The Hurry In Me

A Spiritual Formation Moment

Have you been slowed down lately? Paused by a challenge that weighs heavy on you as an unwelcome burden – a whole body drag that sets your pace slow to slower to slower still?

Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Our home has become a portal for fresh remembering of an ancient truth in recent days.

Over a period of just a few months, my energetic and athletic wife began to experience strange neurological symptoms. Slowly, gradually, those symptoms led her a prone position for the bulk of every sunrise to sunset.

Multiple doctors were baffled, and after finer testing, we received a diagnosis that she is in a tussle with a small microbe in her system. Her battle, our battle, is named chronic Lyme disease.

For the past years, we have designed our lives to have a good amount of breathing space within; we’ve learned a few lessons over the years that have instilled in us a commitment to maintain an unrushed pace, renewing rhythms, and quiet motions through precious days.

But this turn of the times has pushed us farther on the road to rest than we have ever been before.

I wake, I work, I cook meals, I clean (with help), and I even do some gardening (a favorite hobby of my country-blooded wife). I do all these tasks slowly, allowing the hours to pass until sleep comes to call.

My active wife now lays quietly 10-12 hours a day, does a task or two as able, feels poorly, takes care of herself, talks to friends, trusts her Lord for healing, and wrestles through sleep.

Dallas Willard once said that the key to spiritual maturity is to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” from your life. Often the greatest challenges that come our way are holy brakes that silently, but surely, slow us to a more whole and considered existence.

Lean into the losses halting hurry in your own life. Lean toward them as they rise like flowers bending toward the sun. Find God in those losses, and allow the resistance to slow you – slow you like a heavy wind that holds you even while you are leaning in and walking against its unseen current.

A Prayer

Spirit of God, the “rush I’m in” is actually the “rush in me.” Ruthlessly drive out that rush from my spirit, that hurry from my heart, and any propensity that remains in me to move through time dismissing details and missing miracles on the path. I would learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

In Jesus’ slowing, centering Name,

Amen.

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Do You Remember?

The Spiritual Practice Of Remembering God's Faithfulness

The other day a vivid memory caught me by surprise. While in the middle of a challenging situation, a seemingly disconnected moment from my past – standing on a street corner on a clear evening years before – flashed through my mind. It was a moment in which I learned I could trust God in the face of fear. Here is the story of that powerful memory, and how it impacted my outlook for the entire week.

Photo by Johannes Plenito on Unsplash

The Gift Of Recollection

“O LORD, I remember Your name in the night….”
Psalm 119:55

Over the past few weeks my wife has begun to show symptoms of some neurological problem affecting her ability to do basic tasks. Though we usually approach our challenges with faith in the lead, health scares can unsettle us, disorient us, and stir up apprehensions we thought we had left far behind.

While we were in the middle of talking about our next steps, a memory – seemingly random and disconnected from our conversation – flashed through my mind. I put it aside, resolving that I would come back to it for reflection later that night.

The Tectonic Plates Of Spiritual Formation

What You See Is What Is Going On Underneath

One grave misunderstanding about spiritual formation is that it is focused solely on, primarily on, the toning of the bedrock of our inner, hidden life. But what is true is that what you see on the surface of a person, on the surface of you, speaks of what is happening in the holy deeps. One shift beneath the surface – will completely change the entire landscape.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Spiritual formation is life formation; a reshaping of our inner and outer ways that is compelled and precipitated by unseen movements deep within the soul.

The Daily Examen

A Reorienting Rhythm For A Distracted Age

Every day, up to eight times a day, I silently perform a 1-3 minute spiritual ritual that is – quite literally – changing me. Now in my early 50s, I have decided it is the single most vital personal habit I have formed to date. According to my wife, I am becoming a different man.

photo courtesy of Anna Siran Wilt

Spiritually igniting, robust yet simple, the habit that is changing me is called the “Daily Examen.”

The Daily Examen is a daily prayer exercise that is integral to the Spiritual Exercises created by Ignatius of Loyola – the founder of the Jesuits (the current Pope Francis is a Jesuit).

The Daily Examen is just one example of Ignatian spirituality and, in particular, the Spiritual Exercises. The Examen is…

…A technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience” (www.ignatianspirituality.com).

People Of The Fierce Hosanna

In Mark 11:1-11, Jesus is entering the Great Jerusalem, meaning “City of Shalom, City of completeness, wholeness, of God’s all-permeating Peace.” But as the Prince of Peace enters – the Prince of Shalom Himself – a holy mess is about to be made.

Jesus marks the beginning of His Passion week, as crowds before Him, crowds behind Him, and crowds all around Him voice a singular cry: “Hosanna!” – a cry of triumphant praise, that means “Save, now!” But no one is prepared for the kind of saving, the kind of rescue operation, the kind of deliverance mission about to be initiated by the One whose very name, Y’shua, means “The Lord saves.”