“I want to be more aware of God all the time,” he said. “I don’t want Him to be limited to 30 minutes each morning.”
It’s funny because just the day before, I had been thinking the same thing. I was listening to the new Hillsong album on the way home from a wedding I had photographed, and this song hit me right in the feels.
Most weddings I attend feel so ceremonial, not every heartfelt. You know the type. We’ve all been to weddings or even church services that seem to be just going through the motions. They do the things because that’s just what you do, not necessarily because it’s what they want to do.
Sometimes I feel that way with God. I do things because I know I need to. But sometimes I’m so focused on getting it done that I forget it’s a spiritual act, something that’s meant to transform the heart, not just be crossed off the daily schedule.
We went exploring the other day and we were walking through an open field when he said, “I love moments like these. Just me and God.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want to engage in those fringe moments.
It’s so easy to pull my phone out of my pocket and tune out the “boring.” To preoccupy myself with something more interesting than waiting at a stoplight or walking into a store. To exclude myself from a conversation because it doesn’t involve me.
We are so quick to judge the moment. We decide that this conversation, this situation, this setting has nothing for me. So we tune it out, we disengage. We get lost in our phones.
We cut ourselves off from connection.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for multitasking. I like to use in-between moments to gather wedding ideas on Pinterest and to interact with people on social media. To catch up on reading articles or send a quick note to a friend.
But I want to get better at understanding which moments should be used for that and which ones should be spent being present in whatever is happening around me.
Even if I don’t think the moment has anything for me. Even if I think my time could be better used doing something else.
Sometimes it’s less about what we can get and more about what we can give. We get to make a moment for someone else because we choose to give something of ourselves.
It’s not for us to decide which moments are meaningful. We get to make the moment meaningful if we decide to show up, fully present, fully engaged.
Sometimes the most moving moments are the ones we least expect.
I love the account of Elijah hearing God’s voice.
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
The fire and the wind and the earthquake came. But God was in none of it.
Maybe the reason we’re not hearing from God is because we are filling our lives to the brim, with fire and the rumbling of earthquakes, with a lot of noise and hot air.
Because in the middle of the loud and the chaos, God comes in the quiet. In the stillness. In the quiet voice. And he whispers, What are you doing here?
It’s okay to sit and not do a single thing. It’s okay to pause between the fire and wind. Those quiet moments that we want to fill with more, more, more are the moments that God whispers …
Be still. Come closer. I’m here.
It’s not that we fill our time and fringe moments with things that are inherently bad. It’s that we can miss out on so much when we don’t pay attention. When our attention is divided.
When we don’t sit still for one minute and ask ourselves, What AM I doing here? What can I learn? What can I give? What does God want to speak to me in this moment?
I want to start seeing those fringe moments not as an opportunity to pull out my phone, but as chance to talk to God. To say thank you. To make someone’s day. To learn from someone else’s conversation. To study people. To connect with people. To look at the beauty of this earth. To be more aware of what’s going on around me.