I was listening to a podcast this morning and the host, and his guest, were talking about “guys who have been following the Lord for a long time now”.
I never really thought about it, but now it hit me like a football to the face: I’ve been following Jesus for over 30 years. Just typing that sentence makes me feel old. I’m not even sure why, but I suddenly have the impulse to drive slow, leave the blinker on, eat hard candy, and watch 60 minutes with the television volume turned up way too loud.
When I look back, I can recollect a lot of people who have given up following Jesus over the years. I don’t think they meant to, it just kind of happened. I suppose the reason most people fall away from the faith is not because they get mad at God (though some do) or they intentionally stop believing (usually after unanswered prayers). I think most people fall away because they neglect their souls.
This lead me to another football to the face moment. I had to ask myself how I’ve kept my beliefs all these years. I searched inwardly for some sort of Tweet-worthy revelation that people would ask me to write a book about. I thought that there must be some sort of mind-blowing secret to going the distance with my faith.
It turned out that the answer was really simple: just keep showing up.
Every day (or most days) for 30 years, I’ve been setting a little time aside to show up before God’s throne to say hi. I usually read the Bible too. It’s not a big deal. I’m not one of those guys who prays for two hours, then breaks out the commentaries and Greek dictionary. I just show up and visit with God for a bit. It may not sound like much, but it’s how I’ve kept my faith so long.
When I was a pre-teen, my mother had a friend who used to take my brother and me places to hang out. He had bigger muscles than anyone I’d ever known before. Every time I’d ask him how he got into such good shape, he’d always say the same thing, “It’s better to do one pushup a day than to lift weights hard but inconsistently.”
In other words, “Just keep showing up.” That’s the secret. The “one weird trick” to following Jesus for over 30 years is to talk to him every day.
Build the habit of prayer into your life and that habit will build life into you.