Hey, my friends. Welcome back to Let’s Encourage One Another.
In just a few minutes, I am going to share with you a new practice that I have been doing to notice God and sense His presence with me throughout the day, but before I do that, I want to let you know about an upcoming retreat I am hosting called Writing with God.
Upcoming Online Retreat: Writing with God
Now, if you know me, you know I love to write, I love to journal, and I love God. So using writing as a way to connect with Him is so very meaningful to me.
And if I had to guess, I think it might be a meaningful way for you to connect with Him, too.
Whether you like to free write in your journal, use journal prompts throughout your week, jot down notes as you study the Bible, or have that special fondness for a good pen and notebook, writing is something God has placed within you as a way to draw closer to Him.
It helps you think things out.
It helps you explore different possibilities.
It helps you uncover what is weighing on your heart and soul.
It gives you time and space to reflect and meditate.
In fact, if you’re like me, it is through the process of writing that you become aware of things stirring within you and can unscramble the most confusing of thoughts and feelings.
So using writing as a way to connect with God just makes sense.
It’s not just journaling.
It’s not just writing creatively.
It’s meeting God on the pages in front of us.
During the Writing with God Online Retreat, we will gather together in a sacred space to meet with God and draw closer to Him, and we’ll do so through some guided writing practices.
Together, we will:
- Create space to hear from God
- Learn to pay attention to what is going on around us and inside of us, and
- Practice slowing down and lingering instead of rushing
We will go through some teaching together and then have time to write on our own in kind of a back-and-forth pattern: teaching and writing, teaching and writing, teaching and writing.
It’s not just a writing retreat and it’s not just a typical online Christian retreat; it is bringing the two together in this really beautiful way, and it will give you some ideas and practices you can incorporate into your own spiritual rhythm.
The retreat will take place live on Thursday, May 12, from 10am to 1pm Eastern via Zoom. And it will be audio recorded for those who cannot attend live or who would like to listen to it again.
Now, I am choosing to audio record it in order to protect the sanctity of the group that meets live. I don’t know about you, but when I participate in a personal and sacred event like this, I don’t necessarily want others watching the video afterward. It feels like it was just a private moment that was getting shared with everyone. So only the teaching and training sessions will be audio recorded. I feel like that’s the best way to make the retreat available to everyone, yet still protect and safeguard those who show up live. Does that make sense?
Spiritual Practice: Good Morning, God
Okay, now on to today’s spiritual practice.
I know that many of us think about more traditional spiritual practices like Bible study, Bible reading, prayer, and service.
But what I’d like propose to you is that almost anything can be a spiritual practice—if you invite God into it.
Washing the dishes.
Doing the laundry.
Caring for your kids.
Richard Foster describes spiritual practices as both a grace and a discipline, and he notes that the purpose of spiritual practices is not to check something off your list for the day, but to encounter God Himself.
We’ll have to dive more into those ideas in another episode, but today, I want to introduce you to a spiritual practice that I have been trying to incorporate into my daily rhythm. It is something that helps me both start and end my day with God. And I call it, “Good Morning, God.”
It sounds very simple, because it is.
When I wake up in the morning, I often set two alarms: one for when I actually need to get up and one for maybe 15 minutes before that.
When that first alarm goes off, I stay in bed.
It goes against what a lot of productivity gurus tell you, doesn’t it?
But I stay in bed, laying in the quiet, slowly waking up, listening to the birds chirping outside. And when I’m ready, I say in my heart, “Good morning, God.”
By saying that to God, I am acknowledging His presence with me. You don’t say good morning to someone who isn’t there, do you? It is a reminder to me that God is there with me. And sometimes when you are starting your day, you need that reminder, don’t you?
Often, I will say a longer version of it: “Good morning, God. What are we going to do today?”
How many of you with kids, this is one of the first questions they ask you every morning? “Mom, what are we doing today?” And you run through your schedule so they know what to expect, whether it’s something they are looking forward to or something they are dreading—either way, they know what is coming.
When I ask this question of God—“What are we going to do today?”—I am voicing my desire to join Him in whatever He is doing.
Yes, I have a schedule and some plans of my own. I often run through those things in my mind before I get up. And I try to hold them with open hands in case something comes up and plans need to change. And I try to invite Him into those things, to guide me, to give me the words, to give me the energy.
But I’m also kind of asking Him, “Hey, God, what are You up to today? Can I help?” And simply by asking the question in the morning, I help keep that posture throughout the day so that if something, indeed, comes up, I’m ready and willing to serve. To jump in and help. To show someone some care or patience or compassion.
So that is how I’ve been trying to start my day. “Good morning, God. What are we going to do today?” It doesn’t always work. Sometimes my kids wake me up before the alarm goes off. Sometimes I fall back asleep. But spiritual practices don’t have to be perfect, right? I do it as often as I can.
Then at the end of the day, after I am in bed and the house is quiet, I pray, “Good night, God.” Again, this is acknowledging His presence with me, which can be super important if I am worried about something or when those fears or anxieties start racing at the end of the day. It’s acknowledging that He is watching over me and my family, and I can trust Him and rest.
Sometimes, I review my day and notice the moments when I felt His presence or had a chance to do something together with Him. Or I recall a Bible verse, a truth from Scripture, that I had read earlier that day and recite it to myself. Sometimes I thank Him for different parts of my day—ways people showed up for me or cared for me, or something that was especially beautiful or heartwarming.
And then I go to sleep.
So there you have it: “Good morning, God.” “Good night, God.” A simple practice that helps me acknowledge His presence as I wake up and as I go to sleep, and that often helps me pay more attention to Him throughout the day.
What do you think? Would this be a helpful practice for you?
If you decide to try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Remember, my name is spelled K-A-R-I.
Also, don’t forget about the Writing with God retreat coming up on May 12. You can learn more and sign up at lovedoesthat.org/writingwithGod.
Thank you so much for joining me for this bonus episode today. I hope learning about this new spiritual practice of mine helps you attune yourself to God’s presence and explore other ways you can connect with Him throughout your day.
Until next time…
SIGN UP FOR THE WRITING WITH GOD RETREAT:
We’ll gather together in a sacred space and seek God together through guided writing practices.
INTERESTED IN SPIRITUAL DIRECTION?
I’d be honored to walk with you through a difficult season and help you discover God’s presence and work in your life.