A daily schedule built around God, rather than the other way round
In her new book, Londoner Jemma Regis gives her inspirational testimony of how she developed intimacy with God during a time of real heartbreak and struggle.
Following the Lord's prompting, she learned how to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, spend time alone with God, and listen to his voice. She details this journey in her book, giving insight into the practical and spiritual steps she took in order to develop her relationship with God.
"On a day to day basis in the business of life I make time for God, by placing Him first and doing my best to put everything else second," she writes, although she admits it has been a struggle and a daily recommitment to put Jesus at the centre.
"There are so many things in life that place a strain on the time we desire to spend with God, but I think I get it now, I think I understand," she says.
"When Jesus withdrew to solitary places with God, He did it alone and He did it frequently. Aside from those times we see Him carrying out His role in fulltime ministry, always talking to the Father and always at work, but during those solitary times alone with God I have to believe He spoke few words, He listened attentively and He rested much."
By making sure we spend time alone in God's presence, listening to his still, small voice, Jemma believes we are empowered to be better ambassadors for Christ, and are able to live our lives more fully. The peace and fulfilment she has found through making space for God to reveal himself has led her to find a passion for encouraging others to do the same, regardless of their spiritual journey or situation in life.
She believes we need to learn to rest, to enjoy being still in God's presence, and cites fasting as a way in which she began to experiment with discipline. She took part in the 'Daniel fast', a 21-day programme of abstaining from eating meat or fish, dairy products, sweeteners and leavened bread, among other foods.
"To go from struggling to connect with God to now making Him a priority meant that my daily schedule worked around Him instead of the other way around," Jemma writes.
"I knew I had to install new habits and this was the best way to start."
Through establishing structures that allowed her to set apart specific times for God, Jemma found that her attitude was transformed, as well as her heart and her ability to hear from him. The connection with God she found available meant she was able to encounter him in a fresh way, and she encourages her readers to seek intimacy with him too.
"One thing I've learnt about being alone with God, is that when He speaks He can say the simplest of things, possibly something you already know. But when He speaks, it opens up something inside you that illuminates your entire being, cleansing the darkest of places," she notes.
"Being away from my undisturbed solitary place with Father has been challenging for all the right reasons. It is there I see the dramatic changes of my lifestyle. It is there I see the depth of His work within.
"It is there I choose to hold my head high and walk in God's truth because I've never been as free as I've been this past year".
God's Romantic Getaway is available to purchase now from Mia Publishing.