When I was a kid, I was taught to have a daily quiet time with God. It had two benefits. One, I read scripture, so what I was reading was independent of my day, my fears, my priorities. It had a leveling effect. Other things were important, besides what I was freaking out about. Two, I was talking to God. BSing God seemed an inherently terrible idea. I moved it sideways, so that BSing me was not a good idea, had zero or worse return on time invested.
I still work to keep that appointment.
I have added other people for appointments: wife and first love, Jill. Partners in business, students, faculty, extended family, CPA, all require time and conversation.
But every once in a while, I need to remind myself to make an appointment with me.
I noticed something when Jill and I were newlyweds. I was working/serving at a church and I noticed that if I told people and staff that I had a lunch with Jill, they were happy to keep talking and taking my time for another fifteen minutes. Or more.
My time with my wife was no one else’s priority.
It had to be mine.
I started telling everyone that “I have an appointment” and they would let me walk out the door, to be on time for my time with my wife!
It is the same for time with me. If I tell people I have an appointment, they nod and defer. I If I say it is a bike ride, or mowing with earphones, or reading National Geographic, or sitting in my office and without any noise or distractions — thinking. They blow right by that and keep talking.
So I say I have an appointment.
And occasionally, those turn into appointments with God, to come back full circle to my quiet times as a kid in college.