So, I’ve got a question for you. What does the Marco Polo app have to do with God?
Honestly, not a lot.
But for me, there was a huge connection.
Here’s my story about how using a social app actually led me to a deeper relationship with God.
I’ve always had a hard time getting in the habit of regular scripture study. I know it’s important, no one has to convince me of that. But sometimes, it just felt so difficult.
Especially since becoming a mom, it seems like my time quickly disappears. I get caught up in the normal tasks of running a household, caring for munchkins, nurturing my relationship with hubby, and planning ahead for groceries, family activities, budgeting, etc. That when I do get a free moment, all I want is to unwind and practice some self care.
The funny thing is, in theory, I knew that scripture study could be the highest form of self care. I mean, you get to literally commune with the Lord and receive nourishment to your soul through His words. How amazing is that?
But for me, it was hard to really grasp that concept and feel it deeply, you know?
I tried so hard to get in the habit of regular scripture study.
I tried to keep a chart, marking every single day that I read, and maybe I’d have an incentive to work towards, once I reached x-amount of days.
I tried participating in scripture challenges, like reading specific chapters each week alongside the rest of my church congregation.
I tried buying a special journal, as an intentional place to record my thoughts and impressions as I read.
And I think every one of those ideas is a good plan. They might even be the answer for others.
But no matter what system I tried for regular scripture study, nothing was sticking.
For the life of me, I could not form the habit.
So instead of eagerly soaking up the word of God on a regular basis, I just… did other things.
And maybe I would break out my scriptures every once in a while, when I sensed something in my life was missing or had really felt the spirit during a Sunday School lesson. But otherwise, the studies were pretty far and few between.
Now, on a separate note, I love using the social app called Marco Polo.
Essentially, the way it works is you can leave a video message for a friend to watch and respond to later. Your friend can even watch your message in real time and respond quicker, the instant you finish talking.
I love Marco Polo because it feels like a conversation, even when it’s not a quick back and forth. I don’t have to worry about coordinating times and lining up schedules for a phone or video call. Because, as a mom with young kids, that can be sooo difficult. And Marco Polo feels more personal than text. Anyways, it’s a great way to stay in touch with loved ones.
I probably use Marco Polo on a daily basis. I love to keep in close contact with my family and friends in a really convenient way. It feels like no time has passed since we were together because we are constantly chatting and keeping each other in the loop.
And then… there are other people I talk to less often on Marco Polo. And honestly, sometimes it can be a bit awkward. It’s like having a conversation with your second cousin who you only talk to at family reunions. You might love them and genuinely care about their life. But you don’t know what their current hobbies are or what they want to talk about. You don’t know how to anticipate their reactions, and sometimes your jokes fall flat or there’s a moment of awkward silence.
But you try to keep the relationship intact, because obviously you don’t want to just cut ties. After all, you still care about them.
Alright, now that you’re caught up on how Marco Polo works… What’s the point?
What could Marco Polo possibly have to do with my relationship with God?
One day, after one of those particularly awkward conversations, I was feeling pretty flustered.
Naturally, I sent a separate Marco Polo chat to my sister to explain what had happened and get her advice.
The back-to-back comparison was so blatantly obvious. One conversation was a struggle, while the other was so natural and seamless.
I had been in one of my ruts with scripture study, and in that moment, it was like a lightbulb realization, or when the sunlight bursts through the clouds.
It was like God was saying, “Hey Jodi! I want to have a natural relationship with you. I don’t want us to be distant friends. I’m here! All you have to do is reach out, and I’ll answer!”
It was in that moment that the purpose of scripture study suddenly fell into place for me.
It wasn’t just one more item to check off my to-do list.
It wasn’t about proving my obedience and righteousness.
It wasn’t to show how eternally grateful I am to God.
Scripture study is about the relationship, and inviting God into my life, to speak to me as my truest and most loyal friend.
Right then, it clicked. I didn’t want God to be a distant friend anymore.
So, just like it takes regular effort to nurture a friendship and keep things from turning awkward … If I didn’t want my relationship with God to feel unnatural, I better start including Him in my life more often.
I began to read my scriptures regularly. Finally.
I would pray in a way that felt comfortable, sharing details about my day and asking questions that I struggled with or seeking advice and direction (- just like I would with a friend in-person or on Marco Polo.)
Then, I would open my scriptures and intentionally seek for answers and responses from the Lord.
Sometimes, the answer would be right there in front of me, like He was handing me the solution. And sometimes, there would just be a reassurance or simple response of empathy like “I hear you. And I understand.”
My new view of scripture study also took away the immense guilt that I used to feel about certain scripture study habits.
Like when I’d only read 1-2 verses instead of a long scripture study session.
On Marco Polo, my chats always vary in length. I don’t plan out 3 minute messages every time. That would be weird. Depending on the moment, I might send a quick 5 second response or a full-on 5 minute vent sesh. The length isn’t what’s important. It’s the sincerity and the regular effort.
Having this view also helped the guilt of when I’d get behind in scripture study and struggle to form that habit.
Because again, it’s like a friendship on Marco Polo – with my close friends, we might get caught up in the busyness of life, but when we connect again, there’s no hard feelings. We understand that it happens sometimes, and we jump right back into our regular flow.
It’s only when there’s been lost communication for a really long time that we have to rebuild the foundation again.
Of course, God is always going to be there for me. His foundation of understanding and love and natural connection with me isn’t ever going to crumble. But how I feel standing before Him, how natural that feels – well, I’ve got to work on that.
I’ve always been saddened by the idea that I might not feel comfortable in the presence of the Lord. But now I’m determined to maintain that seamless communication with Him.
To not get out of touch. To make time for Him, just like I prioritize making time to send a quick Marco Polo message.
It may be a silly story for anyone else who reads this. But…
I genuinely believe that the Spirit speaks to us in ways we’ll understand, ways that make sense to our personal experience.
And for me, it was by saying “Hey! You know those awesome relationships you have through Marco Polo? Don’t you want it to feel that way with God?”
I do. I definitely do. I want my relationship with God to be the most important and natural one in my life.
I don’t want to miss His messages. I don’t want Him to feel like I don’t care to reach out.
So, even if I don’t get it perfect, I’m going to try to prioritize scripture study. Because it’s so much more than just reading about some ancient people and checking it off the to-do list.
Just like Marco Polo is a connection to dear friends, scripture study is a connection to the Lord.
Thanks for letting me share my experience!
What helps you maintain a strong connection to God?
Feel free to share with me in the comment section. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience!
Want to learn more about my beliefs? Click here!
Are you new to the blog? Check out my post about when the phrase “Never go to bed angry” is Not good advice.