I’m not a highly disciplined person. I wake up later then my alarm every day (and hit the snooze a couple times), I don’t eat particularly well and I HATE working out. When I was a kid, if I didn’t do well at a sport I’d quit. I’ve tried several times not to bite my nails, but yet I keep doing it.
Routines and habits are hard things to break. Harder then breaking bad habits, I find setting good habits even more difficult. I must confess that keeping a “devotional time” has been a struggle since I was a teenager. I found out about devotionals or (“devos” as they call them when you talking to someone under 21) by accident when I worked at a day camp when I was 17. I started to follow Christ (a long story) when I was 16 and with very little church or Christian background I just kind of stumbled along in my new mysterious faith. I was at a training week for our camp and when my friend and co-counselor started sharing with me that he was struggling to read his Bible every morning. He asked me what I do. He used that “devo” word. I didn’t know what he meant. He then started to give me what felt like a very long explanation as to why this was VERY important. I told him I just kind of read the Bible when I felt like it. To me the Bible was a guide, a window into the life and teachings of people who struggled to find meaning and purpose in their lives and found it in God. I wanted to be like these people, so I read about them. To my friend the Bible was more then this, it was something almost magical like an spring of eternal youth that changed him anew every morning. To just read it when I felt like it was not a satisfactory answer.
I feel that sometimes we’ve robbed the beauty of the Bible. How incredible is that God speaks to us in a way anyone of us can hear… in story. I’m not saying the Bible’s made up or a myth, but I do think we see it as so instructional that we miss the plot, the characters, the settings of such great tales of such an Epic God. To think we’d reduce this down to basically a Holy Textbook is sad to me.
Getting back to my lack of good habits, I’ve learned in my years since that conversation that discipline is good. I often need to do things I don’t feel like doing because in the end they’re good for me. I need to get up early and meet with God. This discipline isn’t meant to suck the life out of us, it’s meant to give us life. It may not be easy but it’s worth it because God has something amazing for us in store for us, an Epic life. To do your “devo” every morning is not the point; its about a longing to connect with such an awesome and personal God. Following Jesus is the ultimate story, and the most interesting characters are the one’s willing to do what ever it takes to move the story forward. To pray or study or whatever every morning isn’t the point, but it does take a habit often to move us beyond ourselves to the grander reality. I pray God will release us of our sense of burden with our relationship with Him and find the joy in meeting him daily on the adventure.