For me, it’s important to keep the perspective that my relationship with God is just that: a relationship. As soon as it turns into “should’s” or “ought’s,” I’m dead in the water! It begins to turn into a “religion” where I try to please in fear of what will happen. When that happens, I’m more than dead in the water; I’m floating to the top.
In small group from our church, we were talking about “devotions.” They asked me how I did it. Embarrassed, I had to confess I don’t do it the “right” way, the way I “should” do it, the way I have been taught was best. I’ve never been a “morning person” and with cancer, I’m not good I’m a night person anymore. God and I say “good morning” and I (in words or spirit) thank Him that I have another day. I tell him I want to spend it however he desires, as an offering to him. That’s it.
It reminds me of when Roger goes to play basketball ridiculously early in the morning. I’m half (or all the way) asleep, but he plants a kiss and tells me where he is going so if I wake later, I’m not disoriented. We don’t have to have a long talk (with me half asleep, that usually doesn’t go well). It’s just a connection that we can get away with because of the whole of our relationship.
There are times when we have longer together, catching up on our day and to-do items. Those are great, usually. Sometimes they end up in longer, decision-making conversations (code for arguments/reconciliation), but that’s all a part of relationship. We need to know we are headed in the same direction, sharing values. That takes some working out.
And then there is date night — pure fun. That’s what I call my extended time with God. I try to be aware of atmosphere — reading my Bible on the porch at Panera’s alongside a lake or just making sure we’re alone and away from my desk. I usually don’t have a time constraint or now it’s at least an hour. I take my time reading, thinking, reflecting, praying, writing – whatever comes. I inhale our relationship deeply, and exhale the crud in my life. Usually I’m surprised when it is over, just like I am with Roger or a favorite friend and time is up. I get lost in the moment, being present with someone I love and who loves me.
And then, back to reality, little pecks in the morning. I feel it’s what keeps our relationship fresh. There is no routine, no ought to’s. I feel it’s never enough, and I can’t wait to do it again. I can’t help but think it’s a vision of heaven — eternal date night, intimacy with God. As much as I love it here, there is a part of me that can hardly wait.
How do you keep your relationship with God fresh? Believe me, I’ve got nothing against regular times in the morning if you can do it, I’d love to hear how! Where are you reading right now? What is the Lord saying to you?