Each day, we all take part in our own routines and rituals that form us in profound ways. What would our day look like if we spent a little time being intentional in our routines? Sarah Meggers, Worship Director at Church of the Shepherd, shares how a small change in her daily ritual of driving has had a big impact on her relationship with God.

What was your driving experience prior to the change you’ve made?

“I have always been a sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs type of driver. Always. Mostly showtunes or worship music. But really anything that took away from the monotony and boredom of driving.”

When did you decide that you needed to make a change to your driving routine?

“When I read the book “Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Harrison Warren that our current sermon series is based on, I realized that in all of my routines, I didn’t have any space in my life. Information was constantly being poured into my brain or experienced in my heart – whether that was in meetings, or listening to music, or having the TV on while I cook dinner, scrolling through Facebook, or even my personal devotion time – my brain and my heart were always in a state of receiving and never had space to just be. I was being formed by the chaos in my life more than I was being formed by God.”

What was the change?

“In the midst of realizing that I didn’t have any space to invite God into my day and just be with Him, I knew I needed to create that space somewhere that was a regular part of my day. I went through my routines that I have in every day, or in most days, and I found two places I could allow myself to be formed by God instead of by chaos.

First, and hardest, I stopped listening to anything while I drive. I realized that I had the opportunity in almost every single day to carve out space for God – space where I could just be in the presence of God, to listen to Him, to be in prayer, to invite God into my day even in the most ordinary of places. That space was in my car… which meant giving up listening to anything while I drive and creating an intentional space of silence in that routine. I had been pretty regularly listening to worship music or an audio bible and things like that while I drove to try to focus my heart on God as I made my way to where I was going, but I realized I wasn’t being formed well by that. I was really just adding to the chaos.

So, because I was creating space in my day while I drive, I also decided to change the way I get ready for the day to add that back in. I always turned on the tv and listened to the news while I got ready, and now I listen to worship music or other things that help me focus me on God, instead.”

How has this change had an impact on your faith life?

“When I started doing this, I was actually able to be centered on God when I arrived at work, or wherever I was going, instead of just continuing the chaos. I find myself able to reset and refocus on God in this space. I have been able to experience bits of peace every day – something that was not true before I started this. I am now being formed first thing in my day toward God and not toward what is happening in the world or toward what chaos is happening in my life.

I lean into the quote from Liturgy of the Ordinary in my time of silence that says, “On this particular day, Jesus knows you and declares you his own. On this day he is redeeming the world, advancing his kingdom, calling us to repent and grow, teaching his church to worship, drawing near to us, and making a people all his own. If I am to spend my whole life being transformed by the good news of Jesus, I must learn how grand, sweeping truths rub against the texture of an average day. How I spend this ordinary day in Christ is how I will spend my Christian life.

With this new routine:

  • I allow space for God to declare me as His.
  • I am reminded of the work God is doing already, even in this normal, ordinary day.
  • I am also reminded of the work that God wants to do in me today.
  • I lift my day – in all of its messiness, and all its ups and downs – to God and invite Him to be a part of it with me.

In doing this, I also realized that I was not acknowledging the places of waiting in my life either. Places where I was on my way to something, where I had left one place and not arrived at another, whether that was literal, emotional, or spiritual. The lack of silence in my life was really me avoiding waiting and ultimately what God wanted to do in that time, an exercise in my ability to not confront the hard things that were in my head or my heart, or the things that God wanted to teach me or form in me. So, God has been working on me through this to embrace those spaces and all that comes with them instead of wishing them away – and He’s been reminding me that He is fully and completely present in those moments, too.”

Anything else you want to share?

“This was definitely something that took some getting used to. I hated being in silence for at least a few weeks. The first few days, I would find myself reaching to turn the radio on or just do anything to fill the silence. But as I kept practicing this, even through lots of discomfort and awkwardness, I began to settle into this practice – and be formed by it. It took time to get used to, but it has been worth it.

I’ve gotten to a place in this practice now that I do this on road trips, too – something I never thought was possible. Anytime I’m driving long distances by myself, I begin those trips in silence and just give God space to work in my heart. Sometimes hours go by, and I don’t realize it. Those are such valuable spaces! God and I have done a lot of processing together on the road, and He is teaching me so many things through this!

Here’s my challenge to you- What are your routines forming in you? Is it something that forms you to be more like Jesus or grow in your relationship with Him? If there is something that isn’t doing that, and I can almost guarantee there is something, find an intentional way for that ordinary moment to form you to be more like Jesus or bring you into His presence. What I found is that God is so very present in my ordinary day. And He’s present in yours, too! It may be challenging to change your routine, but I promise you, it will be worth it!”

Read more stories about connecting with God on the COS Blog.