, we are able to partner shoulder to shoulder with Him more effectively.
Written by Diane Stermer
Diane recently returned from a six-week sabbatical. These are more of her thoughts from her extended face-to-face time with God.