One of my favorite writer/speakers, Bo Stern, came to my church for a women’s event last month. She challenged us to daily ask God five questions. I have paraphrased them here:
- “What is my primary purpose today? What do You want me to do?
- “What things on my to-do list today might transcend heaven and earth? What would they be excited about in heaven?
- “What do You need from me today?
- How can I “run hard at Jesus” today?
- What was my gift of Yes today? What was my scary, beautiful Yes today?
Since then I have come up with a Daily Plan that incorporates these questions into my day. And it has been life changing. It has allowed me to feel okay about putting a conversation with God before anything, and devotions and journaling ahead of my chores for the day.
I’ve long heard that having “quiet time” with the Lord before anything else sets the tone for the day. But I was notorious for choosing the snooze button over devotions, trying mostly unsuccessfully to have a quiet time with the Lord while out for a run, and then feeling like I needed to get all the things on my to-do list done before I sat down to spend time with Him. Except my to-do list seemed to get larger not smaller during the day and God kept getting pushed further down the list. I didn’t mean for it to be like that. And I felt sad, longing for time with Him, but I just couldn’t figure out how to manage it. I justified it by telling myself that if I could just get all the things on my list checked off then I could give my full self and full attention to God. Except I didn’t. Not often anyway. And it showed. I complained that I wasn’t really hearing from Him. But who could wonder why? I was squeezing Him in when it was convenient for me and expecting Him to answer my endless questions and prayers within that rushed timeframe so I could get on to the next thing. I was treating Him more like I was a doctor with a patient waiting in the next room than a woman trying to have a relationship with God.
Putting Him at the top of my list has been successful. Building these questions into my daily plan has given me permission, if you will, to take the time to talk to Him and wait for an answer. He mostly gives me one word answers at this point. I am still a work in progress after all, so I’m okay with that. And I still find myself questioning Him, “Did You really say what you needed from me today was for me to wait? You know how painful that is for me right?!? I really rather hoped you’d tell me to do X,Y, and Z and jump in with both feet. I’m ready for that Lord. Really, I am. (sigh and a smile) But if You are asking me to wait, I will wait.” Asking God what He wants me to do, and what He needs from me, allows for new priorities in my life. And at the end of the day question number five allows me to reflect and find the (sometimes scary, sometimes exciting, sometimes sweet) yes.
I do print out the paper and write it each day. I know there is probably a way to do this on my computer or even a similar app for that. But for me, there is something about connecting my pen to the paper that also connects me to the plan. And it is working. I am saying yes to God more and more. I am doing what He asks me to do daily. I am asking Him what He needs from me each day. And I am judging my success by that. Not by the number of checks on my list (although I do look at those too) but by how much I was able to do what He asked of me.
You can try my Daily Plan too