When Doing Devotions Hurts Your Spiritual Life

Yesterday, I took a pre-work nap. That’s right. After rocketing out of bed at 5:30 a.m, I slunk back an hour later for what my great-grandfather used to call a “horizontal.” Sliding fast into the land of sleep, I apologized to God.

“Sorry for skipping the rest of my devotions, God. I’m just so tired.”

Just before I plunged below the surface of consciousness, a thought splashed across my mind. “Why can’t the rest of the day be a devotion, too?

During my thirty minute commute on the I-20, past one of the few green patches in Dallas (thanks to the nearby sewer plant), the concept of doing devotions cycled through my grey matter. What if starting a day at the office (or school, or home) was like sitting down for another type of devotions, cracking open a different leather binding and unfolding a different story, but where we should expect to find God, all the same?

Perhaps, God plans to meet us—not just as we wade through the book of Romans during breakfast—but in the verses and chapters of our day. If so, we better not end our devotions at 7 a.m.

Clocking one-on-one time with God is good thing, and it’s one of the most important habits in my life. But, when I start viewing devotions as the place where God meets me a crack spreads through my day. God time vs. me time. Spiritual time vs. secular time. The time when God acts and I watch vs. the time when I act and God watches.

As a result, sometimes I treat my devotion time like a shot of espresso. I cross my fingers and hope it gets me through the day. Other mornings, I offer my quiet time to God as if I were bartering off a chicken in exchange for his blessing.

If I’m not careful, how I think about devotions can force an imaginary wedge between me and God. I start to imagine that a space looms between us. I pretend that he isn’t always 100% with me, 100% ready to help, 100% forgiving when I fail, and 100% cheering me on to life with him.

After pulling into the empty parking lot between my office and the Cinemark Movie theater, I rested my forehead on the steering wheel. “God,” I said, “you’re already present in the rest of this day. Help me to see you in it. Then, show me how to respond.”

Originally posted at www.shannongianotti.com