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“Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop.”
– Wayne Muller
For many of us, we find ourselves running, producing, striving, and endlessly accomplishing our to-do lists and daily tasks. If we’re honest, it’s incredibly difficult to walk away from our work–especially when it is incomplete. Muller’s words are a necessary reminder that we need to experience true Sabbath and rest.
So friends, examine your readiness to stop…both in a daily and weekly sabbath rhythm. Why are you striving so hard and unwilling to cease?
When we trust God’s sovereign control and step away from the work of our hands, we are wide open to hear and receive from our loving Lord. May you celebrate the work and your hands and then rest well.
Crafting your Rule of Life is not meant to be a rigid experience, void of creativity or your unique personality. Not at all! In fact, the creation of your RoL is a great reminder that God has formed and fashioned only one you! Check out Valerie’s rule and notice how creative and imaginative she has been in expressing her life in God. Blessings to you as you continue on the well-ordered way and live into the unforced rhythms of grace!
“Fasting creates the venue for stepping back from culture and false idols into the presence of God with a posture of open hands in releasing self-directed desires, distractions and actions that dominate our lives.”
– Diana C. Bennett
In fasting and self-denial, we are able to begin to see what is fueling or controlling us. What might God be inviting you to fast from?
Self-denial is profoundly contemplative for it works by the process of human subtraction and divine addition. – Brian Taylor
Leadership Transformations releases a free, monthly resource titled Silencio…targeting a specific spiritual practice and discipline. In the month of April, Silencio’s issue focuses on the practice of fasting.
As you examine your Rule of Life and whether or not you are walking and living in a well-ordered way, we invite you to consider the practice of fasting.
Is it a regular rhythm in your life with God?
Fasting provides opportunities for us to back away from excess (perhaps frivolous delights), allowing God to form healthier pathways in our unforced rhythms of grace. In doing so, we intentionally step back from culture and into the presence of God with a posture of open hands. In releasing self-directed desires, we are rid of distractions and actions that dominate our lives.
As we engage in fasting and self-denial, we are able to begin to see what is fueling or controlling us.
What might God be inviting you to fast from?
To assist you in this journey, we’re providing April’s issue of Silencio here.
When we speak of Crafting a Rule of Life and walking in a well-ordered way, we believe first and foremost that we must develop rhythms of Scripture, Prayer and Reflection in our personal prayer closets. These foster a spaciousness which allows us to attentively listen to the Triune God who is at work in us. So, friends, are you practicing these means of grace on a regular basis? May it be so!
Equally important is another rhythm: sabbath. It is crucial that we understand and embrace the joy of Sabbath rest – as a day of the week, and as a lifestyle. Marva Dawn, Mark Buchanan, and others have written about Sabbath. And they outline several movements of Sabbath in this way:
1. We cease from what we normally do throughout the week.
2. We rest with the delight of the work we’ve accomplished.
3. We celebrate the life we enjoy in Christ.
4. We embrace the call of God on our lives to continually contribute to building up the Kingdom of God in all areas of life and service.
Take a few minutes today in prayerful reflection to consider how these rhythms are present in your life. If they are underdeveloped or inconsistent, how might God be inviting you to more fervently pursue these things? Blessings to you on the journey!
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“The fruit of the knowledge of truth is humility.”
– Bernard of Clairvaux, “The Steps of Humility and Pride.”
During this season of Lent, we invite you into a spiritual practice of confession and appropriation. Adapted from Bill Bright’s Have You Made The Wonderful Discovery Of The Spirit Filled Life?, this is an exercise in spiritual breathing. Perfect for this Lenten season, may you enter into deeper humility as you discover the truth about yourself. And in that place, you will find that you are loved by God more than you could ever hope or imagine!
Exhale = Confession (James 5:16)
1. Agree with God about your sin (be specific) and confess to a trusted friend, if willing
Inhale = Appropriation
Receive His Spirit anew (Eph 5:18)
Receive His promise of forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9)
Each of us has much room to grow in the disciplines of silence and solitude. Below are a few suggested practices that might help you engage in more meaningful and regular rhythms in these means of grace. Blessings to you!
- Set aside ten minutes each day for silence. Breathe deeply and become aware of God’s presence. Afterwards, journal about your experience.
- Designate a “sacred space” in your home where you can retreat into silence and solitude.
- Drive to work without talking on your phone or turning on the radio.
- Spend an entire day without the use of technology (i.e. computer, iPhone, iPad).
If you’ve never engaged in the spiritual practice of allowing the lyrics of a hymn to become a prayer, we invite you to do so! Sit quietly and prayerfully with this beautiful hymn/poem, and let it begin to shape a prayer within. May these lovely words of Katharina vonSchlegel encourage you towards deeper silence and rest. And may you find yourself with a renewed faith and trust in the Triune God.
“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.”
Monday, January 14, 2013.
How are you doing with your 2013 resolutions?
It is certainly important that we resolve to be more organized, more healthy, more kind, and more generous (and we hope that you’re able to pattern your life towards these goals!). But it seems even more important to resolve to be silent and be still. For it is in the silent and quiet moments where we become most fully alive, aware again of our true selves.
So, on this Monday, would you resolve to take 10 minutes of silence to listen to the voice of the Holy One speaking His affirming words of love to you? May you do so! And in the spacious silence, may you find again your truest self.
Blessings to you!