Faith & Life



We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

You’ve probably heard before that grace starts with God: that we can only respond to His grace, and any progress we make in the spiritual life is because He took the first step and reached out to us.

I’ve preached this for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever really taken it in. In fact, I know I haven’t because of a recent confession experience I had. I confessed to neglecting my prayer life, and then after praying my penance, immediately started racking my brain for ways to reshuffle my lifestyle to fit more prayer time into my day. Now, of course, scheduling prayer time is a good thing to do.

This time though, the Holy Spirit made it clear to me that I was doing this because I felt I had to take matters into my own hands. It was a symptom of a lack of trust in God.

I’m in a season of life right now where I don’t have a lot of control over my daily schedule. With three young kids and another on the way, I can’t predict how any given day will pan out. Maybe one of the toddlers will be especially needy. Maybe my own energy level will be especially low. Someone always needs to be taken care of, and I can’t always carve out a half hour of time for meditation or spiritual reading. Not on my own, anyway.

That day after confession, God invited me to let go of the stress of micro-managing my prayer routines, and with it, the guilt of not living up to some unsustainable ideal. He told me He would prod me with an invitation to spend time with Him when it became available and provide those hours in the day if I would trust Him to do so.

And this is how I know that I have a trusting God problem. I instinctively assumed that it could never work. That I’d never “get enough prayer time” if I didn’t schedule it myself. That letting the opportunities come on God’s schedule couldn’t possibly be sufficient.

But why? Through two inconvenient pregnancies, three jobs, two moves and a major lifestyle change, I felt like I had gotten pretty good at trusting God’s schedule for my life.

Why can it be so much harder to trust Him with the little things than with the big ones?

Have you heard the still small voice of God inviting you to intimacy with Him? It’s hard to pay attention to when you’re distracted by life, kids, jobs, relationships, chores and smartphones.

For me, it feels like a gentle tug in those moments when I’m between tasks and find a second of quiet. I wonder what I should do with that time, and then I hear His “voice” asking me to spend it with Him. Back in college, responding to that invitation meant a trip down the hall to the dorm chapel. Nowadays, it’s usually a quick moment to meditate on the presence of God or share my pressing concerns in silent petitionary prayer.

I’m working on paying more attention for those moments. They’re a beautiful reminder throughout the day that God loves me and desires to be known. It’s slowly teaching me to trust that He will give me all the opportunities I need for the spiritual growth He’s calling me to. And if I ever start to blame myself for not spending enough quality time in prayer, all I need to do is set down my phone and pay attention!