Canceled Dinners

The day is here! Dinner with friends. It’s been on the calendar for weeks. You made that special trip to the grocery store and spent a little extra money on things you wouldn’t necessarily have if it was just a family dinner. Your work schedule is rearranged so you can get out of the office a bit early to get home and clean. The table is set, the dessert is frosted and the meat is on the grill…

…. you get the text. “Sorry, we aren’t going to be able to make it tonight.”

Even though you know the excuse is legitimate. It is still a hard pill to swallow. You just spent the entire day preparing to have a meal together. You have been looking forward to a night of sharing a meal, stories, and life with one another. Now you are left with more food than you know what to do with and little motivation to clean everything up.

When this happened to Erin and I recently it was upsetting. Honestly, even though the reasoning for the cancellation was completely legitimate, I had to work to keep my attitude in check.

In the midst of my pouting, I heard the whisper. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away.

Holy Spirit – “Alex, how often do you think you do the same thing to me?”

Alex – “OUCH! Really Holy Spirit? Is this really the time to have this conversation?”

Holy Spirit – “Yes. I think it is the perfect time.”

It was convicting. It was true. Every day, the God of the Universe prepares a table for me every day. He is excited to meet with me. And I don’t show up.

Too busy.

Too tired.

Too lazy.

Too this.

Too that.

Today, I am grateful for canceled dinners and gracious nudges from God. I am reminded that daily time with God isn’t a chore, it’s a gift that shapes my heart and my affections. As philosopher James K.A. Smith says in his book ‘You are What You Love: The Power of Spiritual Habit‘,The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love (God) takes practice…. Worship works from the top down, you might say. In worship we don’t just come to show God our devotion and give him our praise; we are called to worship because in this encounter God (re)makes and molds us top-down. Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts.”

Maybe this is the reason Jesus taught us to pray like this:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us TODAY our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.
P.S. Thanks for canceling on us friends!

– Alex

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