Want a passionate relationship with God? Arrange your life for it. Meet with the Word daily. Journal. Pray. Actively love others. Give. Serve.
Do these things every day, but don't expect the things themselves to be (at all times) a passionate encounter with God. Often, these practices are actually quite ordinary, and even uneventful!
When we do the thing for a little while, but feel the same, we lose heart and quit. We expected the thing we're doing to be the answer. We don’t see the change we wanted as fast as we wanted it.
But those practices aren't the answer, they're the invitation.
Daily disciplines are not intimacy; they're an invitation on our part for God to make holy space in our lives. It's in that space that he speaks and we respond. That's when we see change. That's where the magic happens.
Think of these practices like family dinner. We meet with the ones we love as often as we can to eat and talk. Not because every meal is groundbreaking, but because it's through simple, everyday choices that we communicate our love for one another without agenda. Being together is the point.
If we expect family dinner to be like a Norman Rockwell painting every night, we're going to get discouraged. The meal isn't always nutritious. The conversation isn't always on point. Sometimes it's amazing, but it can also be frustrating or strained. Sometimes we just want to be doing other things. The point is that we stop, we eat, and in the act we send a clear message, "You are my tribe. My most important ones. Even when it's boring, I want to be here with you."
Family dinner is a bedrock. It's essential. We do it so we can know one another; it makes us close, even when it doesn't feel exciting. That kind of living makes room for intimacy to expand.
Intimacy leads to spontaneous fits of giggles at inside jokes and unexpected trips out to the country to stargaze. It's what compels my husband to grab me up for a kiss in the middle of a tense conversation.
I want that kind of life, and those moments don't come pre-planned.
I don't just want dinner together every night. I want spontaneous fire. I want steady commitment that fosters good, deep, unforeseen experiences we don't get anywhere else but with each other.
So experiment with prayer, reading, giving, and serving. Keep doing the thing day in and out, but look beyond these practices to find God in every moment you’re awake. Mysteriously, he will clear out the clutter, clarify your vision, and form you into someone who looks, acts, and thinks like him. You'll start to see how he sees, and it will blow your mind.
Keep an attitude of invitation. Stay awake and open. Ask God to come take a walk with you every once in awhile; don't expect him to do all the inviting.
Live this way and you’ll get so much more than a 30 minute, hit-or-miss appointment with God.
He’ll show up in ways you expect and in ways you don’t. We don’t get to control what God does. That’s what makes it such a thrill.