This year I have learned how awesome it is to hang out with Jesus. I am not referring to spending time praying, although that is fantastic too. I am talking about something a little bit different that I began doing after I left home for college: entering into the activities of my day with the mindset that I was doing them not only for God, but with Him.
I first did this one evening in the Spring semester when I was feeling lonely and a bit discouraged. It was one of those nights when things seem to be worse than they actually are and your thoughts can easily spiral downward. My friends were having a chick flick movie night while working through some boy troubles. They did not in any way exclude me, but I didn’t have any boys interested in me to be troubled about in the first place! I found myself beginning to bum out about this and wish for boy drama of my own to share with them.
Thankfully, God prompted me to something better. The idea of having a date night with Jesus popped into my mind. While I hesitated to use that term with the jokes from this Blimey Cow video in the back of my head, the thought of having Someone to keep me company and make me feel loved that night was comforting. I spent a lovely evening hanging out with Jesus. Maybe at this point you are picturing me sitting alone at a table talking to an imaginary Jesus across from me or something else along those lines. Not quite!
A few years ago I fell in love with this verse from the Message version of Romans 12:1-2: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering… Fix your attention on God…” That night I worked to fix my attention on God – inviting Him into each task and trying to enjoy it more thoroughly with Him. I relaxed by painting my nails and talking to Him while I was refreshed and rejuvenated in that way. I called a friend of mine to catch up with her and had a richer conversation than normal because I tried to bring the Lord into the conversation too. I went to dinner alone, but didn’t feel lonely because I knew that even though I was alone that the Lord never leaves me. He gave me strength to reject the lies like – “you don’t have any friends” or “no boys will ever like you” with which Satan tried to discourage me. As I invited Jesus into my evening, He lifted me up and filled me with life, encouragement, and His love. Instead of being lonely, that night was unforgettable and grace-filled.
I would love to say that I am this focused on Christ every day, but that is an area of my life that still needs a lot of work. Each day is a new opportunity to invite Him into every area of my life, though, and to hang out with Him as I carry out my daily tasks. Today, that looked like smiling in the face of the big pile of dishes in the sink and enjoying the time spent washing them because He was with me and I got to listen to some beautiful Kari Jobe music while I worked. It meant using the time I had while stuck in traffic to sing praise to God along with the radio.
God isn’t going anywhere. He is alive in you! (And that is the hope of bringing His glory into the world! Check out Colossians 1:24-29). So invite Him into each day and choose to live it with Him. Trust me – there is so much joy and growth when you do so!