These are disciplines I feel God directing me.
I have spent the past few years devouring many books, articles, podcasts and sermons. While stimulating and inspiring, I found myself mentally and emotionally bloated by all the information.
I wasn’t experiencing a great deal of intimacy with my Heavenly Father, and came to a place of real homesickness.
When I had a question or felt a weakness or struggle within, I would pull up desiringGod.org and type it in the search bar.
While I was active in ongoing conversation with God, there wasn’t a lot of “God, I’m sensing this thing, what do you think? where should I go in your Word to learn about it?”
And there definitely wasn’t any sitting in silence for more than 2 minutes.
I was getting flustered too easily. I was feeling overwhelmed almost 24/7. My mind felt cloudy. I felt I had to climb over a bunch of unnecessary stuff (think junkyard piles) to be inspired by God or feel at peace.
Mental and soul rest were not even on my radar.
But eventually, I became desperate.
Longer. Slower. Simpler.
The words tasted a little like freedom and a risky adventure.
God was calling me to be discipled by Him first, hearing from Him firsthand in His Word, versus what other humans learned from the Bible.
Only recently did I begin to notice words like meditation, silence, and simplicity beginning to float around me.
I learned about these disciplines, and thought they sounded nice, but never made them a part of my daily life. Maybe because of that word? Discipline.
They call us out of our small affections for God to something far more beautiful, satisfying, and energizing.
They call us to quiet all the distractions of the world and the alarms going off inside our own minds, to be loved and cared for and guided by our great God.
Focusing on a truth, camping out in a book or idea, or true meditation on a Scripture passage has the potential to dig deeper roots that will last over time.
I’m one of those bookworms who read more than one book at a time. Over the past few years, I developed a habit on inhaling books and hardly being able to tell you what I was reading if you asked. Bonkers. (I confess I didn’t love this.)
I desire to pitch a tent in a particular truth of Scripture, attribute of God, or story of real faith. Sit longer with it, and ask Holy Spirit to walk me through it slowly, and make it come alive to me.
I want to read books slower. And I want to more prayerfully consider which books I do read. God knows what my deepest insides look like, He knows what my next week will look – He will know what authors or themes or topics will inspire me to love Him more. Why wouldn’t I ask Him?
I hope to be a woman quick to listen and slow to speak, both in conversation with God and others.
This year, I plan to simplify my intake of media and information.
I plan for my Bible to be the first place I search.
I plan to strategically schedule more ‘quiet’ in my day, whether it be the commute to work or my lunch break, in hopes of cultivating an ear for God’s voice.
I plan to unsubscribe from the 4 devotional emails (I made that number up on the spot) I recieve every day or week. I don’t think I need that many different opinions every day.
Year 2018 — inviting God into my learnings and reflections, and listening for His direction of my next steps.
The focus of attention in our life with God is not how we do spiritual practices; it is not whether our soul is being transformed. It’s always about union with God. How can I pay attention to God for the next ten minutes? God is both relentless and patient with us in removing snares. Progress, not perfection. Ask God for a next small step in hearing what you need to know today. Jan Johnson