My Snapchat streak passed away quietly sometime in the night. I didn’t mean to kill it. It died of neglect.
For you non-Snapchatters, a “streak” is created when you and a friend exchange photos (called “snaps”) at least once a day for three consecutive days. In the image above the little flame icon indicates a streak, and the preceding number is its age in days. I’m not sure what the ultimate goal is exactly, but it is VERY important to keep your streak going. My teenage daughter somehow talked me into starting a streak with her.
It lasted 58 days.
In my defense, I worked hard at that streak. I don’t like taking selfies, so I had to be creative in finding other subjects to snap. Coffee mugs featured prominently in my chats. Exciting stuff there.
I enjoyed staying in touch with my daughter throughout the day. I looked forward to learning, for example, which shoes she was sporting in the morning, or who she was goofing off with in class. But I did not like the pressure I felt to respond in kind. My shoes just aren’t that cute, and goofing off at work is generally frowned upon.
I recently noticed that my Bible app is now doing streaks. It keeps track of how many consecutive days I’ve read my online Bible. I didn’t sign up for this. Today I was greeted with:
Good Morning, Shelley
You’ve connected with God’s Word for 14 days in a row!
Cue the confetti.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to have goals. It’s great to form daily habits that reflect and reinforce the priorities in our lives. But the stress of supporting a streak is just too much for me.
I want to connect with the ones I love simply because I love them. And if I miss a day, to know it’s ok to pick back up right where we left off. Without having to start the count all over again.
It reminds me of my teen years, when I used to practice the piano. I’d be playing along just fine, and then I’d make a dreaded mistake. Back to the beginning I’d go, in search of a flawless performance. The result? I usually knew the first few lines of my pieces really well!
But what if, instead of starting completely over when we messed up, we just kept moving forward? I think that’s what God is really after in our walks with Him. Not perfection; but affection. Not obligation; but devotion.
I don’t think He has a giant heavenly Snapchat scoreboard where He tracks our performance. I don’t believe He expects perfect and unbroken “streaks” with His children. When we skip a day in His Word, we don’t undo everything we’ve experienced with Him up to that point. When we make a mistake, we can acknowledge our shortcomings and sin. And then simply resume walking in love and fellowship with Him.
That’s it. The pressure’s off.
So strike the streak. Life with Jesus is not a series of snaps, but a lifetime stroll with a loving, and forgiving, Savior.
For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. (Psalm 56:13, NLT)