Is it just me or is this year travelling at warp speed? It’s the end of September and here are a few thoughts for the month.
Spring – The blossoms on my ornamental plum tree are long gone, but the crabapple tree is just starting to bud. A few more days and it should be a cloud of pink.
Friends – I’ve been reminded of the pleasure of time spent with friends. This month I helped friends and family celebrate their birthdays, enjoyed dinner and conversation with a close friend, and began to make a new friend over lunch. Good food with good friends – one of my favourite things.
Books – Do you love books? Choosing books? Reading books? Talking about books? It wasn’t until I read Emily P. Freeman’s latest blog post asking for book recommendations that I realised that I don’t have enough book conversations in my life. Coincidentally the only book I’ve actually finished this month is Emily’s new book Simply Tuesday: small-moment living in a fast-moving world. September has been an inconsistent reading month for me. I’ve added a number of new books to the reading list but they’re all still works in reading progress.
Here are a couple of quotes from Emily’s book that resonated with me as someone who needs time to process things. Maybe they will resonate with you too.
Productivity skills have helped me meet important deadlines and release unnecessary perfectionism.
The problems come when I foolishly try to apply these same skills to my inner life. The soul and the schedule don’t follow the same rules.
Many people are in a season of speed, a time of movement, of action, and go. But that is not where I usually am. And I cannot wait for the world to stop to embrace my permission for slow.
What part of your personality seems to fight against your own perceived ability to succeed? What might happen if your stopped bullying your personality into submission and instead began to welcome it as a kind friend?
So here’s to you, my fellow slow-processors. Take the long way home. Embrace the silence to consider. Give yourself permission to think, to listen, to be sure.
Writing – And as October is waiting in the wings you may remember that last year I joined the Write 31 Days challenge to write on one topic every day in October. This year I’ve decided to take on the challenge again, and I’ve chosen a topic that’s particularly relevant for me at the moment. Check out the first post of the series tomorrow.
Tonight I had the pleasure and privilege of leading a small prayer meeting at my church. And since I had the opportunity to choose the theme and format, it seemed right to explore a few things from 31 Days to Listen outside of the blog.
As we listened to God’s word through song and scripture, as we stilled ourselves and rested in silence, God was with us.
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.
And He was.
We shared some of the things that were drawing our attention, the challenges we face, and the invitation God extends for us to seek Him, lean into Him, trust Him.
On the trip home I became aware of a deep sense of peace that only comes from an encounter with God.
Thank you Lord for this privilege and blessing.
This is Day 15 of the series 31 Days to Listen. Check out Write 31 Days for more information about this challenge and to see what other bloggers are writing.
Sometimes it seems that there is only silence when I listen. That I am alone with my own thoughts and nothing else.
Where are you Lord? Why are you silent? How long must I wait for you to acknowledge me, to whisper in my heart?
But Lord, I also know the fickleness of my own heart. I know how quickly I would rush on if you never made me wait. You create space for us in the waiting. How else will I learn to quiet myself, to be still in your presence, to listen, to love you, if you do not make me wait?
If your speaking must always be on my terms, in my time, if I am unwilling to wait, then I am not really loving you.
There is something in the waiting, in the listening, that speaks love.
Love is patient. As you wait for me, so I wait for you.
It’s hard, there’s no denying. But there’s also hope. You love me and I am not forgotten.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence – we need to listen to God because it’s not what we say but what He says to us and though us that matters.
~ Mother Theresa
In the silence of the heart you speak.
How Lord? How does one silence the heart? How do I still my heart? How do I make space for you to enter in?
Offer up the things that are worrying you. Let go of the things you’re holding onto, and give them to me.
I will give you rest. I will make myself known to you.
That sounds good to me Lord. That sounds very good. How is it that you take my wretched, dirty gifts and then you give me the priceless gift of yourself?
In the silence of the heart you speak love. Thank you Lord.
If you’ve been reading Flourish! for a while you might remember that I started the year reflecting on God’s whispered invitation to listen. In October I’m joining other bloggers taking on The Nester‘s 31 Day challenge to write every day of the month on the same topic. I want to learn how to listen well, so I’ll be writing every day about listening. I’d also love to hear about your experience and perspective on listening, so I hope you’ll join me on this listening journey.
I’ll be adding a link here for each day, so there’s one place to find all the month’s writing together. And if I can sort out the technology there will also be a button on the home page so you can check back here any time during the month.