Listening to Immanuel
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was speaking to a group of nuns about the secret of his success. “It’s not my intelligence,” he told the nuns “for you are far more intelligent than I am. The reason I am speaking to you is because my words have power. My words have power because every day for fifty-five years, I have spent an hour in God’s presence.”
I am learning that the most important part of my day is the time I spend in the presence of God. I know He is always with me, but I am often busy and unaware. I believe the more that I take the time to be in His presence intentionally, the more I will become like Christ. And that’s the goal, right?
Is this easy? Not always. I find it works best for me first thing in the morning. I have developed the habit, and I don’t like it when I miss, but because I have to be at work at 5am, I don’t get as much time as I would like. I get off at 9am and have the rest of day, so I know that I have time to go back and be in His presence again. After work is when it gets harder because I find so many other things to do with my time. Sometimes I wonder how I ever worked two jobs. Or how anyone who works full time or has young children at home finds the time.
We all live in seasons. And God knows what our challenges are. I would just encourage you not to use your busy schedule as an excuse. Susanna Wesley, John and Charles Wesley’s mother, raised seventeen children in a tiny home. You can imagine that she didn’t have much privacy. But Susanna found a way. She would sit in her rocking chair, throw a blanket over herself, and anyone at home knew not to bother mom…she was meeting with God. And if you don't know who John and Charles Wesley are, they were the founders of the Methodist movement. Charles Wesley also wrote more than 6,000 hymns, many of which we still sing. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing is one of them.
In the morning I try to do Immanuel Journaling. Sometimes I get off track, but for the most part, starting my day out this way has been invaluable. Several years ago, I received a book called Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel. It was a defining moment in my life as I learned a new way of having a Quiet Time. I had tried different things, and I knew I liked journaling and often talked to God on paper.
Immanuel is a name for God, and it means "God with us." This book gave me a way of bringing God's presence into my life in a way I hadn't known before. It also helped me see the value and the science behind gratitude and listening to God.
I begin with writing out what I was thankful for. It forces my mind to think about what is good in my life. Gratitude opens us up to the presence of God. Then I go through five different steps and write what I perceive God to be saying:
I can see you--example: I can see you sitting at the table with tears in your eyes
I can hear you--example: I can hear you crying softly; I can hear you thinking it will never get better
I can understand how hard this is for you--example: I can understand this is overwhelming for you, and even hard for you to trust Me right now
I am glad to be with you--example: I am so happy to be here with you and thankful you are here with Me in this hard time
I can do something about what you are going through--example: I can hold you; I can strengthen you; I can bring you relief; I can give you rest
I then read it out loud. There is a science to all of what I have been writing that I haven't explained. It would take too long. Our brains are complex. The brain has a control center with different parts and levels. Understanding these levels is helpful because the brain uses a sequence to grow itself. There is a process the brain goes through to get to healing.
A couple of days ago, I was a bit overwhelmed with all that I have to do. So as I went through Immanuel journaling (well, maybe not every step perfectly), this is how I perceived Jesus answering the last step, "All of these new things are time consuming, but I can do something about it. I will give you the gift of time." He then showed me a picture of a clock and told me it was specifically designed for me and that I would be amazed at how it worked. This step might look completely different for someone else, but I wanted to share a personal example.
I would love to hear what works for you in the comment section below. How do you spend time with God? Or if you have any questions about the science behind healing and connecting to God. If you would like to find out more about Immanuel Journaling or the book Joyful Journey, go to Life Model Works