Linger is kind of a weird word. We don’t use it very often anymore. I went to a conference last weekend that was called “Linger.” The purpose was not to teach a subject matter (like student ministry) or to support a cause (like human trafficking). Those conferences are great as well, but the purpose of Linger was to spend a weekend worshipping and hearing God’s word. It was an amazing weekend!
Most of the sessions began with one or two worship songs, then a preacher would come out and preach for 45 minutes or so, then we would just praise God in response to the message for another 45 minutes(ish). There was no pressure or next thing to race off to, it was just time to engage with God, to rest and worship. There was time to praise in song and kneel in prayer. There was time to fellowship and eat. Wow.
I’m single and sometimes my life is so busy I hardly know where whole weeks went. Life just keeps getting busier. The world was a busy place when I was in high school, my class was the first HS class that went to HS entirely in the 2000s. The world was speeding up, I was talking to friends through computers. I was playing games online. But when I was doing it my computer weighed 40 lbs and it didn’t leave my desk. I didn’t stick it in my pocket and carry it to school. I didn’t pack it into the car for road trips. I didn’t take it to church on Wednesday night. There was time to get away.
We are losing that and what is worse, we are letting our kids grow up without it. Faith cannot endure in this kind of world. God just didn’t wire us to live that way and he hasn’t set up faith to work that way. Matthew 6:6 tells us, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (CSB). We need that kind of time with God…not in the car on the way to work, or at church…but we need time to linger with God.
So my first encouragement is to make time to rest, linger, meditate…whatever word you want to use. Make the time. You will never find the time. It will never just happen. Nothing with faith ever does. You never get there by accident. Just do it and do it on purpose. “Life on purpose” should be our motto as Christians. Make time.
My second encouragement is to parents. We need to model this for our kids and we need to teach it to our kids. We model it by doing it ourselves. We teach it in several ways. One of those is by taking away and turning off technology for our kids. They will never develop good habits on their own. We need to GIVE them time to linger. They will not always like it, but that’s okay. As they grow in maturity, we need to stop being the enforcer and more the guide. Talk to them about why devices need to be off for a time to linger and help them set up time for themselves. But you can’t start there. You have to start by giving it to them.