A medical professional told you to run a plastic object around your mouth twice a day, every day until you die.
That sounds absolutely awful.
And yet, the majority of us do just that.
Every morning before breakfast and every night before bed, we brush our teeth.
It’s not because we’re conforming to some arbitrary rule or social mandate. Sure, it’s nice that I’m not actively offending anyone with my breath, but that’s not the biggest reason I brush my teeth.
It’s not even because we’re necessarily following the direction of a medical professional. I don’t pick up my toothbrush every morning with the purpose of avoiding a negative encounter with my dentist (though that is why I floss).
Then why? Why, twice a day, every day, do we run a chunk of plastic over our teeth? For me, it’s simple.
I brush my teeth because I’m a person with good oral hygiene.
I do what it takes to keep my teeth clean and my breath fresh.
Sure, we could skip a few sessions – but the consequences are immediate.
Miss one day, your breath is a little rank. Miss two, and you can feel that fuzzy film coating your teeth. Miss enough (or do a half-assed job when you are brushing) and you end up with cavities and a painful procedure.
This goes on long enough and your teeth will literally rot out of your face.
We know this. We’ve accepted it.
Brushing our teeth is just a natural part of our lives.
So why is this a daily habit while other activities, say, quiet time with the Lord, are a daily struggle?
Time is a good excuse.
Teeth require 3 minutes, but God takes up at least 5.
Of course, you’re brushing twice a day. So, 6 minutes.
There goes the time excuse.
Sometimes, you just forget.
Alright, that’s fair. But the same thing happens with your teeth. Only in their case, you either correct the issue immediately, or you pick up where you left off the next day.
You don’t just say, “Oh well, I blew it! Guess I’ll have to re-add teeth brushing to my resolutions next January!”
There goes excuse #2.
Then there are the consequences.
You’ve been brushing your teeth since you were a kid. If you miss a session, there are physical implications! Bad breath. Fuzzy film. Dentures.
But in our spiritual lives, the consequences are subtler.
Your road rage isn’t because you skipped a prayer for peace – it’s because the idiot in front of you drives like a maniac.
Your lack of will power isn’t because you haven’t prayed over weight loss goals – it’s because turning down that cake from Donna in accounting would be rude.
You’re not feeling isolated and overwhelmed because you stopped seeking God – it’s because everyone in your life is useless and you have to handle it all alone.
I’d like to say at some point, you’ll run out of excuses.
But we both know that’s not the case.
There will always be a new justification for your reactions and thoughts and behaviors. There will always be a new reason why those 5 minutes of prayer just couldn’t be squeezed into your day.
To change your routine – to stop making excuses – will have to be a conscious choice.
You will have to choose to take prayer, quiet time and being in the Word off your “List of requirements to become a good Christian” and make it a part of who you are.
So you’re not praying just because you’re in church and the “good” Christians are watching. You’re not praying just because some old guy in a big hat told you to.
You’re praying because you’re a person with good spiritual hygiene.
You recognize the consequences of your excuses and have decided to live more intentionally.
It’s no longer a line item on your daily to-do list. It’s priority #1.
You don’t have to start big – simply 5 minutes a day. Less time than you spend brushing your teeth.
You can even combine praying with your teeth brushing!
When I first got back into the Word, I would take a dry erase marker and write verses on my mirror.
Every time I brushed my teeth, these verses were right in front of my face. I could take those 6 minutes every day to read a piece of the Word and pray scripture over my life. It was one of the most effective ways I made reading the Bible and praying a daily habit.
And really, what else are you using that time for? Assessing your brushing technique?
Only 5 minutes a day to build a new routine and set yourself up for a great relationship with the Lord.
Photo Credit: digicla
Do you brush your teeth more often than you pray? Leave a comment letting me know how you plan to make scripture and prayer a daily part of your life!
Did you enjoy this post? Want to stay current on all of my blog posts? Make sure to join my email list!