When I was a teenager, I used to think it was lame when Christians said they had to do their morning devotions. I thought it made God sound like a mean and boring history teacher making Christians do homework. Devotions were explained to me as the way to connect with God, by reading the Bible and praying in a quiet place. There are times when I love reading my Bible and praying in a quiet places, but sometimes I find this a hard way for me to connect with God. I must confess that I don’t have a time set apart every day for devotions. Admitting this brings fear of getting judged or viewed as a hypocrite especially since I am a Youth Pastor. I used to be hard on myself for failing at this, until one day I encountered a beautiful Spirit-led moment that changed my perspective on what it means to “do devotions.”

I am not much of a runner, but for some reason whenever it rains I feel compelled to go for a run. The rain began to fall, so I loaded my son in his stroller and took off at a decent speed. Many heads turned with puzzled eyes as people probably questioned what kind of mother I was making my toddler endure rain pounding in his face. “Go fasta Ma Ma!” My son yelled while laughing. My son loves the rain because nobody told him rainy nights are usually perceived as negative. While some were probably judging me, I wanted my son to learn how to take what others perceive as negative, and to turn it into an adventure. When we returned home, we both didn’t want the adventure to end. I turned the car radio on in the driveway and we decided to dance in the rain. We jumped, we played, splashed in puddles, spun in circles, and drank rain water… well he drank the water anyway. People drove by shooting us odd looks. During this time I couldn’t help but feel this outpouring of joy into my soul! God was there. My child-like heart delighted in my heavenly parent as I gave thanks for my son, for the rain, and for creating me with a wild and creative spirit. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper deep into my bones that God delighted in us too. It was a beautiful moment of intimacy and gratefulness with our Creator. This was the best devotion ever as I embraced the joy and freedom in Christ in a rich way. I still read my Bible and pray in quiet places sometimes, which can be a rich experience as well. Most days my prayer life remains scattered and unconventional, yet I continue to find God in exuberant places that I never imagined. Perhaps this is part of my calling as a Youth Pastor: to seek God in creative and unconventional ways inviting others along on the journey.

Devotions can be creative, fun, wild, and free. Devotions are about devoting our whole life to God. Devotions help us grow and connect with God in fresh ways, which may mean trying something new. Devotions should make others turn their heads and ask, “How is it they are able to live with such peace and joy?” Devotions are a way of helping us love God with all our heart, mind, and soul through encountering the living Christ.

Questions to Think About:
What ways are you currently pursuing God’s goodness in your daily life?
What are some new ways you can try to connect with God this week that you possibly haven’t tried before?
When is the last time you aimed to connect with God just for the sake of spending time with Jesus that wasn’t related to the work of ministry?

Samantha Tidball

Samantha Tidball

Youth Pastor at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor
Samantha is the Youth Pastor at the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor in Michigan. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in rhetoric communications and youth ministry. She is also a graduate of the Center of Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) in Nashville,TN.She currently writes youth group curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House. Sam enjoys spending her days off with her husband and two children.
Samantha Tidball

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