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Am I Becoming Religious?

I don’t think of myself as “religious.” At least not in the sense that I am willing to mindlessly repeat actions because that’s “right” or “required.” I like to think that I consistently act from the heart.

Apparently I’m not as consistent as I thought, and it took a six year old to show me that.

Last night we had some friends at our house, and everyone was downstairs talking while I went upstairs to rush the kids through the bedtime routine so that I could get back to my company. I quickly tucked Ian in with his stuffed animals, and said a standard bedtime prayer thanking God for the day and requesting a peaceful rest for my son.

And then a small voice asked me two big questions.

“How do you think God feels about that? Do you think He likes hearing the same prayer every night?”

Ouch.

Some self-reflection was in order. Do I pray the same thing? Do I mindlessly mouth words to the God of the universe? Do I even care about what I am saying, or am I just trying to check a box and get to the next thing? Am I (gulp) religious about it?

My son could see through the outer exterior and right into the heart of me. He knew I was rushing, and he knew I didn’t really mean it. What did God think?

“You can do better, Mommy. Try again.”

So I did. I prayed again thanking God for the beauty I saw, and the fact that my son can run and kick, and I asked for not only peace, but also for patience and forgiveness.

“That’s better,” said Ian as he snuggled, satisfied, under the covers and went to sleep.

But today I am still troubled. Am I becoming religious? Is that what happens when you are talking about God, and working for God? Do I say the same prayers for bedtime, and morning devotions? What about the standard Spanish prayer that I have spoken and spoken until it loses all meaning for me?

Have I forgotten that it’s all grace?

It’s grace that I’m here today, and it’s grace that I need to give. It’s simple trust in God and daily talks and getting to know Him more. It’s thanking Him for the good and the bad and all the moments in between. It’s experiencing Him beyond the routine religion that I would reduce my relationship of God to. So I must ask, how does God feel about my prayers when they no longer mean anything to me?

Thank you, dear Ian, for helping me to remember. Thank you God for using a six year old boy to speak to my heart and remind me of who you are. Please, God, don’t let me become religious. Help me to know today and every day that it’s all grace.

 

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