“Bless the Lord, O my soul, all my being, His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His bounties. He forgives all your sins, heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit, surrounds you with steadfast love and mercy. He satisfies you with good things in the prime of life, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” ~ Psalm 103:1-5
“The Lord gave you no strict rituals to follow. He teaches you to ‘enter into your closet,’ that is, to quiet yourself, open your heart, and without many words, to touch your Lord who is within you. The Sabbath is not just a day of outward rest, but the continual rest that you are privileged to enjoy when you are in union with God.” ~ Jeanne Guyon
I’ve been really busy in the past few weeks. I began this blog with good intentions. I wanted to pray and reflect and write. There are so many things that I want to say to you and I am anxious to share what I’ve learned in my journey with Christ. And then, life happened. I’ve been facing many changes – and I suspect that many more changes are on the horizon. And so I needed to back-up, reset priorities, open my hands and let go of some things that I want to do, and get back in touch with you.
I’m sure that you’ve also had times in your life when you were overwhelmingly busy. We all need to balance our personal lives with our jobs. We devote a lot of our time to other people, but need to take care of ourselves. And, of course, in the midst of all of that, we need to ask ourselves: “Where does God fit into the picture?”
I guess that it’s pretty easy for us to reduce our journey with Christ to “just one more thing to do” when we become busy and overwhelmed by life. We can jump out of bed and into the rest of our day before we pray. We can allow other responsibilities in our lives to rise-up and fill our time. We fully intend to pray and spend time reading our bible, but it’s hard to do that when we’re so busy. And we, sometimes, feel guilty about that – or, perhaps, we learn to cope with the guilt by pushing our hopes for an active life of prayer into the background of our lives forever.
My journey with Christ has continued in the past few weeks – but I’ve not set-aside time to write about it. The Lord has continued to forgive me when I’ve become distracted and when I’ve started to worry about things that I need to trust God to handle. God’s love and mercy have surrounded me, and I’ve been renewed by the Holy Spirit in times of daily prayer and weekly worship. I’ve grown, and I’ve learned some lessons about life and about spirituality in the midst of my crazy schedule. And I have something that I’d like to share with you.
Jeanne Guyon, a French mystic, taught us that Christ calls us to “enter into our closet.” Christ can still be found in the solitude of a quiet morning. We can find “Sabbath rest” in the quiet moments of life when we set-aside the cares and concerns that consume us, and when we focus our attention upon the ways that God is blessing us. The Risen Christ continues to bring peace in the midst of our busy lives. God continues to fill our hearts with faith and hope. In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself beginning my times of prayer by saying, “How good it is to be here!” – and by simply taking a deep breath – because it IS good to be in the presence of God and it IS good to find precious times of “holy union” in the midst of a busy schedule.
The presence of God brings peaceful rest. Our perspectives change and the storms in our lives begin to calm. “Holy union” helps us to look at life in new ways. “Holy union” refocuses our lives and changes our perspectives. “Holy union” reminds us that we’re safely held in the hands of God and that God is, ultimately, in control of our futures. As we quiet ourselves, open our hearts, and learn to touch the Lord within us – we realize, even in the midst of busyness and stress, that it’s still possible to be renewed and refreshed by God.
And so, I’m back. I’m going to continue to share things that I’ve learned about “intimacy with Christ” as I continue my journey and as I continue to grow. It may not happen every day – or every week – and that’s OK. The things that I’m going to share with you in this blog have been learned on a lifetime journey.
May God’s presence continue to warm your heart and strengthen your faith. May God’s peace continue to bring calm in the midst of storms. May we all experience “holy union” as we learn and grow and pray and live; so that, with each passing day, we may come to “know Christ” more fully and more intimately.