It’s Friday night. To celebrate Chelsea’s birthday, a group of people get together, go out to dinner then return to her apartment. And then it happens. The Wii is brought out, the new game inserted, and the Just Dance party ensues (Just Dance is a video game in which you have to match the moves performed on screen by dancing with the remote).
That was my Friday night, and, as the birthday girl pointed out, surely there is a blog post in there somewhere. Initially I thought about how Just Dance is a game that brings people together, both through performing and laughing at the performers. Spiritual disciplines have a similar effect with us and God – creating a space for greater intimacy.
And so, I had planned on making an analogy between Just Dance and spiritual disciplines, as strange as that might seem. But, then, laying on my bed yesterday, a thought struck me – we can’t play Just Dance all the time, so does that mean we cannot enjoy and delight in one another all the time? By analogy, we don’t practice the spiritual disciplines all the time, so does that mean we can’t experience God’s presence all the time?
At the end of that night, I left the gathering, no Wiimote in hand, the dancing over. That point of connection had ended. My mentality is so similar when it comes to God. I spend devotional time with him, that’s his time. I go to church on Sunday morning, that’s his time. I try to offer up various prayers throughout the day, that’s his time. But what about the time in between “his time”?
When I’m not doing something to bring myself closer to God, I often feel distant from God. Yet this is entirely backwards. It demonstrates my sinful bent to always want to do and my refusal to rest in his presence. Perhaps its because as long as I’m doing, I have some semblance of control, but when I’m not doing, it’s entirely up to him. In the times that I don’t dedicate to him, he gets to do entirely what he wants.
We live in a control culture. We want greater control over our lives, our weight, our money – just see the number of self-help books in a bookstore. And this bleeds into our Christianity; we feel that if we can put together a long enough string of consecutive days with quiet times, then God will have to respond. If we can offer up enough prayers to God in a day, we can force him to move.
But God isn’t a genie in a bottle, or a force manipulated by some magic formula. He is God, and all time, regardless of whether we allot it to him or not, is his time. As we realize we live in God’s time, and not he in ours, things change. This is the great hope of the Christian story – to be caught up into God’s time completely, as we will fully be in eternity.
So can I still be connected to my friends even when we aren’t experiencing the bonds brought about by laughing and playing the Wii? Absolutely. Is God present even in the times that I’m not consciously praying or reading my Bible or fasting? Absolutely.
May we realize this year that we live in God’s time, not the other way around, and respond in worship to that reality.