A couple months ago, I snagged a coffee with a pastor from church. We talked about life, ministry, and all the normal coffee conversation chat. Part way through he asked me how my devotional life was going.
Um . . . I don't really want to tell you because you'd probably be unimpressed. BUT it's a lot better than it was.
Then he responded something like this:
Oh child (just kidding, he'd never say that).
You know Nadine, I was just talking with the staff the other day about this. We've got to stop seeing devotions as a specific set time, a certain length, a to-do, with a start and finish feeling. We've got to spend our days looking for experiences with Jesus. That takes away the stress of it.
Isn't that cool? I've been reflecting on it a lot and I've realized that experiences with Jesus sound a lot more fun and natural and all together efficient than devotional times.
It's just like friendship right? If I were to walk up to a friend and say HELLO I AM HERE NOW LET'S TALK FOR THIS TIME AND I EXPECT THIS OUT OF YOU AND MAN OH MAN HERE WE GO!
That would make me an awful friend. Friendship happens simply if I'm there. Conversation happens because we're talking, not because I say we have to talk.
K, I'm a little bit hesitant to write this but I'm also kinda not scared of people today (unusual for me, I know - and if you don't know that, you probably haven't been here for very long) so I might as well get this out while I can.
Devotions is not an instagram photo.
Lovely lettering put out for everybody is good. It's beautiful. I often get encouraged by that. But I think Jesus wasn't just speaking for the sake of speaking when He said:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.I'm not saying putting photos up is bad. Not at all.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
(Matthew 6:5-7 ESV)
I'm tempted to tweet/facebook every single verse I read because I'll read a verse and get excited and want to share.
But you saw that word right, tempted?
Fear (a sin) often stops me from putting things up on the internet. But more often, pride (a sin) prompts me to share every thing I'm hearing from God.
Sometimes I just need to take God's word for myself. Not selfishly, but in awe and gratitude of His word.
If you share, share because you love Jesus and want more of Him, not because you're hoping for a like, a retweet, or a little heart.
My relationship with Jesus doesn't have pretty font in a journal alongside my morning coffee and instagram. My relationship with Jesus is just that - a relationship.
Real relationships are filled with laughter, tears, fun, smiles, good talks, light talks, heavy chats, real moments, and sincere words.
I want a real relationship with Jesus.
Devotions maybe shouldn't be so very regimented and formal. If that style of devotions works for you (you know the 1 hour per day every day thing) then keep at 'er.
But if you're like me, and you don't love routine or regiment, maybe try this out.
Look for Jesus.
You'll find Him.
If I'm driving for 5 minutes, I chat with Him.
If I'm showering, I'm probably praying.
If I'm talking with someone about faith stuff, I'm praying in my head.
Jesus is everywhere.
Not just in my one hour long devotion - which never happen for me anyway - or in my pretty picture of my strategically well-lit Bible.
I originally wrote some extra words down here that made this post really safe, and I gave myself some human-made grace (aka the kind that has nothing to do with Jesus). But I've been doing a lot of heart checking and I remembered that Jesus was anything but safe.
I think that people posting pretty pictures every single day of their underlined Bible is wrong. I don't think they should stop reading their Bible, underlining it, learning about and from God, and even sharing what they're hearing from God (heck, my entire blog is about what I'm learning) but I think they should check their heart every time they hit 'post' in the same way I have to do the same.
So I'm taking out the apology. And I'm risking your offense. In order that, even if you don't agree, you'll have thought about something new today.
I've scheduled this post like 3 times. And then taken it down. Because I'm so scared of offending. And these words I'm adding below aren't based out of fear or pride - but are written in love for the good things that I do see happening.
There is an absolutely incredible movement called She Reads Truth, which is a community I participate in. It's a community where women are reading the Bible together, sharing what they learn together, and posting photos and stuff online. I want to add this little note because I think that that community is - the heart of it, which is getting women to read the Bible - so very incredible.
And in that community, in its leaders, and in the ladies who share posts of what God is teaching them, and shots of their journal and Bible - that's good stuff. That isn't wrong.
As long as the heart is that God be given glory and that hearts pointed to Jesus.
That's my heart in writing this post.
To point the glory back to the Lord.
Because if God isn't the goal in whatever I (and dare I say you) say, write, post, think, etc. . . . we're sinning.
So be bold.
Share all the time.
And point to Him.