The Day after the Holiday
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Among the practices that can help us attend to soul care at a basic level are solitude and silence. We practice these by finding ways to be alone and away from talk and noise. We rest, we observe, we “smell the roses”—dare we say it?—we do nothing. This discipline can be used of God as a means of grace. In it we may even find another reminder of grace—that we are saved, justified by His redeeming power—not by our strivings and achievements. — Dallas Willard in “Personal Soul Care"
You are back to work today after the Independence Day holiday, or at least back to your routine. Our routines can consume us if we run through them in our own strength alone. Practicing solitude and silence can keep us sane even in the craziest schedule. This is true because of who God is. God is love. Solitude is a way to settle into the presence of God.
When today can you take a break for a few moments do nothing? Doing nothing in God’s presence even for a few moments can re-center us and restore us.
When this week will you stop your work and do nothing in a time of gratitude to the God of everything?
Why So Hard?
Why is gratitude to difficult to maintain?
A frequent refrain in the Psalms is:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. (Psalms 107:1)
The Apostle Paul commands:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18)
Many of us have worked on or are working on developing a habit of gratitude, and it’s surprisingly hard work! Whether it’s the practice of “3 Good Things” each night before bed or replacing complaint with grateful speech, gratitude takes focus and practice.
But then again what good thing doesn’t take focus and practice? We expect to put out effort in learning to play an instrument, becoming good at a sport, or learning to drive, don’t we? We set aside time and concentrate during the activity because it’s something we think is important and are willing to learn about. We are willing to work past the awkward stage.
Maybe we allow ourselves to be put off by the awkward stage of replacing complaint with gratitude.
Feeling awkward today? The LORD is your shepherd. What do you lack?
God, please turn my attention to what is good and right and true. Give me words of thanks and praise today. Amen.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee, chocolate chip cookies, Apple products, small video projects, and the New England Patriots.