July 12, 2012 by agirlikemee
I’m taking you girls on a trip with me. So, in that crazy imagination of yours pack your sun glasses, your sunscreen, your camera, maybe even a good magazine ( lets face it… we like magazines), and a good pair of shoes, and let’s head south to explore a beautiful place called Argentina. It’s hot in Argentina. Busy in the streets, markets filled with hostile customers, cars honking… the business and chaos goes about the day… just like every day. People needing to be somewhere, running here, driving there, businesses needing to be run…. So you think, “Argentina is not too different from us.” There’s this perfect little store we walked by with amazing dresses and jewelry and we just need to get back there to take a look around. We arrive at the door and there’s a “closed sign” hanging there. What?? It’s 12 o’clock!! Then you begin to look around and you notice all the businesses have closed. Everyone is leaving and going somewhere. But where? You can’t believe what you’re seeing. You’re a good paying customer and these people are missing out on your business. How frustrating. You decide to investigate. As you’re walking around the quiet streets you stop a lady to ask when the stores will reopen. She goes on to tell you that it is maté maté time. The stores will not open again until 5 because of their siesta and their much cherished maté time. In the warmer months all business shuts down around noon. Everyone goes home to their families for lunch. Which is then followed by a two hour siesta time.. than about 4 o’clock its maté maté time. What the heck is maté you ask?? Yerba maté is a beverage made from the leaves and stems of a powerful rainforest tree found in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The people of these countries carry this tea around like we carry coffee. It is special to them and very much desired. So much so that they take out time from their busy schedules to sit around a table together and drink it. It is then that Yerba maté reveals its talent: connecting people and allowing two people to talk, to enjoy a simple moment. It’s a time where you can sit across the table from a friend face to face and discuss anything. Share your hearts, laugh, cry… just commune together. And while that is taking place the yerba maté tea is known to be energizing, relaxing, and clearing all at the same time. Whether at the beach, on the road, on a camping trip, in a motel, at work or at home, when it is maté time in Argentina, everything else can wait. It is a sacred tradition and valued for a joyful life.
I have a very good friend who introduced me to this tradition. She had first mentioned it when I asked her why she had a tea cup always sitting at the same place by her couch. She went on to explain that it’s for her maté maté time with Jesus. This got me thinking. First thinking about how she was so spiritual and really has her life together, and I don’t because I rarely read my Bible and rarely spend time with the Lord. Thinking that God must really love her, probably more than me, because she actually sets aside time with Him. Battling with the thoughts that I’m not a good Christian because I’m not like her and God must really be disappointed in me for not spending quality time with Him. All this guilt, and jealousy, and shame filling me up with lies… but deep down I could feel this little bloom making its way through the nasty lies. This bloom of desire. I wanted mate mate time with Jesus! It sounded so special, so joyful, so fulfilling. I could see that my friend really treasured that time and looked forward to it. I guess I never really looked at it as so beautiful and exciting! I had a choice… wallow in my shame and guilt and allow it to keep me from making a change, or change my thinking and make it more of a thing to look forward to than to dread. But how?
Through reading a lot of your emails my heart was really led to write about this because I have found that we just don’t spend time with God like we should. A lot of what you are feeling right now… the pain, the confusion, the questions, the anger, the hurt, the abandonment, the sadness… all stems from spending no time with Jesus! Now hear me out… You can spend time with the Lord and yet still feel these things… but God can and will heal your heart more than Heather and I can. Or anything else for that matter. Even more than Yerba Maté tea… Jesus is energizing, renewing, clearing, and healing. When we are overwhelmed by this world (as I so often am) why are we not running to His Word and prayer instead of running back to the world–television, friends, shopping, coffee dates, etc?? We have come to look at time with Jesus as something to add to our checklist, a burden, a homework assignment and an interruption in our daily lives. We dread it and frankly would just rather shut our brains off and watch TV. It’s easier, it takes our mind off of the crap going on in our own lives. We don’t have to take the energy to change our hearts, change our thinking, be told what we’re doing wrong… and then wake up the next morning with the same `ol feelings of anxiety and pain. Don’t we want to be changed?? Are we so apathetic that we would rather stay where we are at spiritually because we just don’t feel like reading the Bible and because we just don’t have the time? Sure we do. Sure I do! I felt like this a lot and still do on occasion…. but I asked myself what needed to change in my time with God to make me want to run to Him!?
So here’s what my maté maté time looks like. I am a mother of two little kids, a wife to a band member who is on the road often, a friend who wants to keep in touch with her friends, a daughter, a sister…. there is just not enough time in the day to do all the things that I would like to do. It just doesn’t happen. For me my maté time with Jesus has to happen at 6am. It is the only time that I can be still and sit face to face with Jesus and not be interrupted by a screaming child. I don’t want to wake up at 6… but i try. I walk downstairs and put on the kettle. I make myself a cup of good coffee. (passionate coffee drinker right here). I light some candles, sometimes put on some Bethel worship music- sometimes Patty Griffin. I have just created an atmosphere that is quiet and filled with things I love. We are human after all… God created us to love beauty and our atmosphere can affect our mood. This year I decided to read through the Bible. So I open my Bible to where I left off and I read asking God along the way to speak to my heart. Sometimes He does and other times I don’t feel anything but I am open to learning, open to conviction and open to His presence. I journal what I read and write my thoughts and my struggles. I pray and I am filled with a fulfillment that nothing else can do. It’s special, its maté maté time… It’s my time to sit face to face with the maker of the universe and spill my heart, read His heart and just allow myself to feel at all. This doesn’t make me a better Christian and this no longer becomes something that I have to do in order to be a good girl. It’s something that I want and something that I absolutely need. And I fail. I don’t do it every morning like I would wish, I can get distracted at times, I am tired at times and let the pillow get the best of me… but I know that the time exists for my taking. And I can come to the Father as a failure. I can just sit and listen. I can sit and just scribble in my journal. I can sit and just pray. I can sit and just cry. (it’s been done) But this has helped me to look forward to my time with Jesus. It’s sacred and is not meant to get in the way of our lives… but to give us life. So let me ask you in the midst of your chaotic lives… how much time do you spend with God? And if its just a thing you may get to if you’re lucky or you just don’t have any desire for it… than how can you make your time with Jesus unique from everyone else? How can you make it a time where you enjoy the words that are living and have power? Do you realize that its sitting face to face with someone who desperately loves you and wants to speak to your heart? It’s relational, its beautiful and romantic. It doesn’t have to be the same time every day… but I encourage you to set that time before the day begins… make it a priority… make it sacred and desired…. and discipline yourself. No more excuses. I’m talking to myself here too. I have been slacking a lot lately and I want to press in more. Hosea 10:12- ” Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your unplowed ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
In the midst of busy lives, downward spirals, and messed up thoughts… remember this- The Lord is kind. He wants to speak tenderly to you and wants to share with you words of life that will comfort, unscramble thoughts, heal, restore, fill with joy, give peace and pick you up off the muddy ground when you fall over and over again. He is here to forgive you, pick you up, and walk with you as you take one step at a time. You can either choose to step without Him or step with Him today. And I assure you that when we step with Him there is a much fuller life. I need to get my butt in gear and have more maté maté time with Him who loves me most. Like Yerba Maté..The Word of God can reveal one of its talents… A super natural talent… connecting people, and allowing two people to talk (you and Jesus), to enjoy a simple moment.