Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Update: The Routine Relationship

My electricity JUST came back on after being off for about 36 hours.  I was living it up, Amish style.  Well, okay, so I had running water (even if it was, shall we say, less than warm).  I also had a cell phone, which I was able to charge at church this morning.  I also drove a car today.  So really, I was merely inconvenienced by the lack of electrical power.  And it almost prevented me from writing a blog today.

And it's pretty late in the evening and I've got a book I want to go read (NOT by candlelight), so this isn't going to be a long update.  Things are getting pretty crazy-go-nuts around here as I prepare for the long-awaited return to the routine, so I'm trying to read as many fun books as humanly possible before I have to pretend to be a grown up again.  I've let my discipline slide SO much this summer, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it back again.  The routine will help, but I'm annoyed with myself that I have to rely on it as much as I do.

Then I'm reminded that as a human, I was probably made to have a routine.  I really think that most humans need a routine of some sort.  It's something that is ingrained in us.  Or maybe that's just an American thing.  All I know is that routine helps me stay on track in all the little areas of my life. 

And sometimes I start thinking, does everything in life have to be a checklist?  Get up. Check. Put on clothes. Check. Brush teeth. Check. Eat food. Check. Go to work. Check.  Because really, that sort of thing helps me, but sometimes it does become monotonous.  And I know sometimes I feel guilty because I start treating my relationship with Christ as a checklist.  Get up. Check. Pray. Check. Read Bible. Check. NOW you can put on clothes and brush your teeth.  Check.

But honestly, there's two sides to that, and I don't think that it does me a bit of good to feel guilty about having Spirituality as part of the daily routine.  Because yes, it is weird to think of a relationship as a routine.  I wouldn't go up to a friend and say, "Right now is the time I have allotted today to spend with you."  If I were married, my husband would probably think it odd if I said, "Honey, I've just brushed my teeth and made the bed.  Spending time with you is the next thing to check off my list before I have to go do something else, so lets get a cup of coffee before our time is up." 

But then, I know myself well enough to know that if I don't set aside a specific time to pray and read my Bible, I'm just not going to do it.  I can SAY I'll do it later, and sometimes I will, but more often than not, I won't.  And if I miss a day, it's not a big deal, but this summer I've just let it slide too much.  I've not made a priority out of spending intentional time with God, and so my Spiritual life has been reduced to little more than a Santa Claus mentality.  I'll go about my business, saying little sentence prayers throughout the day.  "My back hurts, God.  Make it stop."  "My friend is going through something.  Help her."  "Give me strength to deal with this unruly child."  There's nothing wrong with those, and honestly, I think they're good because they're evidence that God isn't just limited to that little time I've allotted Him in my routine.  But it's also not very deep.

Maybe if I were married, I'd spend little pockets of time with my hubby.  I'd call him at work just to say hi.  I'd check to see if he needed something from the grocery.  I'd just tell him "I love you" for no reason at all before going off to make dinner.  But then there would be times we would set aside for deep, meaningful conversation and affection.  I'm not married, but I have a feeling that's how life would be.  That's how most relationships seem to go.  There are short conversations, brief interactions, little jokes and lighthearted moments.  Then there are deeper moments that require greater attention.

And I guess that's what I need to really start making time for.  I need to set aside those times for meaningful conversation and reflection with the Lord.  I need this time because I need Him.  All those little Santa Claus prayers are okay sometimes, but they're skirting the main issue of my heart.  I can ask God for things, but what prayer is really meant to do is align my heart with His.  When it comes down to it, I don't need more things or more answered prayers.  I need Him.  And if I don't intentionally make time for deep prayer, it's not going to happen.  If I don't take meaningful time to look into His Word, then I'm not going to read it.  So, while I don't really like the idea of checking time with God off my list, I think it's something I'm going to have to do.  I know that from experience.

I also know from experience that when I do make that time for God, He does remarkable things with that time.  And even if I'm checking time with God off a list, it's still something I greatly enjoy.  It's still something He uses to change me.  And there are also going to be unexpected moments that I didn't plan for--like looking up and seeing a sunset that takes my breath away.  Those little times of praise and wonder are so precious, and they aren't part of any routine.

Did I say this wasn't going to be long?  Oh.  I guess I was wrong.  Wouldn't be the first time.  Or the last.

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