I have a challenge for you.
Or maybe it’s better to say that I invite you to join me in a challenge.
Lately I have been thinking about the principle of interval training and how it relates to so much more than exercise. In case you aren’t familiar with it (intervals or this mysterious thing called “exercise” 🤣 ), it’s a type of program where you bust your butt in spurts and with little breaks to recovery long enough to do it again. And again and again and again.
That’s the bare bones explanation that got me to considering what that might look like in my spiritual walk with God.
Because here is the deal. When I had Leukemia, I had no problem talking to God, pleading with God, resting in God, turning it all over to Him. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed His constant comfort and assurance that He would help me not lose hope.
I’d say the same for other drama and trauma I experience that is intense and threatens to pull me under. God and I are in non-stop communication during such periods.
But, when life is going smoothly and the seas are calm, I can go hours and hours without considering Him in any way whatsoever. I mean, I’d hate to bother Him with the minutiae of my life. I should save up my “credit” for when things hit the fan.
Actually, I tell myself that, but much of the time, the reality is that I don’t talk to him because I am self-absorbed. Thinking only of me and my tasks that need attending to.
So—back to interval training. I decided to try a thing. Here’s how it works.
I set an alarm on my phone for every hour starting at 8:00am and ending at 6:00pm. Feel free to choose your own time block.
When ever that alarm goes off, I stop what I am doing and spend 6 minutes recalibrating my heart—turning back to God. I either listen to a worship song, ask Him into my current activity, offer up gratitude, read scripture, recite scripture, send an encouraging text to someone he puts on my heart, meditate, sit in silence, step outside and breath in fresh air and appreciate His creation, read an excerpt from a book on spiritual formation, etc.
Do whatever you want, but try to give it 6 minutes.
Why 6 minutes?
In the Bible the Israelites were told to give their “first fruits”, the best of the best of their crops and animals to God. It was generally a tithe, which means 10%.
Today, giving 10% of every paycheck I receive goes back to the church. No questions asked. And that’s the bare minimum. There are occasions we double it or give extra for a season. We do this as an act of trust that by giving to God our “first fruits”, He will take care of the rest. I have about a thousand examples of how He has done this for us. We can chat about that in a future blog, maybe.
But for now, I’d like to challenge you to do the same with your time. When I start to overthink it and allow fear to tell me that I’ll never get anything done if I interrupt myself for 6 minutes every single hour of my super-busy day, I can remind myself of how my money has been stretched when I make the sacrifice.
I believe He can do that with my time if I discipline myself to offer it up to Him for 6 minutes of everyone hour. It’s kind of hilarious that I think I am sacrificing something that I only have because God gave it to me in the first place.
Think on that for a minute.
I love verses 10 and 11 in Malachi 3, the last book of the Bible in case you can’t find it. God is talking to the Israelites and accusing them of robbing Him. How? In their tithes and offerings. They were not bringing their whole tithes to Him. They were holding back.
Also, when they brought their harvest it was rotten and the animals they brought were lame, sick or missing an arm or leg. In other words, they gave the bare minimum. They were trying to work in the letter of the law but missing the whole point. The blessing.
Then, God gives them the challenge:
“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit.”
I believe that if we can do this with our time throughout our day, we will see the same blessings. I have seen this in my life as I give my money, so I know I can trust Him when I commit to putting Him first, above all that pulls on me and demands my attention and loyalty.
I want to list all the benefits that could potentially manifest themselves if we do this, but I would hate to limit what God has in store for us.
Let’s give it a shot. Let’s see if He will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing” on us.
And wouldn’t be lovely if, when our alarm goes off, we will catch ourselves already communing with God? Abiding with Him? Resting in Him? Trusting Him?
Oh Lord, let it be so. (Gotta go…it’s almost 10:00 )