When your faith falls out of the pristine box it came in and into a wet and sloppy gut bag, it tends to change things. In particular, I’ve found that the grand columns I used to perch my spiritual standards of excellence upon have fallen, and now resemble something much more akin to a stick thrust into a pile of dirt. While my stick isn’t nearly as inspiring as the columns of old, it is surprisingly handy as a compass. This is good news, because when the landmarks you’ve used to navigate your faith crumble, it’s difficult to find direction again.
I’ve discovered that a lot of the time spiritual survival boils down to instinct and intuition. When you’re unsure about everything else, sometimes all you have is that feeling that something isn’t quite right. When I look at my faith as it exists today, I feel confident that even if I’m not in the right place, I in the place I need to be. For the first time in a long time, actually, I feel I’m right where God wants me.
Something is holding me back. As I examine the state of my spiritual life, I’ve begun to see that while I think of God on a regular basis, my communication with him has dwindled. To be honest, I can’t actually remember the last time I said a prayer. Not even like a big one, I mean just any prayer at all. Not for any real reason, mind you… I just… haven’t. There was a time not long ago when that realization would send me speeding down a shame spiral, but now I think I just… miss him. Like God and I are old friends who haven’t taken the time to catch up in a while. If I were to run into Him at the mall, I’d be all, “OMG! It’s been forever, how have you been?” And He’d be like, “Oh man, SO busy!” Then we’d chat for a minute or two and maybe go grab a pretzel at the food court.
As it stands, however, our relationship with God is a little more tricky. While I believe many of the same principles are in effect with God as it is with our friends on Earth, the fact of the matter is we rarely run into God halfway between Sears and the Jamba Juice. This means that communicating with God is a task that lies squarely on our own shoulders. So why, if I’m not riddled with guilt and I miss God, am I not talking to Him?
I think it boils down to thinking and doing. Right now, I think about God relatively frequently. But that’s it. I think the thought, and then racko-jacko in comes another thought and I’ve moved on without doing anything. (Incidentally, I’m not the most famous Paul with this problem.) What we need here, is a little behavior modification.
Currently, when I think “God”, it’s just an idea. A concept. Nothing is attached to it beyond the meaning I assign it. But when I think “I’m hungry”, that’s a different story. “I’m hungry” comes with a post-it note that says, “Eat food.” Automatically, when I think “I’m hungry” I also think “Eat food.” I would like to get to a place where when I think “God”, I automatically think “Talk to God.”
So how do I get that yellow post-it stuck to my God thought? Attaching the post-it note requires deliberate effort. It requires building a habit. History has taught me a thousand times over that I am incapable of handling habit building on my own as I tend to completely forget my intentions mere moments after declaring them. Fortunately, my wife is what you might call a “thinker” and happened to know the exact tool required to begin connecting God with talking to him: An alarm.
I’m setting an alarm on my phone to go off three times a day that just says “God.” When it goes off, I will make it my duty to pause for a few moments and say something to Him. Nothing major. No long winded lists. Maybe just a “Thank You.” Possibly a “How’s it going?”. My hope is that by keeping the lines of communication open throughout the day, I’ll be more apt to remember to attach the “Talk to God” sticky note to my thoughts throughout the day.
I’ll keep you posted, certainly, but in the mean time,when do you pray? Do you have a morning ritual? A quiet time at the end of the day? Do you pray when you think about it? How do you keep in touch with God?