He who is in a hurry delays the things of God-St. Vincent de Paul
I have always been drawn to the practices of the orthodox church. I love the history of Christianity-the space between when the Bible was written and what happened at our churches last Sunday. I love how people have worked out their relationship with God in practice and in tradition over the centuries. The sole core of Christianity obviously is Christ Himself, but what a treasured gift that the way we worship Him and what draws each of us to His heart may vary by appearance.
My very favorite, most respected authors emerge from the orthodox tradition. Henri Nouwen, Robert Benson, Brennen Manning and others have shaped my faith for many years. I've cried tears of anguish and gratitude in the pages of their stories that in many ways parallel my own.
The orthodox tradition allows space for the Lord to work and that is what I find most attractive. No, we don't need a liturgical calendar to dictate our relationship with God, but sometimes I wonder if my soul couldn't use a schedule of sorts-left to it's own devises it tends to wander. Which is why I've always loved the Daily Office of Prayer. The times I have practiced it I have grown tremendously in my communication both to talk to and hear from the Lord. No, the Lord doesn't need me to pray at 3 P.M. sharp, but without it I never do. So there ya go.
Life (my life) is entirely too noisy. I have to have my mind busy 24 hours a day to feel busy, like I'm using time wisely, and that I'm thinking just enough about things to be responsible. Craziness. I can't remember the last time I sat at a stop light without checking my text messages, facebook, or twitter feed. My life is not exciting enough to update 20 times a day and neither is anyone else's. The Earth will stay on it's axis if I'm unaware someone just ate at Wendy's. Ya know?
I think I get drawn into the practices of meditation, contemplation, rest, etc. because it's exactly opposite of what my personality dictates. For weeks I have felt such a pull in the very depths of my soul to just be away with the Lord. To spend unplanned time with Him. To give Him the opportunity to offer insights into the deepest recesses of my soul. I'm not ANY good at that, but I want to be. Desperately I want to be.
So this Lent season I'm giving up coffee. JOKE! God doesn't want that and neither does anyone else in my life! I'm giving up noise. Not entirely. There's nothing wrong with any of the things in our lives that keep us connected. There's nothing wrong with some television, music, books, etc. But I'm so aware I'm not making space for the Lord. And in the culture we live, we have to make a deliberate effort to make that space, to set apart that time, to create a place in our soul where He can reign supreme. He deserves that and so much more.
So, for lent this year I'm giving up a large portion of the noise in my life and embracing more quiet. I'm committing myself to time in the morning and time in the night to spend with Him-no books, no music, maybe not even a bible at times. Just the opportunity to sit before the Lord and wait for Him and worship Him. All of me for all of Him. I want nothing more in all the world. It makes my heart happy to realize that's the absolute truth.