Are you a delayed gratification person or an immediate fulfilment person? Do you like to open your presents slowly and be careful taking off the paper, trying to make sure the sticky tape doesn’t tear it, being very careful, admiring the paper, admiring the way it has been wrapped, being grateful for the person who gave it to you while you take your time getting to the inside of the gift?
Or do you like the sound of tearing paper and need to get inside as quickly as possible to see what is inside, what the person got for you so you can be as grateful as possible for the gift and the person as quickly as possible, and start using it- or admiring it- right away!
I’m a super loooooong gift opener. If I can, I like to leave a gift for ages. Even days. So I can look at it and open it at my leisure. I love having the person around to talk to while I open the gift, but it’s got to take me a long time. I love to make sure the paper is perfect, to fold it nicely, to be grateful for the time they spent selecting the paper and the card, to enjoy all of the gift. Some people put a lot of thought into the outside of a present as well as the inside, and I enjoy respecting the whole thing.
This annoys the absolute burk out of some people…!
It’s the thing I like about my relationship with God too. I suppose a word to use is savouring. Not in the chicken and spices kind of savoury, but taking a long time over something savouring. Dwelling on things together. Taking time together over everything, and over nothing.
This is particularly fascinating, because quality time is NOT one of my love languages. It’s so far from being one of my love languages that it may as well be non-existent! However, God has ALL the love languages- He did invent them after all- and so that seems to make up for the fact that normally, time is just not a thing for me.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4 (NIV)
We have been working through a puzzle together. Something that I have been dealing with and not finding the answer, trying lots of different strategies and not finding the right key.
One day, in the middle of a moment of “AAaaarrrgggghhhhhH” (You know the kind…) Father said this disturbing thing to me: “…do the things you did at first.” So I looked it up.
It comes from Revelation Chapter 2, and came with a bit of a sting.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)
This led to a serious look in the mirror of truth. I have learned that if Father says something that ‘pings’ me, then I’d better listen- and quickly- because it means there’s something really wrong in the way that I have been approaching things. Having lived on the other side of the fence- these warnings are vital. I’m not swimming in a river where the signs say “crocodiles” …! As soon as He says “Anita, the line is up ahead.” I deal with it immediately. From experience, I don’t wait.
Back to the point. In one breath, Jesus has just let me know both the solution to the problem I have been dealing with and warned me that I have been dealing with it in a manner that He doesn’t like. In fact, when I looked at my behaviour, I had definitely been doing things in the ‘sensible’ fashion. The way most people would consider a good idea, normal, typical, and ordinary. I hesitate to say it, but even some Christians possibly.
I had gone from doing things with God, to consulting God. Worst of all, I’m not sure if I can even tell you when it had changed. All I know is that I had lost my peace, and I had gone into the place of doing, and not being. I had also lost part of my connection with God. The warm and fuzzy part, the long, slow, opening presents part. The rest of it was still there, but there was an element missing.
As much as we learn new things, new tools, new behaviours, we grow in maturity, strength and depth. If we lose our intimacy with God, even a little bit, then we lose access to the most important part of Who God Is.
He wants to be relational first. Before the power, before the interventions, before anything else, He wants to love us, to be loved by us and for us to be in love together.
Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. Psalm 65:4 (NIV)
Don’t be mistaken, God will do all kinds of intervention in order to turn our hearts and eyes to Him, and then as The One Who Loves Us Best, will do everything to keep us supplied and nurtured in Him. As we grow in maturity, as in any Adult relationship, He wants too, to be desired by those He loves.