Finding God in the Routine & the Slow
My senior year of college, I found a way around the university’s impractical parking lot system. A group of guys from my church rented a house blocks away from the school, and they let me park at their place, only a short walk from the building where I had most of my classes. It was about a 15 minute walk to class, and I often made the trek alone.
Well, not really alone. I remember having the sweetest conversations with God to and from my classes each day. He didn’t speak to me audibly, but his presence was there with me on those walks. I’d tell him about my day. We’d think on my plans for the future (it was my senior year of college and I’d never been anything but a student after all). Those walks were some of the most intimate times with God I’ve ever had.
When I go for walks these days, I have trouble quieting my mind enough to commune with God. In fact, I rarely have those deep encounters with God. I often wonder why those walks offered such a sweet time of fellowship.
I think part of the reason is because the walk was a big part of my routine. It happened about the same time every day, and it became so familiar, I could have told you where the cracks were in the sidewalk. My mind didn’t have much else to think about as I journeyed on this familiar path.
It was also a slow part of my day. If I was running a bit late, I could maybe shave a minute or two off of the walk, but for the most part, I could count on 15 minutes there, and 15 minutes back. This was pre-cell phones, and I’m absolutely certain that helped.
It occurs to me, all these years later, maybe these things provide the environment God desires in order to commune with us. Routine, the slow parts of our day and no cell phone. Could it be that simple? Or in a world as crazy busy as ours, that complicated? I saw a quote on social media a while back, “Stop the glorification of busy.” I felt this one to my bones. All those times we ask one another how we’re doing (barely waiting for the answer), and the answer is some variation of “it’s been busy.”
I’m setting out on a quest. I want long walks and talks with God again. I enjoy time with him each morning as I read through the Bible chronologically each year. It’s a time of learning and realizing more about the character of this God I serve. However, I want that quality of time throughout my day too. I want to find him in the routine things I do, when I’m not seated with my Bible and a cup of coffee. I want to glorify the slow parts of my day; not for the sake of glorifying slow, but because I think God makes himself readily available to us in these places.
Think of Isaac’s Rebekah making multiple trips to the community well every day. Did she have conversation with God during these times? Or Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she walked to her relative Elizabeth’s house shortly after discovering she was pregnant with the Messiah. Surely she and God had a lot to talk about as she went from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea!
Perhaps you’ll join me? Pay particular attention to the things you do every single day. Be more intentional about doing slow things. I’m excited to fill these spaces up with God, for I’m convinced we’ll find him there.