It is so easy to tune out of the world. To be so entrenched in our routines we mindlessly go through the motions, missing the many opportunities that are present to find daily delight in the Lord.
Here are three ways for you to do so throughout the day that will enrich your relationship with God.
“Tune in” to your morning commute
By now, many workplaces have returned to working onsite completely, or in complement with working remotely. As a result, many Australians have, or are in the process of, reintroducing a workday commute into their schedules.
How familiar is this scenario to you? It’s 7.15 am. You’re reluctantly making your way to the car (or public transport), perhaps with a coffee in hand, dreading the impending 45-minute commute to work. If the traffic’s terrible, it’ll be an hour. To make the trip less monotonous, you eagerly search for something to listen to – music, an audiobook, or a favourite podcast – so you can tune out from the drive.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with listening to something on the way to or from work, this is a missed opportunity to find wonder in God’s creation and praise him. The majesty of God has frequently been revealed and praised in the Bible through the beauty and wonder of his creation. Psalms 104:24-25 poetically declares, “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small”.
Find wonder in God’s creation and praise him.
We should be looking to nature to see God, and praising him for the stunning work he has made. It doesn’t matter whether it is as vast and awe-inspiring as the stars above, or as small (but no less beautiful) as the patch of vibrant agapanthus you pass by on your way to work. God is visible in all things.
When we tune out of the world, the flora and fauna we pass by will barely register in our brains beyond “part of the landscape”. But suppose we were to switch off the audio and consciously focus our attention on what surrounds us. The smallest detail then becomes a proclamation of the majesty and divinity of God.
You can also strengthen your relationship with the Lord through repurposing your commute to focus on prayer for the day to come. Take the time to consider what lies ahead – the tasks to accomplish, meaningful conversations, people who may need prayer – and pray about it. God delights in us drawing near through prayer, and depending on him to strengthen us and give us peace.
The apostle Paul writes as much in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Have an attitude of gratitude
Another excellent opportunity to delight in God throughout our day is by carving five to 10 minutes out of our schedule to sit and reflect on our surroundings and pray with gratitude for our blessings.
For example, when was the last time you looked at your phone or laptop and thanked God that he blessed humanity with the intelligence and innovation to create this technology, which has transformed how we work and communicate? Or that you are lucky enough to own a smartphone or laptop when many around the world don’t?
Moreover, in light of this past year of lockdowns and travel bans, the ability to stay in touch with our loved ones has been invaluable. How lucky are we to have access to near-instantaneous communication across the globe, and to be able to see our loved ones through video calls when we can’t be together in real life!
And if we needed any more reason to be grateful for the technology in our lives, imagine how much more difficult and isolating 2020 would have been if we hadn’t had the opportunity to “attend” church virtually? If we hadn’t been able to keep connected to Bible study groups and the people in our communities who are most vulnerable and in need of support? If members of the congregation weren’t able to have pastoral conversations with their pastors?
These are just a few of the many reasons we can be grateful and thank God. Consider what else is inhabiting your surroundings that you can be thankful for. The more aware you are of God every day, the closer you will draw near and depend on him.
Re-evaluate your heart at mealtimes.
It is all too easy for grace to become a rote saying of “Dear God, thank you for the food, Amen” – lacking a genuine appreciation for the blessing God has given us.
In 2018, SBS Insights produced an episode on food insecurity in Australia, estimating that 5 to 6 per cent, or roughly 1.5 million Australians, reported they had run out of food at least once and could not buy more. By contrast, having 100 per cent certainty there will be food at the table at the next mealtime is a blessing we can often forget to appreciate.
Additionally, mealtimes are also a blessing from God as we have an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of family, friendship and faith. So, as we come to the table and say grace, we should also give thanks in our hearts for the people with us.
These are just three of many ways to find delight in the Lord and draw closer to him. Ultimately, the purpose of these examples is to highlight ways you can refocus your day. To draw near to God.
Don’t tune out. Tune in.