THIS STRUGGLE IS REAL (This is The Voice...I hate)
Yesterday in church, my pastor Dave Larmour shared a great teaching the importance of reading the Bible every day. He would have had no clue that I had planned and written this post the afternoon before as a "Welcome to my life" journal SPECIFICALLY on the day to day grind of reading the Bible every day. I am a husband, father, pastor of sorts and leader.
And I struggle with the guilt of missing "devotions".
This is what some of my mornings start like. (Please note: The regular text symbolizes the narrator. The bold un-italiced is me.)
The morning begins…
…Chris wakes up to the sound of the heater three floors below gently humming, his wife breathing beside him and his son’s musical picture frame playing a song by Caedmon’s Call...
…without a clock beside him, Chris reaches for his trusty iPhone to learn the time. Noticing he has a few moments before his kids arise to officially ruin his slumber, he opens his phone and presses the Instagram app. The voice says:
“Oh…so of course you open up Instagram before your Bible. You didn’t even thank God for your morning before checking in to see who took what selfie again. You don’t love God, you know. You’re a fraud.”
Chris pauses. Chris thinks. He keeps on looking at pictures. The voice continues.
“I bet you none of your colleagues or heroes start their days like this. They’ve all woken up super early to ‘spend time with Jesus’. And look at you; tired because you watched Netflix all night cause you couldn’t sleep. Should have been praying. But nope. You’re empty. And you’re a fraud.”
...Chris looks at a picture on Instagram of a person who has posted a Bible verse in hip font and picture. Chris feels guilty. Three pictures later, a family doing devotions together meets his gaze. Chris looks at Wifey. She is still asleep. Chris imagines trying family devotions and grimasses as he remembers the last time he tried it and Liam ripped pages out of his Bible. More guilt. The voice chimes in:
“If you were a better leader in your home instead of being lazy with everything, your family would be like that family, you know…always loving Jesus….but nope. You suck. You’re a fraud.”
Chris tries to ignore the voice by going on Twitter, where Bible verses flood his timeline, shared by those he follows. Some have used phone apps while others have shared verses out of their early readings. The voice mocks:
“Look at that…not one from Amos. Or Haggai. And not one from you. What are you waiting for? You should have been up doing this. You wake up to put the garbage out. You wake up for work. Or to clean. But you can’t do 1 hour with Jesus. Because 15 mins won’t cut it. You suck. You’re a fraud.”
Chris then opens up the YouVersion app on his phone to try to start his day right. The voice:
“Oh so NOW you read! When you see better leaders read, then you think ‘Yup, time to connect with God. Wow. If you loved him, you would have started reading before you even woke up!”
What? That makes no sense.
“Shut up. You’re a fraud. You don’t love God. You love him because you see others do it. Admit it. You suck. You’re a fraud. And you’re reading the word LYING DOWN. Yup…like liar. See what I did there? Hahahaha. If you loved him, you would have done this already.”
Chris sits up confused. On one hand the voice gets on him for not reading and on the other, the voice gets on him for not reading “with the right intentions. Saddened by this internal manipulation, he rises to start his day while wondering…
“Am I the only one this happens to? I probably am…cause no one talks about it…”
Now this is a composite sketch of some (translation: a lot) of my morning. The struggle to get started in Jesus. Feeling bad about not waking up with the word because you went to the gym, or laid in bed longer than you should have...the guilt. Is this something you struggle with? How do you get over it? If you're a leader, how do you keep honest when you're good and even more when it's not clicking?