Be still and know that I am God.
God made each of us for a purpose, and God gifted us with those abilities necessary to live out the calling which God has placed upon our lives. Have you contemplated what calling has God placed upon your life? Have you asked yourself why God gifted you with the abilities with which you have been blessed?
These are not easy questions, and answering them forces us to be quiet and to think deeply. In today’s lightning speed world, time for contemplation is not deemed to be valuable. But, we can’t get to the heart of our lives with God by communicating in tweets or Facebook posts, by “Googling it” or looking it up on Wikipedia. Christian disciples must recover the depth that a life of faith requires – solitude and discernment, prayer and contemplation.
The women in our Wednesday Women’s Summer Book Study (7/18, 7/25, and 8/8 from 9:30-11am) are reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea. First published in 1955, Gift from the Sea is a classic work of non-fiction that recounts an extended quiet time spent alone at the beach. The time apart was formative for the author because it allowed her the space and grace to reflect on her life.
So often we put off quiet times in our lives. It can be difficult to make time with God in a busy life. It can be difficult to be alone with our thoughts – the noises of the television or radio or Spotify can distract us from connecting with our souls and with God. Being alone with our thoughts can also feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. It takes courage and spiritual maturity to sit before the throne of God in quiet waiting for our thoughts to slow enough to hear God.
Laity and clergy alike share these feelings of vulnerability. Yet, in times of rapid change and instability – times such as those in which we live – time of quiet is essential to our spiritual growth and emotional wellbeing: our souls need quiet and communion with God.
People make time and space for quiet in different ways. For some of us, blocking out time on the calendar for silence is helpful, and we’re able to stick to a weekly routine of quiet. For those of us who are learners, reading books or guides about new ways to be in silence such as meditation, contemplative prayer, or retreat will be helpful. For those of us who need the discipline of a group, small groups spaces are wonderful for sharing quiet time together. Beginning over the summer, I will be working with a spiritual director – a retired United Methodist clergyperson – who will hold me accountable for my spiritual practices.
If you are searching for ways to find solitude and to discern the calling to which God has called you, please seek me out. As Hayes Barton UMC’s associate pastor responsible for our Spiritual Formation pathway, it is my privilege to help you find those spiritual practices that nurture your faith, that help you find solitude, and that allow you space for discernment. I would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your faith journey. Please feel free to send me an email or phone me about setting up a time to discuss your spiritual journey.
Your sister in Christ,