A Common Experience
We’ve all been there. Maybe even today is one of those days for you.
The crazy day. At least spiritually speaking.
Hopefully you have your regular routine and go-to “habits of grace,” your own when and where and how for seeking daily communion with God. Perhaps you’ve been at this long enough that when the alarm goes off on a normal day, you have your patterns and rhythms for how getting up and getting breakfast and getting ready all come together in relation to some short but substantive season of “getting in the Word” and prayer—to hear from God, reset your mind, refill your heart, recalibrate your perspective before diving into the day, and respond to God in prayer.
But then come those crazy days. And they seem to pop up more frequently than we’re expecting. It may be the late-night conversation, important but tiring, that has you hitting the snooze over and over the next morning. Or maybe it’s staying over with relatives, or having them squatting at your place.
Or for young parents, it’s the child (or the children) who was up during the night, or rolled out of bed way too early wanting breakfast and your attention. Or maybe it’s just this season of life, and honestly every morning seems to have its own craziness. The Enemy seems to have some new, creative scheme with each new day to keep you from finding any focused “time alone with God.”
Whatever the circumstances that throw a wrench into your routine, your crazy mornings raise the question, How should you think about, and engage in (if at all), the “spiritual disciplines”—or better yet, “the means of grace”—of Bible meditation and prayer when God’s good, but often inconvenient, sovereignty has you reeling without your routine?
1. Remember what your “habits of grace” are about to begin with.
A good place to begin is with the big picture about your morning spiritual routines. Bible meditation is not about checking boxes but communion with the risen Christ in and through his revealed word. Walking in his grace today is not dependent on you going through your full devotional routine, or any particular routine for that matter. And it is the regular pattern of communion with Christ that is vital, not extended time on one particular day.
You could read all the passages, give time to extensive journaling in meditation and prayer, work at length on memorizing Scripture, and easily move right into a day of walking in your own strength and not dying to selfish interests to anticipate and act to meet the needs of others. In fact, it is precisely the days when you feel strongest personally, and most spiritually accomplished, that you’re most prone to walk in your own strength, rather than by the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11).
2. Consider the path of love.
It is loving (to others) to regularly commune with God. There are countless good horizontal effects to having our souls established and flourishing vertically. You will be a better spouse and parent and friend and employee and child and neighbor if your soul is being routinely shaped and sustained by a real relationship with God in his word and prayer.
Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do is get away from people for a few minutes, feed our souls on God and his goodness, and come back to our families and communities re-energized for anticipating and meeting others’ needs. But at other times, the path of love is dying to our desires for personal time alone—even in such good things as Bible meditation and prayer—to give attention to the toddler who is sick or woke up early, or to prepare and serve breakfast to family from out of town, or to assist a spouse or friend who is having their own crazy morning.