This is going to be brief, as my parents are coming for a visit and will be here before long – hurray! – but I wanted to share something I did this week, largely accidentally, that has resonated with me and might be meaningful to you, too.
This week, I had to pray about a particular request. At the time that I received the request I couldn’t devote the proper amount of attention to it, so I decided to make a reminder on my phone. “Talk to God,” I wrote, and scheduled it for the afternoon when I’d be freer to focus.
After that, I got caught up in the day, which was busier than I had planned, and which was still busy when my phone dutifully offered up its reminder: ding. Having completely forgotten I made the reminder (which ought to explain to you why I made the reminder), I assumed it was a text and picked up my phone. What greeted me on the screen was this:
Talk to God. Ignore?
It flustered me. It flustered me because I was literally right in the middle of several things, and I wanted to put off praying for another hour or so. It flustered me because it showed exactly how I treat my time with God: aside from my hour with Him in the morning and my regular study, I only really give Him the dregs of whatever time I have left after I’ve done everything else. And it flustered me because, yeah, I did sort of want to ignore it.
Here’s the thing: ignoring God is easier when it’s a passive act. When we just sort of let it slide, when we never committed to speaking with Him in any concrete way to start, there’s no moment of confrontation or decision where we must utter the truth: No, God, I’m not interested in you right now. Maybe later. Sorry. And that’s how it happens for most of us, I suspect. Life just somehow happens, and God gets pushed to the side, and we really didn’t mean it but we almost never shoulder any culpability for the choice, either.
But being presented with the choice my phone presented me – ignore? – threw the situation into starker relief. I couldn’t make myself push the button. I couldn’t bring myself to actively choose to ignore God, even though I passively do it quite frequently. The reminder I’d made forced me to recognize God in that moment as someone who also wanted my attention, and who had a claim on it, and to whom I could offer either a no or a yes.
And so I dropped everything and I prayed right then. And after that, I made the reminder on my phone a daily one. I hope to change up the times and the dates, to simply make it so that at random moments my phone is reminding me that I have a choice.
Talk to God. Ignore?
Making it hard to say no to God is going to benefit my spiritual life, I suspect. Maybe it will benefit yours, too!