This last weekend I spent a good majority of my Saturday in reflection, prayer, and meditation through reading “Forming the leader’s Soul” by Morris Dirks and sharing with God what I am thankful for, what I am learning, and frustrations that I’ve had over the past month or so. It is so refreshing to get away and allow the still and quietness of a room where you are alone with God fill your heart and mind with peace that transcends human understanding. One thing that I have been learning over the past month is the importance of investing time in fostering spiritual disciplines and practices that challenge your preferences and make you dependent on God to show up and do his work.
A few examples:
I love to talk to God but I have a very hard time listening.
I love serving others so I have a hard time sitting still and being alone.
At times I find things frustrating and forget to turn my attention to praising God for the work he is doing, even when it’s difficult.
In recognizing this, and after thinking about how I would be applying Dirks’ book to my life in the area of my personal spiritual growth, understanding of God, and pastoral ministry I tried putting his spiritual principles into practical small steps. Dirks wrote four important things about spiritual formation as it relates to the skill of spiritual direction (for ourselves and others). 1) Spiritual direction is relational in nature; 2) spiritual direction involves suffering; 3) spiritual direction is Christo-centric; and 4) spiritual direction is process oriented. These principles seem very abstract, even to me so I was praying and thinking about how to apply them simply because Jan Johnson writes, “One way to breathe out the frenzy of life is to weave disciplines of simplicity into our daily rhythms. Simplicity is the factor we most often overlook when we’re seeking soul-nurturing companionship with God.”
So here was my thought: I need to have a continual rhythm of rest, waiting, ministering, and rejoicing in order to strengthen my own emotional and spiritual health to improve my relationship with God and others. Of course, it is easy to write a principle and much harder to flesh it out. Over the next few days I want to share with you my thoughts about what resting, waiting, ministering, and rejoicing will begin to look like for me in the coming months and what it could look like for you from a practical and biblical perspective.