It has taken me too many years to realize what a sacred place this is.
It was my ritual for so long. Wake up. Pour the coffee. Turn on music. Open my journal and Bible. And there was God.
Every. Single. Time.
Even in seasons when He felt far or silent. I could still find Him here. Sometimes it was intense – tears, intercession, loving correction. Sometimes it was silly – laughing and jokes (really, God told me jokes). Sometimes I did all the talking. Sometimes He did all the talking. Sometimes there was a lot of quiet, simply sitting.
If the morning was crazy and somehow this didn’t happen, it was ok. He was there in the afternoon or ready to keep me up way too late. It was ok.
And then it all changed. I was sitting in a class at church, taught by someone I deeply loved and respected and wanted to be like. The topic had something to do with not being content to merely coast through our spiritual existence without engaging more deeply. The teacher was encouraging things like more in-depth Bible study, doing more in prayer than just focus on our own wants, developing the discipline of fasting, etc. All good things, healthy things. But then these words were uttered:
“Just sitting there in the mornings with your coffee and your Bible isn’t good enough.”
I couldn’t tell you anything else that was said after that. My heart shattered. Years of building intimacy with God, and I had just been told what I thought I had with Him wasn’t good enough.
So I stopped. And I began to try and find different ways of connecting with God, different ways of growing spiritually. There was no shortage of spiritual leaders with their recipe: it needs to be in the morning, it needs to be the same time every day, it needs to be in the same place, it needs to be an hour, on and on. I wouldn’t say none of the approaches worked, but most of them didn’t and no matter what, they never felt natural. I couldn’t maintain any of them with any consistency. Finally, I didn’t try at all. I was so lost and confused – wanting to be close, always feeling far, trying to recapture an intimacy I had once known.
A few months ago, I heard His voice in the deep recesses of my heart say, “I miss you. I never said your way of seeking Me was not good enough.”
Talk about tears. Lots of them. And even better – hope. I decided to believe Him. To sit with Him again. Of course, there are things that are different. I have two children now, for starters. The early morning hours aren’t always an option. But He’s there whenever I come, and we sit together, friends meeting in the morning over coffee or in the afternoon over tea or in the late evening over wine. We talk, we laugh, we cry, (sometimes I yell), we are still.
And I share all this because someone needs to know – when you take a step towards God, He is not standing there telling you it wasn’t a good enough step. Your journey into His heart will not look exactly like anyone else’s. We share our stories with each other, not so we can duplicate each other’s experiences, but so we can marvel at the way He uniquely meets each of us exactly where we need to be met.
I don’t know what it is about us that wants magic formulas and precise explanations and specific checklists. But any time spent in Scripture will show you there is no formula for how God encounters our hearts. There are so many stories, and none of them are the same.
So take a deep breath and take a step towards Him again. He will be thrilled and He will be there. You’re His. Your heart is enough.