I shared a couple weeks back about feeling cranky with my faith. Some of this stems from some things in my church that may not be to my personal preference. Most of it stems from a personal pursuit of God that was too narrow and self-focused.
It’s easy for my heart to go from discerning and deep-thinking to cynical and critical, and I was seeing evidence of this in my relationship with God. So much felt like thrill-seeking—the next conference, the next bible study, the next coffee with a mentor—that would bring the insight, depth, or change I was aching for. But God is not a spiritual crack dealer.
God is found in the simple and small—the word, prayer, and community. And so a journey to find personal liturgy began.
…And slowly crashed and burned.
Reading James K.A. Smith’s You Are What You Love was insightful, bringing words to feelings and longings I’ve held in my faith life for so long. The book is a call back to small daily practices that realign us with God’s story. It’s a call to look at our habits and what they point our hearts to and retraining our habits to point to the gospel—what we truly want to love. It’s looking for liturgy in the everyday.
Thing is, the book was on the philosophy of this more than the practice. So what do daily liturgies look like for a single girl in an evangelical church?
Honestly, I still don’t know. What I do know is this:
I operate better under structure, though I try to avoid it to keep my autonomy
Autonomy is not biblical, and that is something I’ve had to examine and accept. Having a structure to my days and weeks helps me to function better and live healthier. Having habits to look to from the outset keeps me from feeling lost or purposeless. It instead brings focus and shape.
I love my job and the flexibility it brings, but I also acknowledge that it is an opportunity to steward my time and habits well and I want to do so in a way that welcomes community. Not in a way that hordes my autonomy.
Prayer is not passive, but is, in fact, the most powerful thing we can do
Prayer was something I did in a prayer journal when I had plenty of time to write out long prayers by hand in a prayer journal. So guess what was the first thing to go out the window when life got busy?
So, yes, I still love those extended times of prayer, but I’ve also found that I want to form habits that allow me to pray without ceasing. When a friend I haven’t talked to in a while comes to mind, I pray for them. When something on the news stirs my hear to be anxious, I pray about it. When I’m at a loss, I pray.
Not all the time, but enough that this is becoming second nature, rather than just some new thing I’ll try for three days and forget about.
The church is built when the body of Christ is down on it’s knees
Yes, spiritual formation can happen in big arenas with flashy speakers. But lasting change and discipleship happens in the quiet moments alone, between the word and prayer.
I can think I know what is right for myself, or the church, or society at large, but I am so often wrong. Starting my day with prayer and time in the bible rather than the news or my email inbox brings a different rhythm to my days.
I have started reading Seeking God’s Face each morning and am grateful for the reminder of who God is and what his heart is for every morning. The book pairs a psalm and passage of scripture with prayer prompts and excerpts from various books of prayer. It also guides you through the seasons of the Christian year—something very new to this baptist girl.
This habit has been refreshing and grounding.
I’ve found that seeking to live in God’s story is not something glamorous or earth-shattering—not in the day-to-day. It’s small, it’s simple, and it’s so very necessary.
How are you seeking small and simple habits to point you back to God’s story?