I don’t like to drink water. There. I said it. It tastes bad to me. I have tasted water that was delicious before, but that was back when I drank it unfiltered from a water hose at my grandparent’s farm and it was well water. It was an awfully hot summer, too, so that must be factored in as well. I was thirsty.
But now? Now I know I am supposed to drink it for my health, and I just hate it. If I do drink it, I generally flavor it with something to kill the taste. Something like aspartame that will give me cancer should I decide to dump a truckload into my glass.
Still, I am trying recently to drink more water. As a nurse, I know the great benefits of drinking it. I used to tell my patients that they should be drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day knowing full well I could not remember the last time I had a single cup myself. Hypocrisy ain’t pretty. Still, I know water’s great benefit and so I am trying to do better. I turn up the glass of water in my hand and chug it like the nasty cough medicine my mother used to funnel down me when I was a kid. Blech.
There are other things I know are good for me, and yet I have trouble doing them. You are probably no different. More exercise, less trans fat. Less stress, more fruits and veggies. Most of us know the things we should do and the things we should not. It is in actually doing and not doing that we find the struggle. The idea is always much easier than the practice.
Most of what we want or enjoy tends to be the things that are not the best for us in the long run. I used to be an avid reader of murder mysteries. I loved them. The suspense, plot, and story lines had me hook, line, and sinker. I was obsessed. Until the day it dawned on me that my outlook on life was not what it had been. It was then that it occurred on me that my darker attitude could have a lot to do with what I was feeding my thought life. Reluctantly, I let the mysteries go. It was hard for a while, but I don’t miss them at all now.
I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately. I’ve been thinking about it more than I have actually been doing it. Prayer is talking to God. I know that to get to know someone better requires talking to them; sharing my thoughts and feelings and listening to theirs. It’s give and take in relationships. I want to see God moving in my life and in the lives of my family and friends, and yet sometimes I just can’t seem to do that which I know will benefit me and those I love.
It’s just stupid.
Sometimes it’s the idea of doing something that is harder than actually doing it. I know that once I get started in a conversation with God, that I am rarely ready to stop when the time comes that I have to. So what’s my deal? What am I waiting on, really? Its not that I don’t pray, I do, but often there is a roadblock in my mind about serious conversation with the Lord. When I think about moving past the pleasantries and on to more meaningful, perhaps difficult, conversation, I find myself just passing on it altogether. It’s just so much effort.
Investing in relationships is a good thing, though. We were made to be in relationships. Phillip Yancey once said,
“Like all good things, prayer requires some discipline. Yet I believe that life with God should seem more like friendship than duty. Prayer includes moments of ecstasy and also dullness, mindless distraction and acute concentration, flashes of joy and bouts of irritation. In other words, prayer has features in common with all relationships that matter.”
I don’t go to the gym even though I have a membership. I tell myself I don’t have time to go. There are lots of things I tell myself that I don’t have time to do. Prayer is sometimes one of those things. Then I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther.
“Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Martin knew what I also know to be true. I have so much to do that I don’t have time not to pray. What if all that is missing from God moving in my life is time spent with him talking about it? What if?