Just Being.

A few weeks ago, Grace staff participated in a day-long retreat where we talked about the importance of caring for our souls, especially as leaders in the church.  During our time together, the leaders challenged us to “quiet our souls before God” (Psalm 46:10) by spending an hour in silence and solitude.

They warned us ahead of time that because we live in a “do, do, do” culture, our tendency would be to DO something during that time– pray, make a list, journal, etc.  They likewise cautioned us that we would wrestle with what they termed “monkey brain” – jumping from limb to limb, thought to thought.  We were instructed to fight all of the above and just BE – to have my presence in His presence. 

Although an hour seemed daunting, I was eager.  And so, I found a quiet corner of the church, expecting God to honor my silence and solitude by speaking words of wisdom or bestowing clarity or deeming me a saint or something.  (I kid.)

Admittedly, I struggled to divorce myself from my environment.  I would hear a sound and immediately open my eyes to make sure I was still alone in my little area.  Then my stomach would make a noise, which made me think about the salad I had for lunch and how it didn’t compare at all to Paradise’s Southwest Chicken Caesar.  Somehow I then jumped to all the things I have to do before the wedding.  Then song lyrics and how I needed to get gas after work.  Monkey brain?  Yes, indeed.

Here I am, Lord… I kept coming back.  (That was my re-centering prayer.)    Lord?  Are You here?  I’m here.  Are You going to speak?  If You’re speaking, I can’t hear You.  Can You talk louder? 

The hour was a struggle.  At the end of the time, I was agitated because 1) He didn’t speak (Apparently I want God to speak on MY timeline, not His.) and 2) I didn’t feel like I was good at it.  (The first thing I said to Teri when we re-convened was, “I could never be a nun,” and I meant it…for reasons more than I would look wretched in a habit.)

Instead of just BEING in God’s presence and enjoying that time, I felt like I instead was battling my brain.  (I suppose that’s why they call it a spiritual discipline.)   I recited Here I am, Lord hundreds of times, literally.  HUNDREDS of times, I came back into His presence.  HUNDREDS of times, I chose Him.  And although I didn’t necessarily get out of the hour what I desired, I want to believe that me choosing Him over and over and over and BEING in His presence for what time I was has to bring Him some sense of joy.

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~ by Serena on March 15, 2011.

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