Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year--New Rhythms

Matthew 6:25 (New International Version)
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...or, about what you will write!

It is so easy in my relationship with God for a shift to happen so that instead of what comes out of me here being the fruit of my time with him, my time with him can very easily become a means to the end of having something to write.

I have practiced The Sacred Hour this week. The first time, I found that as I quietened my soul before God, my thoughts began popping and I instinctively and automatically reached for pen and journal to capture them. There is nothing wrong with journalling, but suddenly I was writing, not listening for his whisper.

Matthew Kelly in his book, The Rhythm of Life , warns about this. He says that as soon as you begin to pray you will feel an itch, or remember a load of laundry that needs to be put in the dryer, or you will be uncomfortable in the position you are sitting in. It is incredibly hard to simply be still, to read and pray only as a means of communion with God.

I want to trust God with my writing; to lay down my impulse to record the thoughts he gives me immediately, and to relax in him. It is easy for writing to become an idol and it is sometimes so subtle. This morning I had a digital voice recorder close at hand so that any thoughts could be recorded quickly and I could refocus on God.

My commitment to the readers of Whatever He Says, is that I will write what he gives. That may be a funny story, it may be an insight, and there may be days when there is absolutely nothing I have. That would just about kill me, but I will remain true to my relationship with him being first and foremost for its own sake.

I've written about two of the three rules that Matthew Kelly follows. The third surprised me and I haven't mentioned it until now, because it will be a hard one for me. Matthew is convinced of the importance of going to bed at approximately the same time every night and getting the amount of sleep his body needs.

My sleeping habits are atrocious. I function wonderfully when I get 7 glorious hours of sleep, but I often get by on much, much less, and I tend to lose track of time late at night when I am often writing, or checking email one last time.

So, as I go into a brand new year, I seek to add these rhythms:
1. Receiving the gift of true Sabbath; resisting the temptation to work on my To Do list that day.
2. Practicing a daily Sacred Hour for reading and praying and listening to God.
3. Going to bed at the same time each night as a habit, and getting the amount of sleep on which my body functions well, which is 7 hours.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (New International Version)
9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"
— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.


Brenda said...

Amen and Amen! The disciplines are so needed in our lives and they bear such wonderful fruit when we follow them.....

Brenda said...

"Let this New Year be the beginning of a new life in each of us wherein 'old things are passed away.' Let all blessed old things stay, but let the clutter of our heads and hearts be removed, that new inspirations and new affections may come in to gladden our lives."

Chester Burge Emerson

Brenda said...

The New Year lies before you like a spotless track of snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every mark will show.

Susan said...

Hey, Bren... Did you write that? I love it!

joannamallory said...

Belinda, thanks for putting this in perspective. The LORD enable you to do those things you've set out to do (including sleep) because they will help you honour Him.

On the thought of Sabbath rest, if you haven't read Mark Buchanan's "The Rest of God," it's a wonderfully liberating look at the concept of Sabbath rest. No legalism allowed.

Belinda said...

Wow, Brenda, I too, loved what you wrote about the New Year. I'm afraid that there will be "miss-steps" in my spotless snow, :) but as long as I am still clinging tightly to Jesus's hand, he will not let me go too far wrong.

Joanna, I have that book by Mark Buchanan. I just found it on my bookshelf! This is the PERFECT time to read it. Thank you for the nudge.

Richard said...

No, Susan, I cannot take credit for it. It was on a daily calendar that Beth and Gord gave us years ago. It's still so precious to me because it reminds me of them. They had theirs on the back of the toilet in their bathroom and I always admired it. The next thing I knew I had one!

Brenda said...

OOps! It was really me saying the above, not Richard. He has been using my computer and I didn't realize it was his g-mail account that was up. ......sigh.....