The flavor begins to melt on your tongue as you bite off a small piece.
Mmmm… It’s almost too rich, too sweet.
As you savor the morsel, you realize that your first instinct – to gobble it down all at once – would have robbed you of this delectable experience.
Have you ever eaten an extraordinary piece of chocolate?
My town has a local chocolatier, Euphoria, and the name says it all.
Perhaps your preference is Godiva. Or Ghirardelli. Or good ol’ Hershey’s Special Dark.
Maybe you prefer the creaminess of milk chocolate as it melts on your tongue. Or the almost-bitter taste of chocolate darkened with 92% cacao.
Whatever your preference, some pieces of chocolate stand on their own. One piece is almost too much.
But you’ve had the other kind of chocolate, also, right? Maybe I should have put chocolate in quotation marks. Waxy and unsatisfying. Even as a kid you could tell the difference: those pieces waited in your Halloween stash until all the good pieces had been consumed.
They must contain some chocolate. Otherwise regulations would prevent them from being marketed as such. And they can hit the spot when chocolate is needed immediately. (Hormonal woman enduring one too many toddler meltdowns for one morning, I’m lookin’ at you!)
But the lesser quality candies don’t quench the craving.
Because there isn’t enough chocolate in each piece to provide satisfaction.
So why do we eat it?
- Because it’s there.
- Because it doesn’t cost much.
- Because it takes less effort than to searching for the real thing.
But what does this have to do with getting the most out of your day?
Perhaps you wake up each morning intent to spend quality time with God. You plan to pray, complete a Bible study chapter, and look up all the verses. If you’re a word geek like me, you may even search for intricate shades of Greek and Hebrew meaning.
But too often lately, before I get deep in God’s word, I get derailed by the details of the day.
- I peek online to double-check: Is the dentist appointment at 3:00 or 4:00?
- While I’m on the other side of town for the dentist, I need to remember to return items to BiMart. I write it on my list.
- Oh, and I wanted to see if they have deck umbrellas on sale. I search online for the Bi-Mart ad.
Before I know it, I’ve peeked at my inbox, and now I’m wide-awake to the worries of the week.
Does this ever happen to you?
Time with God
You want to spend time with God — quality time and quantity time.
But life gets busy and the mind mosquitoes start swarming before you have a chance.
As you survey your emails to see what adventures await, you see several devotional blog posts.
You scan one, devour the message, and proceed to the next email.
Surely, skimming these devotions will help you feel closer to God and calm your guilt over missing quiet time with Him.
But they don’t. No matter how many you read.
But there’s no time to think about it now.
- You have to make breakfast for the littles,
- Or head off to work,
- Or compile a grocery list so you can go to the store during your teen’s piano lesson. Otherwise, it’s PB & J sandwiches for dinner (again).
You spend the rest of the day stretched for time but long to spend some with your Creator. Yes, because of the peace it’ll bring you, but also because of the guilt.
So much guilt.
You jump on Facebook when you have a spare minute, and see the wonderful stories and inspirational quotes. You may read a devotion or a blog post while you stir dinner or check on the kids.
You acknowledge this isn’t the same as dedicated alone time with God. But it feels like the next best thing, so you continue to stuff your brain with bits of spirituality and hope to come away satisfied and unashamed.
Chocolate and Spirituality
But that’s not what happens, is it? In fact, like cheap chocolate, the more spiritual blog posts you gobble down, the worse you feel.
And for the same reasons.
As with inferior chocolate, we devour devotionals — sometimes at an unhealthy rate — in an attempt to satisfy the spirituality of our souls
- Because they’re there.
- Because they don’t cost us much.
- Because it takes less effort than to search for the real thing.
But it doesn’t work.
At the end of the day, we feel bloated with information overload, rather than boosted from a rich bite of Biblical truth.
And we feel guilty.
- Guilty that we took in so much spiritual information and still don’t feel satisfied.
- Guilty that we haven’t given our best to God.
- Guilty that the more we try to engage, the less it feels like enough.
But I like inspirational posts…
Of course, spiritual blog posts and devotional pieces on social media encourage me, too. I read several blogs regularly; I even write my own blog posts to encourage others to look to God instead of the world to meet their needs.
And I love the great reminders from God’s word, and the connection with other Christians throughout the day on Facebook.
But I also know that my soul sometimes feels empty when I gorge myself on social media stories and quotes just to fill me up instead of to enhance my faith.
Get the Most Out of Your Day
So, rather than trying to gulp down gobs of time with God, how do we savor the good pieces?
First, we have to flip the script.
We’re often focused on what we want to do for the LORD. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s great!
But when it leads us to devour bits of spirituality all day long, with the hope it will at some point be enough, we miss the point.
Let’s not focus on how to give God our best (because, in this case, we often mean our most). Instead, let’s remember God also wants to give us His best.
He wants to give YOU His best.
He doesn’t want you to scarf down a smorgasbord of shallow encounters with Him, when He can satisfy you with a single piece of the real thing!
But I still don’t have time…
When you let God give you His best, it doesn’t have to take more time than you already spend.
Remember the chocolate? It takes a long time to eat a bag of inferior candies to satisfaction (or so I’ve been told).
But a delectable piece of gourmet chocolate brings satisfaction and delight in a brief few moments.
- The quality far surpasses the second-rate variety.
- We ingest it with intention instead of inhale it out of desperation.
- We slow down and savor the experience.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
How can we spend time with God so we receive His best?
Here are some possibilities:
- Sit in silence with Him. Clear your schedule for 3 minutes. (Feign a bathroom break if you have to.) Open your heart and your mind to Him saying, “Heavenly Father, help me be close to you.” Then listen in silence.
- Choose a single blog post or devotional to read (slowly, intentionally) and ask God to lead you through it to a new level of understanding or relationship with Him.
- Stopped at a traffic light or seated in a waiting room, take deep breaths and thank God for a gift He’s given you, pausing to feel His presence.
- Open your Bible to a favorite verse (or to a random page), take in a small portion of His Word, and ask Him to meet you there.
Rather than attempt a Scripture spree or overdose on devotions, trust that God wants to give you His best, and opt for one small piece that satisfies.
How can you savor connection with God when your day doesn’t go as planned?