RSVP with God: Outcome-Driven Quiet Times

Standard

RSVP stands for the four steps I have been using to help my spirit align with God’s purposes for my life:

  • Rejoice: Meditate on yesterday’s emotional highs and lows until you find a way to rejoice in them
  • Shalom: Repeat until you can rest in God’s peace. Over time your “set point” of how much peace you expect will increase.
  • Vision: From that place of Peace, ask God what to focus on today. As part of this, I like to read a short devotional, look up relevant Bible verses, and God for a single “theme” word for the day to prime my thinking.
  • Praise: Finish by affirming God’s sovereignty over everything that is going to happen, and thanking Him for showing up.

Motivation

Rather than focus on inputs (e.g., time spent, verses read) RSVP is a devotional practice focused on outcomes (e.g., joy and peace) incorporating best practices from both scripture and positive psychology. The goal is to effectively nurture our souls, not just train our wills or fill our minds; those may be important, but are not sufficient to spread the Kingdom of God. Just ask Saul of Tarsus…

Outcomes

<li>The specific outcomes we are focusing on are:</li>
    Joy, which leads to Self-Control
    Peace, which enables Wisdom
    Hope, which inspires Justice Harmony
    Faith, which builds Courage

In other words, we pursue spiritual virtues to build the cardinal virtues, which make us more effective at glorifying God and loving our neighbor. Which is the whole point, right?

Note: I find the term “Harmony” (cf I Thessalonians 5:23 TPT) a better translation of the Greek idea of “Justice,” as the right relation of parts to each other and the whole.

Backstory

I used to be religious about daily quiet times, perhaps due to my fundamentalist upbringing and IVCF involvement. I lost faith in such piety in my twenties, when I discovered that such outward devotion actually masked much deeper issues of sin and pain (rather than healing them). While I still spent time with God, often systematically (especially when I started this blog), I was reluctant to make it a formal commitment.

Then a couple weeks ago I was facing a bit of a crisis, and decided to try a random verse. I got back James 1:25, about not forgetting to do what I had been told. I went through my journals but couldn’t find anything. Then I had lunch with my pastor, who as usual had asked God for a word for me. This time it was: “spend regular time with Me!”

I knew this was what I needed to do, but I didn’t want to go back to the old formulas. Instead, I decided to build on the meditative practices I’ve been studying, informed by those encounters with God that have been most effective at getting me back on track.

I’ve only been doing this for a week or so, but it has already been incredibly helpful (and convicting). If you try it out, please let me know how it goes!

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