A call to Holy Leisure
When was the last time you stopped and pondered about heavenly things? For many of us the answer would be: Never. Our lives are lived on the treadmill of activity where there is little space to ponder; no wonder there is a short supply of devotional material of great import. Some of the greatest devotional material written by the likes of Thomas a Kempis( The imitation of Christ) must have been written from a place of Holy Leisure. By Holy Leisure I mean a time where men and women take time to ponder or meditate on spiritual matters and record what comes to them during those moments.
Holy Leisure would be scorned at today where “busyness” and constant chatter are highly valued. Everywhere around us is noise and the pressure is on us to respond to this noise be it on our phones radios and Social networking platforms. We do not have moments of stillness and if we do, there has developed in us a guilt consciousness about them that makes us rush to the next distraction . Also,Many who might want to venture to this uncharted territory are fearful lest they be thought idle or weird. But for those who want to tread on this less travelled road there is a way to begin.
The first step towards entering the quiet space, one must be willing to switch off all outward distractions, especially our phones and computers whence we engage with different social media. The first question that pops up is: what if there is an emergency? Withdrawing for even a short while will do no one any harm , those who lived before the invention of mobile phones and upsurge of social networks know that it is possible. Above all, if we know the benefits, then no cost would be too high to pay.
When all is switched off, the next challenge is trying to be still. The Bible exhorts us in the 46th psalm:” be still and know that I am God”. Sit still? Do nothing? Yes, even if it is only 10 minutes. You can do this by monitoring your breathing and or having a bible verse to focus you whenever your mind tries to wander: be still and know that I am God, is a good one to use. This verse reminds us that stillness is a necessary prerogative for knowing who God is. And we know the benefit of knowing God as is stated in the book of Daniel: the people who know their God will be strong do exploits ( Daniel 11:32).
In this moment of stillness be like Samuel and humbly ask: speak your servant is listening. Trust completely in the help of the Holy Spirit to guide you at this time.In the beginning it may seem very weird and uncomfortable because we are so used to rushing into the presence of God with words of our own. Here again your mind might want to wander so it is up to you to focus it on God: be still. In the stillness you will hear the still small voice of the Almighty. For a beginner you might feel that your time has been unfruitful, as if God was silent, but that is no reason to give up. God has promised to be found by those who seek Him with all their heart. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” Jeremiah 29: 13-14.
In Order to learn and grow during our time of listening it is imperative to write down your insights that have come to you in your listening. If a scripture was brought to mind, write it down; if a person was brought to mind, pray for them; if a sin was brought to light, confess it. Whatever was brought to your consciousness record and respond. At the end of this session thank God for all He has done. Then as you leave your silent spot, carry this silence around you so that again you may return there and commune with God.