How willing are you to risk being open and vulnerable in sharing the hidden parts of your internal world with another human being? With yourself? With God? How often do you keep parts of you hidden: your dreams, desires, hurts, mistakes, sins, or struggles for fear of judgment or rejection? How often do you share only parts of you, because other parts of you have a Do Not Enter sign written on them, or they are locked away, and you don't believe you have the key to unlock them?
How many times can you remember when you have shared personal, private information of yourself and encountered judgment or rejection? We live in a society that values everyone for their performance. We are evaluated, appraised, judged, and ranked every day, even sometimes by those we love. We are under constant pressure therefore to perfect our performance. We believe a perfected performance equals greater acceptance. But who we are inside, our real self, goes into hiding. Because we fear rejection and judgment, we choose not to pursue intimacy, not to expose our inner self to another.
The ramifications of this loss of intimacy are great. The greatest loss is the true, real self. What is often left is a masked self, a facade, and often this is the only self we know; we even believe it to be the real, genuine self. Close relationships with others are also difficult, if not impossible, with a false self. Failure to really know ourselves, as God created us, creates conflict within us and within every other relationship. Until we return to God’s original plan of intimacy, we cannot really know ourselves or live our lives as fully designed. We will not fulfill our destiny.
The need for intimacy with God is at the very core of your being. All your beliefs and actions flow from this intimacy. Your intimate relationship with God determines the health of your own person and every one of your relationships. God desires that through your intimacy with Him you feel loved, accepted, valued, helped, strengthened, and encouraged. He wants you to know that every detail of your life matters to Him.
I have coined “Your Sit Place with Abba God” to emphasize the necessity of setting aside time to be with Abba, Father God. Setting aside a specific time each day to give your undivided attention to God is the beginning of knowing Him intimately and understanding yourself more deeply in light of the One who made you.
If you were meeting with a friend or with your spouse to share time together or to encourage or be encouraged, you would not read a book in his or her presence. Nor, I hope, would you be texting on your phone or checking your email! The same is true in your relationship with Abba God. He desires you to come and sit with Him exclusively. He desires to listen to you as you share your heart and the stories of your life, while he expresses His care and comfort for you.
I use this phrase “sit place with God” to also call attention to the importance of establishing a place to be alone with God. Secure a quiet place: your favorite room, a favorite chair - any place where you can come quietly into God’s presence. You can also visually remember a special place you visited such as the beach, a mountain range, a waterfall, or a bench along a quiet path—returning there in your mind and welcoming God in that place.
What Happens in This “Sit Place with God?”
In your chosen place, meditate quietly, worshipping Him with your heart and giving thanks for His character, His actions, and His awesome love for you. Share your heart with Him and then listen to His heart. From this “sit place with Abba God” He will express His care for you and give you grace to do your day with Him. In this set aside time, you are present to God and He will become present to you in a real way. This is the foundation of a daily, intimate journey for a lifetime.
Our communion with God is a dialogue, not a monologue. This is not the time where you dump your problems on Him and walk away. This is not healthy for any relationship, much less your relationship with Abba God. In your “sit place with God," there is dual sharing and listening. Using a journal, write your thoughts and feelings, pause to listen to God’s voice; then write what God shares with you.
How Do I Hear from God? How Do I know it is God’s Voice?
Many books have been written on this subject and I encourage you to explore them. I want to give you something tangible to work with now and then encourage you to further your personal study.
The most important way God will speak to you is in your reading of Scripture. His Scriptures are His words to you. Often the Holy Spirit will make them jump off the page, highlight them for you, or He will bring them to your mind when you need encouragement or direction. For example, when you need encouragement He may share with you:
“Trust Me at all times, pour out your heart to Me, I am your refuge.”
— Psalm 62:8 NIV.
Maybe you need wisdom in making a decision, and He shares with you: To seek my wisdom is good. Ask Me. I will give to you generously (James 1:5 NIV).
I believe that you also can hear from your own language with God. Some may hear from a connection with nature, with music, or art; others from intellectual scholars of the past; still others may get words or pictures; and others may have dreams and visions. It is important to remember that what you hear as God’s voice must always line up with the Word of God.
So along with your "sit place with Abba God," it is essential to read the Word of God. Regular, consistent reading of the Word allows you to recognize His voice and to know His will for your life. There are many excellent devotionals and Bible reading plans. Several are mentioned at the end of this chapter. Choose the plan that best suits you. Sitting with the God of Truth, nourishing yourself with His words of truth, God will personalize the devotional or Bible reading plan that you choose to speak to your personal and relational challenges.
An Important Note
Remember that your "sit place with Abba God" can occur throughout the day. In your heart, you can still access that quiet place from which you share your thoughts and feelings with God, and you can still hear His encouraging voice, no matter what you may be doing. This ability to “sit” with God, anytime or anywhere, is one of the most precious fruits of developing your daily “sit place with God.” Come to Him expecting that you will hear His voice.
The final dimension of developing your "sit place with Abba God" is obedience—walking out whatever truth He speaks to your heart. Obedience is your response to being loved by God and receiving the words He speaks to you. John speaks straight forward to this truth: I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love (John 15:9, 10 NLT). The truth is: love is obedience - obedience is love. Knowing His true, life-giving words and obeying every word He speaks is what deepens your intimacy with God, sets you free, and opens the way for powerful influence to others.
Whatever challenges you are facing in your life right now, God wants to encourage you to go to your “sit place” where you can deepen your intimacy with Him and receive His help, encouragement, healing, hope, direction, or what you have need of in your life. He is waiting to welcome you and share time with you.
Dr. Roselene Coblentz