The cat won’t leave me alone.  No matter where I go in the house she follows me.  Actually she sticks closer to me than the word “follow” would imply; she is on me, constantly touching me, brushing up against my ankles, treading under my feet.  She is “Vel” and I am “cro” stuck together.

It’s driving me crazy!!!

I get that she greets me when I walk in the door, or when I wake up in the morning.  She misses me, and I suppose some would see that as cute.  I’m sorry, but to me it is simply annoying.  Say your “hello’s” and move on!

No such luck.  She won’t let me have the alone time, the “Gary Time” that I crave.

The previous rant was a journal entry from a couple weeks ago when Beth and the kids were away on vacation while I stayed in Tampa for work, relishing alone time at the house.  It was a solitude retreat that I prepared for by setting specific goals for my time with God – reading certain books, meditating on specific passages of Scripture, bathing specific concerns in prayer.  I also established healthy parameters in order to limit distractions that would detract from the sacredness of the one-on-one time with God – no television, avoiding the snooze button, getting to bed at a reasonable time, etc…

My ultimate goal: experience God’s Presence 24/7 by turning my house and life into a temple.

But, when the house was empty I found myself treating God like the cat.

Here’s what I mean: I can tell that God really enjoys our time together.  Not that God is lonely, but He really, really longs to spend time with me.  It is amazing to think about the depth of His desire to spend time with me.  BUT… I am embarrassed to admit that were times when God’s nearness bugged me.

For example, late at night I wanted to turn on the television and indulge myself in mindless activity.  It was an irresistible Siren wooing me off course.  I succumbed and began thumbing through the channels on cable, fidgety and anxious, wanting time to myself – Gary Time – without God.  I rationalized my feelings by patting myself on the back for the hours I did devote to God that day.  It was like I was playing, “Let’s Make a Deal” with God – I spent 3 hours with you, God, in exchange for letting me do my own thing for a while.

As I slumped selfishly in front of the alluring television god, I sensed God still there – following me.  And “following” is really an understatement.  God was all around me, living within me – even closer than a cat brushing up against my leg or circling under my feet.

It’s painful to admit, but when I say that I want time all by myself I am implying that I don’t want time with God, or at least not a focused, intentional time spent in God’s Presence.  As much as I sometimes do crave God’s Presence – and I often do – I confess that I still like Gary Time that indulges my mind in godless pursuits.

God, forgive me for the minutes, hours, and seasons that I treat you like a relentlessly loving cat – pushing you away from my thoughts, sliding you out of the way of the direction that I want to walk, closing you off in a specified room of my house.  I love that I love time spent with You, and I repent of those times when I love being left to my selfish whims and unhealthy cravings.

I’ll wrap up this post by saying that our cat has long, white fur.  I noticed something during the week I had the house to myself: when I left the house, cat hair clung to my pants.  I noticed it when sitting at my desk at the office, while driving, when sharing a cup of coffee.  My time at home with a cat carried with it residual effects everywhere else I went.

Intentional time devoted to God will have a similar residual impact on the rest of my life.