One of my goals on a recent spiritual retreat was to laugh. While at first glance that might not sound like much of a spiritual goal for a spiritual retreat, I want to assure you it was.
As an enneagram eight, I need to play, I need to laugh, I need to enjoy. As an enneagram eight, that play, laughter, and enjoyment don’t always happen spontaneously. The toy box warns, “Some assembly required.” The eight should come with a similar warning pertaining to play, “Some cultivation required.”
So I left for my retreat ready to cultivate some play time, some laughter. My laughter cultivation had one simple tool: Netflix.
My retreat was a complete success in that I laughed until my sides hurt. I watched one episode of a show I had never before seen, the episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee that featured Jim Carrey.
Laughter is good medicine. It’s about time for me to pull out the Netflix machine and watch another episode.
One of the great joys of the ministry life is having a front row seat to watch God in action, changing the hearts and lives of people.
I recently enjoyed a second pastoral conversation with a woman, a couple of months after the first. Clearly God had been at work, bringing peace and clarity to her heart and life.
Thanks be to God.
Nothing gets the day started like sitting with God.
Some days as my sitting comes to a close I feel eager to begin the activities of the day.
Other days I don’t want my sit to end, I just wish I could continue this special communion a little longer.
Today I want to keep sitting with God, but my heart is full and I know I’m ready for the day, come what may.
As my sit ends, I am already looking forward to this special time tomorrow.
Sitting with God.
Some days it’s, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Other days it’s, “Know that I am God and be still.”
Every day the key components are being still and knowing God.
I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but I completely lost control of my calendar over the last three weeks and nearly drowned.
There were a couple of emergencies, some unexpecteds, and some scheduling difficulties that created a perfect storm.
For the past three years I have scheduled a day-long silent retreat for the first Monday of each month (moved to Tuesdays when a holiday falls on that Monday).
The silence is a good discipline for me since I am regularly in situations where I have to talk. The silence recenters me on God. It reminds me that the world goes on when I am not talking.
And this month, my silent retreat came at just the right time to help me reset. It served as a circuit breaker to shut down my activity before fire broke out.
While I have renewed my commitment to the healthy rhythms of my rule of life, I will probably experience another perfect storm. And when I do, I may need this circuit breaker again.
Lord, have mercy.
I need courage, and lots of it, to lay down my life. Sometimes I need that courage day by day. Other times I need that courage hour by hour. But if I am being honest, most days I need that courage minute by minute. Today is one of those days.
Give me courage to lay down my life, right now, in this moment.
In Jesus’s name,
Yesterday I was reminded how much I have to learn, how much I have to grow.
That kinda discouraged me for a while, but then it hit me–I never want to stop living and learning, stretching and growing.
Always living and learning.
Sue Monk Kidd writes: “I realize I can be with someone, but on a deeper level I ‘m not available to them at all. I have attention deficit disorder of the soul.” My Growth Group worked on a “Fully Present Exercise.” We are working on being fully present when we interact with people. To really listen. To fully engage. Too often we allow distractions to divide our attention. In fact, people rarely expect another’s complete attention anymore. Surprise someone this week. Lock in. Give them your full attention. Love people!
“Thirsty” is used in pop-culture to describe someone who craves attention. The church needs to learn this word and understand the concept. Numerous articles I’ve read recently warn against appointing someone who wants to be the center of attention to a church leadership role. Why? Because it’s a sign of immaturity. Mature Jesus-followers do not demand attention. They do not thrive on being liked. They are not “thirsty.”
I have been exercising this week, specifically, I have been doing a Thankfulness Exercise. Each day I have carefully written down three things for which I am thankful. A funny thing happened today. After four days of this exercising, I found myself being thankful throughout the day as I saw something, heard something, or interacted with someone. I think this exercise is getting me in shape.