A few years ago, we sat with a younger couple over dessert — listening to their lives, learning them.
Fifteen years and six kids separated us (they had none). Our bedside book stack held books about raising teens and finding God in pain. We were tired from early morning baby cries and late-night conversations with big kids. Our friends were fiery-eyed with vision for our community, overflowing with dreams for their future.
They had ideas and passion, and I had to look at my planner to remember what the next day held.
But one question they asked brought everything together:
Why is it that so many couples we see decades ahead of us have become complacent in their faith? It feels like they grew stale.
What they saw ahead, we saw in our peers. We’d been asking the same question to ourselves. Friends with a once-unwavering passion for God were now tired. Bibles collected dust. Church was a social event, the preaching an opportunity for theological scrutiny and one-upmanship.
But we didn’t look at these friends as “those people over there.” We felt the sobriety of this potential in our own lives.
In our honest admission… it felt more natural to task than to pray. To worship.
With six kids and a big broad vision for family, we could slide into the idealism of principals and lose the fire of love for God.
Though I’m not tech-savvy, scrolling is natural. Accessible. Picking up my phone was easier than digging for what drove me to escape (God).
Twenty years of adulting included so many stories of disappointment. And this disappointment — unexamined and buried — so often leads to distance from God.
As our young friends’ question knocked around in my mind (for years since), I’ve learned something:
Life is made up of middle minutes.
Mowing the lawn.
Changing the sheets and renewing our drivers’ license.
Sorting through produce at the grocery store.
Yet when we said “yes” to Jesus, so many of us had our eyes on the great exploits of Daniel 11:32. We thought “yes” to Jesus meant a wildly-alive life in God… until real life happens. Cleaning bathrooms and filing taxes and navigating conflict with our spouse or our parents. We close our Bible after morning quiet time and replace a flat tire an hour later. Missions trips have 350+ days between them. (And even foreign missionaries will tell you that their everyday includes just as much, if not more, mundanity as it does “sharing the Gospel”.)
Perhaps 20 percent (or much less) of our life includes outwardly obvious exploits for God, but there are thousands of these minutes in between.
And they are minutes during which we receive the same invitation from God:
Will you meet with Me, right here?
Could it be that in our 20’s and 30’s and 40’s, and on… our lives in God get formed over these minutes?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing.” Our grandmothers crochet this and hang it on walls. We moderns may have it hand-lettered and hung in our office.
But the act of praying… all the time… requires us first to want to talk to God.
This is where adoration brings life.
Adoration is the nexus of the grit of my life and God’s Word and His whisper. Adoration is where I come to Him, from within a minute in my life that stretches me or causes me anxiety or makes me want to escape to my phone, and I bring Him those emotions, and I let His Word intersect with my own heart and mind.
It looked like this for me, this week:
A child writhed, struggling with the natural teenage tension — wanting freedom yet still hungry for dependence. In their wrestle, they lashed out at me. My heart hurt for this child. My heart hurt for me.
I became like a teenager in my insides: wanting to be heard, desperate to be seen, alongside a mix of anger and sadness. I rehearsed the conversation in my mind, reaching for how to say what I felt better… how to make my point heard louder. My inner dialogue, coupled with fears I let in about my relationship with this child and even their future, sent my mind roiling.
I stepped away to a quiet room in my house.
I brought my ache to God. (This is key. The Psalmists gave us a grid for how they brought their real emotion to God, as they adored.) I told Him how I felt. It took minutes to unravel the initial, more obvious thoughts and, then, discover what lay underneath them. It wasn’t just this moment that had made me ache. Fear draped like a wet blanket over any clear thinking I might have.
I told God how I felt. I invited Him into my internal dialogue.
I opened the Word. After disrobing my heart before God, I realized my driver: fear. I had fears about this child’s future, our relationship, my motherhood, and on and on. These helped me know where to start in His Word. I needed to find God as the one who fielded my fear. I remembered Psalm 18.
David calls God in Psalm 18, “my rock,” “my deliverer,” and “my fortress.”
This was enough for me. If I was honest, I didn’t believe God was steady enough for this circumstance, wasn’t sure He could deliver either my child or me from our failure — and certainly didn’t find Him safe from my inner accusations or my child’s unfettered thoughts about me, in their pain.
So, I adored from this place.
This was my prayer:
God, I feel helpless. I feel like I’m failing, and I’m afraid of the future for this child and our relationship. This conversation has me spinning in fear.
Your Word tells me You are my rock. I have a hard time believing this, but Your Word says it’s true; thus, I adore. God, I adore You as my rock. You steady me because You are steady. You don’t move.
Your Word says You are my deliverer and my fortress. I feel unnoticed, even by You. I wonder if You could or even would deliver me. Deep down inside, I wonder if You would care enough to be my fortress. But Your Word tells me otherwise. God, I adore You as the one who cares enough to deliver me. You want to deliver me from this very moment. You want to lift me above it, while giving me the safety of knowing what to do in it. You shield us – both my child and me – in Your safe fortress.
There were more words than this, but you get the gist.
For adoration to impact the recesses of my heart, I have to bring those recesses to God. And in order for my thinking to shift, I have to acknowledge the dissonance between what my fear tells me and what His Word actually says.
And as I pray, unfurled before Him and vulnerable enough to receive what He might say in His Word… my heart shifts.
This is adoration.
It’s changing me, minute-by-minute.
And so I might say to this young couple today, as they look ahead, desirous to stay wildly alive in God as they grow in age: give Him your middle minutes. The ones that seem insignificant and the ones you rush past.
We learn to fall in love with God over a lifetime, one minute at a time.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Sara Hagerty, author of Adore.
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God is steady enough for this circumstance. Right here. Right now. He’s in it with you. What are you fearful about? What is holding you back from your passionate love for Jesus? Take Him with you in your middle minutes! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily