Habits That Work: Worship Break
It's 1:00 in the afternoon when I drag the lawn chair out from under the umbrella on the back patio. I’ve learned to protect with necessary vigilance this scheduled break in my day—a two-hour window that opens and closes quickly. This groove worn into my days since my children were born has grown into a sacred rhythm for me, an opportunity for communion and worship, a soul pick-me-up before the day slants towards its closing.
Working from home presents an array of challenges and conveniences—even breaks must be scheduled or else the hours fill with activities. This slated pause, this habit, is my sanity-saver.
The Habit of a Scheduled Pause
To preserve and sustain this routine, I discovered long ago I’d need to avoid scheduling appointments or planning errands that would prevent me from stepping fully into this break. Daily I fight the temptation to use this time to cram four hours of work into two, as it seems there is always more work than time. A lengthy, seemingly unaffordable pause in production seems like a waste of time.
But I am not a machine. My work is intertwined with my spiritual life, and I cannot produce fruit when I am not connected to the Vine. For me, connectivity is best maintained by a habit of worship. By inviting God into the center of my spinning, I find myself tethered to Him.
The Habit of Worship
Recent stretches of moderate weather have allowed me to take this break outside, planting myself just behind the trickling birdbath, to the right of the overgrowing garden. Shifting the location of this practice has allowed for fresh observations.
Usually, I bring along a handful of books, my journal, and a few colorful pens to my sitting spots. Some days, though, my journal remains closed as I notice color, life, and texture. The steady trickle of the fountain serves as a musical accompaniment to my quiet worship. The colors of goldfinch and cardinal, hosta blooms and swollen bumblebee, prompt prayers leading me into thanksgiving for the wonders of God’s creation—for beauty that inspires art and poetry and praise. One prayer leads to another, each inspired by the one before.
The Habit of Returning
Pondering Romans 12:1 the other day, the afternoon sun warming my face, I noticed the way the birds returned repeatedly to the feeder. Their habit of constantly returning to what feeds them gave me a picture of why I embrace these times of inactivity. I, too, need to return to the One who feeds me. By offering my whole self—all of my attention—I sacrifice otherwise productive time to find a deep, profound, soul-level productivity.
I’ve learned to love this time after lunch, when I can stop striving and simply be present. I come most days laden with questions and curiosities, and occasionally weighted by burdens that must be set down. Presenting myself to God helps me release my cares and expectations and remain open to the Holy Spirit.
James says draw near to God and He will draw near to you. I feel God's presence in the habit of stillness woven into my daily life. I’ve learned that the work will wait, that meeting God in the middle of the everyday is a way to present myself to God. Through this daily habit, my very life becomes an offering, which Paul says is my spiritual worship.
This article was originally published on October 10, 2014.
Habits That Work
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering" (Rom. 12:1, MSG).
There are habits designed to bring us closer to God—church-going, praying, reading the bible, taking communion. But what about the habits of our everyday, ordinary lives? In addition to the traditional habits we naturally think of, can our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around routines become the habits of spiritual discipline, too? What are the habits in your life that serve to bring you closer to God? And, how can we recognize the presence of God in the ordinary habits of living? Join us for Habits That Work. You might be surprised by what you discover as you consider how the habits of your daily life might also help bring you closer to God.