Matters of the Heart – Part 3: Slave to Routines
I missed it, y’all. I missed it, big time.
Since March 2020, there has only been a few nights when I missed my 11:30 pm-12:30 am date with God. It’s in my calendar “Time with God”. The minute that 15 mins before alert goes off, I begin shutting down what I am doing to ensure I am on-time to spend time with Him. And you know what, I absolutely loved it. Sometimes I would go into those moments feeling downtrodden and come out feeling empowered because you know what? I got a word from my Father that spoke directly to what I was feeling or the situation I was experiencing.
My time with Him, had a classic agenda (note my use of the word “agenda” – I approached this thing like a meeting). I would:
- Listen some music or worship to usher in His presence.
- Say hi and then ask for His insight before opening my Bible App.
- Open my Bible app, watch the Story of the Day and then read whatever plans I am currently subscribed to, making notes as I progressed, based on anything that stood out to me.
- Write a journal entry of what I felt God was saying to me or the thing that was sitting on my heart.
- Pray. (I spoke, He listened).
- Listen to Him. (He spoke, I listened and asked questions).
- End. Rinse and repeat the following night.
For a while, this approach worked. As someone coming from a place where the only thing I did before was do a quick read of my Bible and then, maybe pray, I needed to develop the habit of spending time with God. I needed the routine. However, slowly, overtime, without me noticing I became a slave to that routine. I was no longer in an intimate obedient encounter with my Father. I had slowly exchanged one list of routine check-boxes for another set of newer, more improved ones that limited God’s ability to speak to and direct me. My Father no longer had unrestricted access to my heart.
A proof of this was in the fact that it took Him 4 tries for me to listen when He pointed out that I had fallen into the trap of routine with Him. I had to hear it from a friend. I then had to hear it in a sermon (and again in a weekly dig into the sermon). Then I had to hear it from Him when I fell asleep at after 10:00 pm and woke panicked at 12:53 am, because I thought I had messed up my perfect reading record. Get that! My panic and remorse was not because I had missed my date with God. It was because I thought I had messed up a perfect daily Bible reading record. Somebody please pray for me 🤷.
When my panic settled (aka me opening the app to realized that I hadn’t missed a day, as I thought), I heard Him say quite clearly: “You missed it. You desire the routine more than Me.” When He said it, I almost missed it again until my mind did a quick U-Turn and went “woah”. I started doing a retrospective analysis of my behavior, over the last month or so, and acknowledged the following:
- I am currently working my way through reading the Bible in 365 days (twice!). I would never dream of missing a day because it would mess up my perfect record of reading daily. Slowly, my desire to read for each day outweighed my desire to sit and be still and just listen for when God speaks to me.
- I had begun watching the clock. At 12:30 am, (or one hour into the “meeting”), as long as I am finished with #1, I wrap up, quickly. It is almost like I was in a meeting I couldn’t wait to be finished with, sometimes because I was extremely tired.
- I no longer felt like I was hearing God’s voice clearly during that time. Sure, when I read my Bible, I got messages and directions but I now rarely heard Him speaking directly to me in our 1-1s. This was weird because I had started these dates with the desire to hear directly from Him.
- The nights when He broke up the routine became the ones where my heart was rend the most. Even in those moments, I am ashamed to say that I generally diverted Him back to the routine instead of giving Him the time and space to do what He was doing. I sacrificed His time to speak for the routine of the activities I had planned to do in that time “together”.
Confession is good for the soul, right?! The truth is becoming a slave to the routine of spirituality meant that I had slowly reduced God’s role to almost nothing in what was supposed to be our conversation time together. We no longer had conversations. I can just imagine Him sitting there uncomfortably looking at me chatting away (praying) and ignoring/missing His attempts to get a word in because I was so focused on sticking to the plan He had initially given me but which I had taken Him out of. Rude, right?!😞 It’s in moments like these, I become thankful that God is such a perfect gentleman. If He was like me, I would have butt in and probably told me off a long time ago.
The Point? I assure you there is one… 🙂
It is possible to do “spiritual routine activities” without the presence of God. Don’t become such a slave to the routine that you miss when God is no longer there. In trying to stick to the plan He gave you, don’t unintentionally remove God from the equation. If God is not in it, what’s the use? Don’t become married to your spiritual routines.
Without a doubt, God has proven that He has never been one for never-ending routines. He likes to disrupt, break or shake things up. He likes to turn up upside down in order to get us right-side up. He likes to do things differently. He likes to change His methods. Therefore, our time with Him cannot be the same process throughout our entire relationship with Him. He doesn’t operate that way!
The way we converse and interact with Him in one season might not be the way He wants us to do it in another season. For example, in one season Moses spoke to God (doing the regular routine thing). In another season, he climbed a mountain to go speak with God and get commands from Him. And in another season he spoke to God, face-to-face (Check this! He didn’t need any tools – bible or otherwise – to progress the conversation). Moses demonstrated that he valued his relationship with God more than his spiritual routines. He adapt to the methods and plans God called him to and was sensitive enough to God’s voice to recognize when a change was required.
So whom do you value more: God or your spiritual routines?
In the paraphrased words of Pastor Tim Ross (see sermon below): It is time to upset the spiritual routines of your world.
Thank you for stopping by. Have you ever become a slave to your spiritual routines that resulted in you removing God from the plan that He gave to you? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments section, below. 🙂
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favour and give you peace” – Numbers 6: 23-26
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I am a dynamic young lady who loves the Lord and seek to have a joy that no one can take away. My all-time favourite thing to do is gaining discoveries by design from My Father during our time each day. Reading, learning and trying new things falls behind in a close second place. My dream is to use my God-given talents to positively impact as many people as possible. As a proud Wolmerian, with a zest for life, I adhere to the “Age Quod Agis” motto in that whatsoever I do, I always do it to the best of my ability.
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