Can I make a confession? I don’t really like devotionals*. I think they can often be too cheesy, too didactic, and too limiting. I have an aversion to reading “women’s devotionals” (especially if they are pink and floral) and for a long time just didn’t really gel with a lot of evangelical writing. Though I was raised in the church, I didn’t get a lot of the jargon and so connecting with God felt like an overwhelming chore.
And then for an extended period of time, I found myself alone most of the day with no one to talk to except God. I started contemplating Scripture throughout my day because I didn’t have a lot of other distractions. I started doing a Beth Moore study. And it was really good. It was theologically rich and conversational and most importantly–extremely effective in helping me to see God in a new light. I did more of her devotionals and studies and they changed my life.
But I still didn’t really like devotionals.
Then I started a two-year residency in Christian contemplative prayer** called Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative through the Shalem Institute in Washington DC. I spent the first year learning lectio divina, centering prayer, listening prayer, and practiced being present to and aware of God throughout my day.
Suddenly the evangelical notion of “quiet time” with which I’d been raised was blown open. Instead of simply giving God 30-60 minutes to read Scripture or journal or pray, I started learning how to maintain prayerfulness and openness throughout my day. I began to experience Jesus as the Bread of Life. I discovered that this “daily bread” can be found scattered throughout our days and that life with God can be a scavenger hunt to find the pieces he’s hidden for us in the ordinary confines of our lives. I discovered that God could indeed be enjoyed–and that we can experience God’s enjoyment of us.
As a writer, I would often take these morsels and chew on them for a while until I could share what I learned with others, but never in a devotional form, just in personal essays. Occasionally I’d email out a reflection or meditation on a particular passage to a few friends here and there. But I never thought to combine my love of writing with my love of helping people connect with Jesus.
Until one day God connected it for me, while writing to two of these friends.
I want this to be a resource for people who don’t like the words “devotional’ or “quiet time.” If each day is uniquely created by an exceedingly abundant God so that we can enjoy him, I want the Holy Spirit to blow open those concepts so that we can see where the Bread of Life, our daily bread, is scattered throughout.
Here is a guide for how you might use this website. We are ordinary Christians who want to tell the story of an extraordinary God showing up in our lives in as much jargon-free language as possible (and we will always define our terms). There are a variety of viewpoints and Christian traditions represented here, as well as different styles. We hope you’ll find not just something to help you connect with God, but that you’ll learn ways to see God in your own stories.
Thank you for reading!
*A devotional will be defined here as any resource used to connect with God.
**Contemplative will be defined as a way of being in the world that is prayerfully attentive and responsive to God’s presence and guidance.