RAPID EYE MOVEMENT!
Most of us are probably familiar with REM sleep. REM is a stage of sleep that many scientists believe is the most crucial part of sleep. Yet it is only present for about 20-25% of our sleep cycles.
The most commonly recommended time required for adult sleep is 8 hours. In other words, we require 8 hours of time to reach 1½-2 hours of REM. So a normal sleep cycle includes 6-6½ hours of "non-REM" sleep!
What in the world does this have to do with time spent with God?
In America we are often oblivious to how hectic our lives are. Those from previous generations are more acutely aware of how different the world is today. Those who grew up with cell phones, computers, cable and satellite TV, etc. are so accustomed to their use that there is no conscious awareness of the pace they are living, having no former life to compare it to.
RUNNING AROUND LIKE A BUNCH OF BABOONS!
A National Geographic documentary called "Stress a Portrait of a Killer" is the story of how a scientist named Robert Sapolsky studied the effects of stress on baboons in Kenya.
After many years of study, many of the most aggressive baboons in the tribe died from TB. The more docile males who remained established a new order of much more "civilized" behavior. (Can any baboon really be called "civilized!") This new order helped their tribe to continue to survive!
After a lifetime of study, Dr. Sapolsky concluded that the stress of our culture, such as our multi-tasking lifestyles and the aggressive ethos of the business world, is literally killing us!
May I propose that spending time with God is a lot like REM sleep!
Living at the pace described above, we must ask how hard it is to have "quiet time" with God? I will be the first to confess that it is very difficult. Sure I can shut off my devices and set a time and place for an atmosphere of quiet. But how long will it take to really get quiet enough to hear from God?
I believe that, like REM sleep, the most crucial part of experiencing God requires only a fraction of the actual time it takes to get to that level.
We may need 1½-2 hours of sleep but it takes the other 6-6½ hours to reach the deeper levels of REM sleep.
Isn't it the same with God. It doesn't take that much time for God to experience a quality level of intimacy with God. It takes a lot more time to quiet ourselves enough to reach those levels!
The answer so often provided for us is to spiritually adjust to the pace. Quick pre-fabricated devotions, Bible studies and church services, watered down, adjusted and abbreviated to fit our fast-paced and lives, can never consistently bring us any quality level of intimacy with God.
Only personal, extended, quality time with God will work!
I'm like you. I just want to insert an interface into the back of my skull that will impart the Spirit of God and all that I need from Him into my mind, heart and soul - while I am simultaneously driving, drinking a coffee and eating a breakfast sandwich! But I have found it just doesn't work!
We all have work, appointments and other responsibilities. We can't study the Bible eight hours every day and do fulfill our genuine responsibilities.
How can we resolve this conflict without moving to a monastery or joining a commune?
A FEW SUGGESTIONS:
1. Take some time every day! Sometimes, the only sleep we can get is a "power nap." It isn't nearly as effective as a full night's sleep but it can definitely help! There is no excuse for consistently not getting at least some time with God every day!
We may have times of grief, crisis or temporary days where we must attend to activities or business but if it is a constant, regular practice, it is too high a price to pay!
2. Set aside longer periods of time! We set aside times and days off for vacations and "Star Wars" marathons.
Why not set aside several hours or even sometimes days, for quality time with God!
3. Turn off everything! It is really hard to get close to God when you are watching TV, answering emails and texting - all at the same time!
A quiet place does not equal quiet time. However, it does set up an atmosphere to speak to God and listen for His answers!
How can we have quality communication and intimacy in any relationship if our thoughts are drowned out by other voices or noises?
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