This morning actually feels like summer, and it makes me giddy.
My corner of the world seems to be at it’s best this time of year. Everyone is just a little more free, more spontaneous and more full of the wonder of life.
Cozying up in a tent as the summer wind gently lulls you to sleep, lazy walks around the neighborhood, weekends spent at the beach, afternoons whiled away on a boat, picnics and bonfires and fireworks and watermelon all of a sudden become just a normal part of our lives for the short window of summer in the suburbs of Chicago.
It’s a time of year when we create beautiful experiences and see life in brand new ways. We mark moments, getting up early and staying up late to catch the sunrise or break out the sparklers. Chicagoians know — you don’t waste a moment of these precious summer days.
My friends would say I am a sort of extroverted, adventure crazed, energizer bunny. I never tire of being with the people I love or packing in just one more adventure. And one more. And one more. Just one more.
It makes things crazy, but it also makes my life feel full and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I rarely turn down the opportunity for one more coffee with a friend, one more wall at the climbing gym, one more forest preserve walk, one more late night ice cream cone, one more bonfire, or one more barbecue.
But, do you know what I often turn down?
One more moment to sit in the presence of my Creator and my Savior.
That’s the thing I most often turn down.
And do you know why? It’s because sometimes other stuff just seems way more fun.
Let’s be honest.
One more s’more often seems more exciting than cracking open my Bible to read another chapter, highlighting a verse or two, and whispering a quick prayer of, “Thanks God!”
But I’m starting to wonder if that is exactly what Jesus meant when He invited us to do life with Him, commune with Him, and drink in His presence.
I’m realizing that Jesus didn't want us to separate our normal life from our life with Him. And He doesn’t want us to think of time with Him as this separate task we have to complete each day.
Instead, what if Jesus actually wanted to thrill us, to give us this crazy, beautiful experience, topping anything a summer adventure could offer us?
That’s how I picture God — a fun-loving Father, who can’t wait to bring you and me on adventures and into whimsical places and onto exciting paths.
But then…we open our Bible app, skim the chapter assigned to us for the day, click the check mark, and close our drooping eyes to fall asleep.
Nothing beautiful or exciting or whimsical in that.
Just obligation, just routine, just mundane.
I’m sorry, but that’s not God.
So today, I decided to just be ME with God.
I didn’t want to try and be someone else, so I wasn’t going to connect with God in a certain way just because someone else did.
Instead, I took my Bible and sat outside in the early morning sunshine to read His word slowly, drinking in each word and dwelling on it. Looking up at the creation around me as I considered what one verse said or how it affected my life.
Don’t get me wrong.
This is not normal for me.
I’m the Bible app as I’m falling asleep girl way more often than I would like.
But today, I made the choice to EXPERIENCE God, not just learn about Him.
I didn’t want to miss one more moment of stepping into the presence of the Almighty Crafter of the Universe and Former of my Soul.
This summer, I hope you truly enter into the magic and whimsy of life.
But that’s not all.
More importantly, I pray you and I would choose to EXPERIENCE God this summer.
You might find you experience Him best when you bring your Bible to a coffee shop or to a nature preserve, have deep conversations with God while you run or bike or climb, or listen patiently for His voice will you lay in your tent or cozy up in your hammock.
Whatever you do - don't reduce your time with God to an empty, lifeless, mundane routine, causing you to dread the single most important part of your day.
Instead, enter into a dynamic, experiential relationship with God as you pray, read, journal and live in the presence of your Savior, Your Father and Your Friend.