I lasted on the workout regimen I promised to do with my sister for three days. Not even consecutive. For a couple of weeks, I kept thinking I’d get back on track, and during that time, I started thinking more about disciplines and habits. If I’m attempting to exercise daily, why am I not putting even more effort into spending quality, undisturbed time with God each day? I try to dwell with God in my comings and goings, but I am still sporadic about reading the Bible in the morning, orienting myself to God to start each day.
My efforts to eat more produce and less processed sugar have gone better than exercise; I think about that quite a bit and have recently read a couple of books on nutrition. What if God were on my mind the way food is each day? What if Jesus were as readily part of my conversation as delicious food, simply because I’m excited about who he is and what he’s doing?
I grew up in a church that emphasized evangelism, encouraging us to talk with one and all about Jesus. I think in response to that culture (which isn’t inherently bad), I have pulled back from talking about God, not wanting to seem fake or forceful. But God is a huge part of my life—it seems more fake to compartmentalize and exclude him from my relationships with others. It’s not possible to make everyone around me happy, and that shouldn’t be my goal. I don’t have to fear owning that part of my life as I get to know others. I can be fully myself—Jesus and all—while still being respectful and loving to people around me. They, too, can be fully themselves, and I hope we can grapple with our thoughts, beliefs, and lives together to all learn and grow, as well as just being normal friends who hang out and have fun.
In a recent conversation with a new but dear friend, God and prayer came up tentatively, as if it might not be an acceptable topic—as if our relationships with God might be too private to discuss. Instead, it broke the ice, and it was so neat to discuss how God is guiding us in the dating world, how we relate to God, and what he’s doing in our lives. I think the more of my life Jesus inhabits, the more he’ll be part of my conversations.
“For in him we live and move and have our being,” Paul wrote in Acts 17:28. I long for God to be a part of more and more of my life.
I recently read the book Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey, and her love for Jesus makes me want to know him better, which is so cool. It makes me want to orient my life more around the person of Jesus, rather than habits that can occupy my mind: work, laundry, meals, yard work (These things are inevitable; I want to remember to let him be a part of these things in my life.). I want him to permeate my days; I want to walk more closely with this friend who is love, joy, refreshment, and understanding.
In a guest sermon at Mars Hill Bible Church in 2009, Don Davis spoke about knowing who you are if you know Jesus’ story because his story is yours, too. You can be anyone at all, and “the story will give you dignity and clear purpose,” he preached.
“Let’s display the glory of the story,” Davis said. “… Let’s study it; let’s think about it; let’s pray it. … Let us mumble it when we’re sick and shout it when we’re healthy. Let this story guide all our worship, all our prayer, all our meditation, all our spiritual formation.”