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Coffee and Conversation with God

July 26, 2010

Everyone has a story to tell. For Susan, the story revolves around how God has taught her to believe that the joy of the Lord is her strength. While she has faced the struggle of living through depression and other family illnesses, Susan desires to use the story of her struggle to point people toward the Source of hope. She longs for people to embrace the God who dances over them wildly with joy (Zephaniah 3:17).    Susan is a college professor and also the founder of Defiant Joy Ministries.   {Susan and I competed together on the speech and debate team at Southwest Baptist University and have recently reconnected via Facebook.   What a joy to see how God is using her to touch the lives of so many!  I know you all will be encouraged by her “My Time to Dig” post today! ~ Teri Lynne}

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My favorite singer/songwriter Sara Groves captures the beauty of listening to one another’s stories this way:  “Every heart has so much history.  It’s my favorite place to start. Sit down awhile and share your narrative with me.  I’m not afraid of who you are.”  For me, all things of importance flow from relationships and I am easily swayed by any opportunity to have conversation and coffee with a friend.  After all, life was meant to be shared over coffee, wasn’t it?!  Over the years, God has taught me much about how He desires to hear my narrative and how He definitely is not afraid of who I am.  God is by far the best listener I’ve encountered and that is why I affectionately refer to my quiet time with God as C&C:  coffee and conversation with God.

One main theme that has emerged from years of conversations with God over many cups of coffee is that my knowledge of God is useless without knowing God. Just like I learn about a friend by listening to her narrative, I learn about God by studying His story through His word as well as sitting quietly before Him.  Knowledge of God is gained through purposefully getting to know God.  I can memorize the entire Bible, know the names of God, recite the lineage of Christ, etc. but knowledge is useless without being rooted in relationship with the Living Word.  It’s not that knowledge of any kind is useless in and of itself.  My C&C time with God has caused me to reflect on what I do with the knowledge I have. In 2 Peter 1, I am encouraged to use my knowledge about God to know God.  That can be a difficult pursuit for one like me who is comfortable taking in knowledge for knowledge’s sake.  God has taught me that I need to go beyond the words on the page and look to the One who inspired the words.  After all, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

One of the ways God has taught me to put my knowledge of Him into action is by bringing my daily life with me into my C&C time. I’ve learned to abandon a pre-determined set of rules (made by others and/or me) about what should or shouldn’t be said to God during our C&C time.  In fact, thinking of it as having coffee with a friend has helped me to learn that God is relational and He wants to hear me share what’s going on in my life.  During my day, if I have a thought about something, a need arises, or a reflection about scripture emerges, among other things, I write it down on a 3×5 note card.  I then use the note cards to help guide my C&C time with God.   So many amazing insights have come from not separating my daily life from my C&C time—it’s all one in the same.  God has encouraged me to see my life as one big conversation with Him—if only it could always involve coffee!

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Thanks, Susan!  What an encouragement to see life as “one big conversation with Him.”

How do you incorporate what you receive from the Lord during your quiet time into your daily life?

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 8:15 am

    Susan, thanks so much for sharing with us today. I love your perspective on coffee and conversation with God!

  2. July 26, 2010 9:37 am

    Thanks for sharing about your C&C, Susan! I call my quiet time with God “Walk & Talk.” Weather permitting, I head out before the sun comes up and walk anywhere from 3-5 miles, spending the bulk of that time just praying aloud to the Lord. I treasure our times together first thing in the morning as He speaks to my heart and helps me prepare for the day.

  3. July 26, 2010 10:04 am

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing how your time with God works. I love the index card idea! And of course coffee and conversation are two of my favorite things!!

    • July 26, 2010 8:57 pm

      Hmmm…we’re going to have to figure out a way for us to have C&C face-to-face. Perhaps you’d like to visit the city of brotherly love (or at least one of its suburbs…)?

  4. July 26, 2010 10:49 am

    This is a great perspective. I really like your statement: “My knowledge of God is useless with knowing God.” Well said!

  5. Kristin permalink
    July 26, 2010 12:20 pm

    Susan,

    I just returned home from an amazing weekend retreat and am just now catching up on all the beautiful comments from My Time to Dig post here last Friday. But, you’ll never (seriously NEVER) guess who I met on this retreat.

    Sara Groves.

    Y’all what are the odds? I seriously just spent three days in a wifi-less canyon with the talented songwriter. And the first post I read upon re-entry is yours!

    After our conversations with God, can we please have coffee and share a conversation about our favorite musician!??!

    Seriously speechless.

    • July 26, 2010 5:18 pm

      Kristin,
      How cool is that?! I’ve met her once before in person and was impressed with how authentic she is on and off the stage. She could sound like clanging cymbals and I’d still listen to her music because she is just so brilliant at capturing the human experience.

      I own every single one of her albums as well as songs she has as a part of other collections (even the album of kid’s songs and I have no children!).

      I’m so glad you had the opportunity to meet her in person. What was the retreat about? Was Sara there to play? I sure hope you heard her sing!

      Again, how cool!
      Susan

  6. Alexis permalink
    July 26, 2010 1:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I love the idea of jotting notes on an index card and bringing them into your C&C time. I am going to use that…there are so many times I think about things I need to pray for and then when my quiet time comes I forget what my concern was.

    • July 26, 2010 8:56 pm

      Alexis,
      I must admit that the index card idea was something I adapted on the advice of a friend who taught me the value of journaling. I would often find myself sitting down to journal without remembering the dozen things I thought about during the day to journal about. Once I started carrying the index cards around, it helped me focus my thoughts and prayers on the items that were really on my mind during the moments of my day instead of just the version of them that I might remember. I often tape them in my journal and have made notes on them about things God has taught me.

      I’m so glad His work in my life through index cards can encourage you!

      Take care,
      Susan

  7. July 26, 2010 8:24 pm

    Susan ~ Awesome post! I love the phrase, “but knowledge is useless without being rooted in relationship with the Living Word.”

    It always boils down to the purpose of the cross…to reestablish man’s (and woman’s) relationship with the Living God.

    Thank you so much encouraging us all today!

    Excuse me, but I think I need to go get some coffee now. 😉

    • July 26, 2010 9:04 pm

      Stephanie,
      I so agree about it boiling down to the purpose of the cross. There’s so much about relationship with God that we miss because of our own (sometimes well intentioned) rules about life with God. I’m so glad that the cross frees us up from the law of sin and death and has breathed new life into us.

      And because Sara Groves has played a part in the discussion today (and to extend Kristin’s joy about meeting her), I thought this lyric from Sara is quite appropriate:

      “I woke up this morning and realized
      Jesus is not a portrait
      Or stained glass windows
      Or hymns
      Or all the tradition that surrounds us

      I thought it would be hard to believe in, but it’s not hard at all
      To believe I’ve sinned
      And fallen short
      Of the glory of God

      He’s not asking me to change in my joy for martyrdom
      He’s asking to take my place
      To stand in the gap that I have formed
      With His real amazing grace

      And it’s not just a sign or a sacrament
      It’s not just a metaphor for love
      The blood is real and it’s not just a symbol of our faith”

      Amen.

  8. July 27, 2010 6:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I am ashamed to admit that my “quiet time” with God is pretty short, and usually consists of “Thank you for this day and please help ______.” This has really given me a focus, and an inspiration to start connecting to my Father on a more personal level! P.S. Do you think God likes tea?

    • July 27, 2010 7:24 pm

      Robin, so many of us start just that same way … and I have often found myself back there as well. I’m so glad you have been inspired by what Susan shared!

    • July 28, 2010 2:56 pm

      Robin,
      I’m so glad to know that you were encouraged by what God has taught me about spending time with Him. I have a friend who admittedly argues that God likes tea way more than coffee! While I don’t understand why He would, I’m confident He’d enjoy T&C with you as equally as He does C&C with others! =)
      Take care,
      Susan

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