Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What does it look like?

Have you ever seen the film 'Catch me if you can'? There's a wonderful part in it where it's explained that the people trained to look for counterfeit money aren't trained by being shown example after example of what's wrong - they're trained to know what a true note looks like by studying the genuine article. Now I'm not even going to try pretending I'm the first person to bring this analogy to us and God - but it works non the less. We're never going to find out what God says by looking at ourselves - we have to look to Him. 

This is something my church has been recently challenged to do - through various prophetic pictures and bible verses we have been reminded that we should be seeking God wholeheartedly and not have our focus elsewhere. Coincidentally (if you believe in such a thing when God is involved) this is also the focus of our ladies group this term - we're looking at Mary and Martha and spending quality time with God.

Which leads me to the title of this blog - what does it look like? What is seeking God wholeheartedly? What does spending time with God look like, feel like? How can we create space where we listen to God and don't do all the talking?

I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers to this, but I would like to share something that I've been taught recently.

We had a ladies retreat day not so long ago, a fabulous day where we spent time discussing some issues in the morning, followed by some free time to spend with God in the afternoon. Lots of activities were on offer, but I ended up going to one table and staying there until it was time for cake.

The table I stuck with was a craft table, full of all sorts of beautiful things - patterned paper, brads, stamps - the works. So I sat there, in a mini heaven and crafted my heart out. I ended up crafting something around a bible verse that I'd been given that morning and it was amazing. Not the end product, that was good, but the act itself was better. I was spending time with God, quiet in His presence, open to what He was saying and loving every second of it.

You see, I love crafty things, I have a box full of the stuff and home and I never have the time to use it. Because I'm also a useful person, a helpful person, a person that gets annoyed by things and ends up volunteering to do stuff so they won't annoy her any longer. I've ended up prioritising 'doing' work, 'doing church' and even, although I hate to admit it, 'doing' God. And in doing all that - I think I've kicked out one of the things God has created me to be.

Not everyone is designed the same way, I know not everyone would relish the idea of spending time cutting and sticking bits of paper together. But I think everyone has something that makes them tick, somewhere they feel free and some way they can have space to be and listen to God. It could be cycling, taking a bath, writing music, exploring the countryside, reading, gardening, baking - whatever it is, I'd like to challenge you not to push that part to the sidelines of your life. It might not be something you initially label as 'useful' but it could end up being what spending time with God looks like for you.

P.S. This post is dedicated to a wonderful person who's favourite question is 'What does it look like?' They'll know who it is as they've told me this several times in the last few weeks!

Your comments and thoughts would be gratefully received :)


  1. Yes! I love it. I love that people (like you!) are working out what 'sitting at Jesus' feet' means for them. Seriously exciting - because when we find that place that we can be with Him - stuff happens! We hear, we experience, we change, we respond. Amazing.

    That 'person' hit the nail on the head - 'what does it look like?' - we need to be asking ourselves this often. We can read, listen, discuss things from a wider perspective - but we always need to narrow it down and ask 'what does it look like?' in our nation, town, community, church, family, and to us as individuals.

    Working out how we engage best with God is key. It wont look the same for everyone as you say - in fact - I would go so far as to say it can be stifling if we try to narrow it down to fit in with how we perceive everyone else engages best.

    For me? I am currently experimenting - butat the moment it's reading, listening to music, having relevant conversations, and thinking it all over whilst driving or walking or even shopping!! Craft? Well, yeah, I can see that working too (although - of course - no one mentions the fact that I might actually have a craft box - what will that do to my image?!!)

    Just to tease things out a bit (you did invite comments!) - I love the Catch me if you can analogy and actually hadn't come across it before.
    I agree - looking to HIM is how we find out what He says, and thinks, and feels. But ... can that also come from looking at others? Is there value in seeing God in others and learning about Him that way also? We are created to be in relationship - in the image of the Trinitarian God (obviously also in relationship) - so I think we can also hear from God in our relationships. Of course - this means that not only should we be prepared to hear from God in the lives of others - but we should be prepared to live, love and speak in such a way that others can hear and learn from God through us too. Pressure?!!

    Well, you know, I could talk about this for ever because it excites me so much. I love it when people are proactive - and demonstrate an honest desire to spend time in the presence of God - sit at his feet (however that looks!!) and learn from him. Yes!!

    1. Comments really are always welcome :)
      I'd say yes there definitely is value in being part of a Christian community but I'm not sure you'll get to the depth of Christian maturity if you are only looking at others/spending time with others and not spending time communicating with God as an individual as well. Considering Jesus as an example, he both spent time with others and also went off to talk to God by himself.
      Mind you, that ups the pressure for your later comment about people being able to learn from God through the way we're living - thank goodness for grace!

    2. Absolutely ... both are important. And if Jesus needed to draw away and spend time with God - how much more do we?!

  2. Hey Hannah, liking your blog, saw Jo's tweet and came on over. I too ahve not heard the catch me if you can analogy but may well pinch that one and file it away for future use...!
    Look forward to reading more :)

    1. Hi Red, nice to hear from you - I've also taken a sneaky peak at your blogs :) Clearly the catch me if you can analogy is underused - I looked for it on youtube and was surprised not to find a clip of it.
      Looking forward to reading more of your stuff too,
      Hannah :-)