“Come sit next to me.” That’s what I would say to my teenaged and adult children when they needed to calm down and just talk through something with me. It’s what I would say when they were so overwhelmed by a situation or their emotions were reeling out of control. I knew that if I could get them to sit still and talk to me for a few minutes, things will be more clear or decisions wouldn’t be so hard.
Just as I would watch my children go through the process of reaching emotional breakdown, I can see God watching us during the times we move further and further from His will, calling for us to ‘come sit with Him for a while’.
Or the times when we are so flustered with the pressures of life (or just the day!), I can see Him saying, “come here and sit with me…let’s talk”.
But just like children, there are times that we rebel and move in the opposite direction. Anyone who has raised a teenager or young adult (or been one!) knows that sometimes they just won’t ‘come and sit next to you’ for that much needed chat. As parents, when that moment arrives, we know it’s time for lessons learned the hard way with some ‘consequential parenting’.
It’s the same for us when we fail to come sit at His table and let Him feed our souls with His sustaining word. We forge ahead in our own wisdom and often get tangled up in the consequences of our own sin.
Consequences and Responses
Here are a few responses we are capable of when we refuse to come and sit with Him for guidance and instead experience a little ‘consequential parenting’:
- Why aren’t You fixing this for me God?
- God doesn’t care about me.
- I don’t deserve this!
There are more, but the bottom line is that when we’re not in intimate fellowship God, our decisions and responses are not fueled by Him, but instead are fueled by a personal sense of entitlement, pride, greed or selfish desire.
Sitting with God, feeding on His word, and seeking His wisdom and guidance is not a formula for a pain free, challenge free life. It is, however, how we are nourished with His courage, strength and perseverance to keep moving forward as His will is carried out in our lives.
Only when we are sitting at the table with God and being fed daily by His word can we respond to difficult situations in the Spirit. Spirit filled responses like:
- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22)
- strength and power (Isaiah 40:29)
- courage (Deuteronomy 31:6)
- power, love and self discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
Even when we don’t first seek His nourishment for our journey and forge ahead with our own plans and decisions, He’s there waiting when the consequences of our choices come crashing down around us. He’ll nourish us and strengthen us as we work through the consequences, drawing closer to God in the process.
I’m reminded back to the times when my teenage and young adult children would finally come seek my help or advice after doing it their own way didn’t quite work out for them. Knee deep in the consequences of their choices, the conversations usually began with ‘Mom, I need to tell you something’ and were followed by apologies and need for grace (confession and repentance). Then and only then could we begin the process of getting out of the consequential situation and get back on the right path forward (surrender and victory).
With God, time at the table with Him when we’re experiencing the consequences of our own choices looks similar to those conversations with my children.
- First – Confession and Repentance
- Recognizing that the choices made were against the will of God and voicing our regret for not honoring Him in those choices.
- Then – Surrender and Victory
- Letting go of our own will so we can be filled with His will and find our way forward with His promise of victory in His fulfilled will.
Pull the Chair Up Close
Transparent, real and raw conversations like this are powerful and at the same time – intimidating. It’s in these moments we truly have to decide if we’re going to move in and sit really close to God or pull away – keeping some distance to avoid the pain of being transparent.
One of my favorite places to sit and visit with God is my patio. I go there most mornings and sit at a table that has a chair for me and an empty chair in the space across from me. I like the visual of Him sitting there, waiting to feed my soul.
One evening, I had moved that chair up close to me so I could prop my feet on it while reading and in my hurry to get back inside as a storm approached, I didn’t move it back where it belongs.
The next morning, I sat and started my quiet time as normal. I closed my eyes to begin a guided scripture meditation on living in the wisdom of God. At one point, while looking down in prayer, I briefly opened my eyes and was startled and reminded how close the chair was to me.
In that moment I was intensely aware of how intimately close God is to me. Not a conversation across the table but knee-to-knee, face-to-face.
When my growing children needed to come to me when the conversation about the consequences of their choices included some pain or shame, a hug was always required. Not just words of wisdom but a comforting hug after a knee-to-knee, face-to-face conversation.
Jesus is here, hand extended, ready to walk us to the table. Let’s grab His hand, pull the chair close, and lean in. Let God speak intimately into our heart and our lives today.
CONVERSATIONS AT HIS TABLE
Use these questions to chat with God. Let Him bring you into a closer relationship with Him.
- What situations or circumstances are you working through right now that might need a little extra time spent sitting with God today?
- What plans are you making that need His guidance?
- What chaos or emotional anxiety could use a little more of His soul nourishing conversations?
This is an excerpt from Tami’s book “Feeding a Hungry Soul – Conversations at a Table for Two”
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